Can anyone stop Matthew McConaughey and Cate Blanchett?
'Her' for Best Original Score
Expected winner: Steven Price, "Gravity"
Our upset pick: William Butler and Owen Pallett, "Her"
Why: One of the most delightful surprises of Oscar nomination morning was the inclusion of Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Butler and collaborator Pallett for their shimmering score for Spike Jonze's 21st-century romance -- a soundscape that perfectly matches the film's balance of intimacy and futurism with its blend of minimalist traditional instrumentation, bleeping electronica and soaring walls of synths. The Academy has recently been more open to contemporary scoring styles, as well as artists from outside the film community -- as exemplified by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's recent win for "The Social Network" -- but they're still the exception rather than the norm. Steven Price, the presumed frontrunner for "Gravity," is something of a newcomer to the scene himself, and his score is also briskly modern in certain respects, but I think Butler and Pallett's is the richer sonic achievement, both within the film and as an isolated listen.
- Guy Lodge