This year's Oscar nominations were announced this morning via livestream. As expected, La La Land dominated with a Best Picture nod and many others — including a nod for Best Original Score and two nominations for Best Original Song. That ties the all-time record for most nominations, set previously by Titanic and All About Eve.
Composer Justin Hurwitz’s nomination for La La Land in the Best Original Score category was accompanied by nominations for Mica Levi for Jackie; Hauschka and Dustin O'Halloran for Lion; Nicholas Britell for Moonlight; and Thomas Newman for Passengers.
Newman was the big surprise in this category; that nomination had been expected to go to Abel Korzeniowski for Nocturnal Animals. Also passed over: both Michael Giacchino for his work on Rogue One and the original Star Wars composer John Williams, a 50-time nominee who wrote the score for Steven Spielberg's underwhelming BFG. Controversially, acclaimed scores including those for Manchester by the Sea, Arrival, and Silence were excluded due to the films' supplementary incorporation of preexisting music.
In the Best Original Song category, two of Hurwitz's songs — with lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul — were nominated. The songs were "Audition" and "City of Stars," which will likely be favored to win, having scooped a Golden Globe along with Hurwitz's score. The other songs nominated were "Can't Stop the Feeling" (as performed by Justin Timberlake for Trolls); "How Far I'll Go" (a Lin-Manuel Miranda composition for Moana); and the surprise "Empty Chair," a song by Sting and J. Ralph from Jim: The James Foley Story. If Miranda wins, he'll be the youngest person ever to have won a Grammy, an Emmy, a Tony, and an Oscar.
Also of interest to classical music fans is Meryl Streep's nomination for Best Actress in the title role of Florence Foster Jenkins — a biopic about an infamously terrible singer who performed at Carnegie Hall in 1944.
Notably, this year's nominees are considerably more diverse than nominees in preceding years, which had sparked an "Oscars So White" controversy. All the Academy Award nominations are listed here. The Oscars will be presented on Feb. 26.
As the Oscars approach, each week we're delving into the history of Oscar-winning movie music — decade by decade. Read about the Oscar-winning scores of the 1930s, '40s, and '50s; and listen to Lynne Warfel's three-hour special on the movies and the music.