Film music composers are so often the most expendable element of a given project, it seems. They come, they go, and typically, someone is brought on very late in the game when we thought another composer was on the case.

That seems to be what's up with Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," which has until now been noted as another collaboration with composer Nico Muhly ("The Reader") for Daldry. As it turns out, Alexandre Desplat - perhaps the most prolific composer in the game -- has been quietly working on the project. And his intrepid publicist just sent out a release reminding the media of this.

And it's most certainly noteworthy. Earlier in the year Desplat put out quality work in Chris Weitz's "A Better Life," a score I really think deserves some attention. Meanwhile, I've been expecting him to get a much-deserved nomination for his work in George Clooney's "The Ides of March," one of the best scores of the year.

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," though we haven't heard it yet, could figure in, too. He worked on Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life" earlier this year, but his original compositions were largely overshadowed by the classical music used in the film. Meanwhile, he saddled back up to the Harry Potter franchise with "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," but I remain confused from film to film what is original to each new installment. He also offered frothy music for Roman Polanski's "Carnage," though it didn't stand out all that much.

I imagine Desplat was pretty close to a win last year for "The King's Speech," after racking up four nominations in five years. Perhaps he'll be in the thick of it once again? I certainly hope so. The list of accomplishments since he burst onto the American film scene is massive: "Birth," "The Queen," "The Painted Veil," "Lust, Caution," "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "The Ghost Writer," etc. Always unique, always quality, always worthy of being in the discussion.

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" is still in post-production but is set for a limited release on Christmas Day.

Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape for over a decade. He founded In Contention in 2005. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Variety. He begs you not to take any of this too seriously.