Sometimes I feel like it would be helpful for the International Film Music Critics Association to release its list of nominees prior to the Oscar nominations. There is no real "precursor" to help understand what the music branch might be thinking. Then again, as evidenced by this year's slate, maybe they wouldn't be that helpful at all. A critics group's choices are bound to differ from a group of composers' choices, and so it has this year.

Four films led the way with three nods each: "Cloud Atlas," "The Impossible," "Life of Pi" and "Lincoln." Only the last two, of course, managed Oscar nominations. But Alexandre Desplat also had a great showing, nominated for film composer of the year and receiving individual notices for work on "Moonrise Kingdom," "Rise of the Guardians" and "Zero Dark Thirty." He was Oscar-nominated for "Argo" and also cranked out music for "Rust and Bone." I imagine he'll be right back in the thick of it next year with "The Monuments Men."

Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners will be announced on February 21. And as always, you know, The Circuit.

Film Score of the Year
"Cloud Atlas" (Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, Reinhold Heil)
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (Howard Shore)
"The Impossible" (Fernando Velázquez)
"Life of Pi" (Mychael Danna)
"Lincoln" (John Williams)

Film Composer of the Year
Mychael Danna
Alexandre Desplat
Danny Elfman
Fernando Velázquez
John Williams

Breakout Composer of the Year
Nathan Johnson
Zeltia Montes
Nic Raine
Dan Romer & Benh Zeitlin
Joseph Trapanese

Best Original Score for a Drama Film
"Anna Karenina" (Dario Marianelli)
"The Impossible" (Fernando Velázquez)
"Life of Pi" (Mychael Danna)
"Lincoln" (John Williams)
"There Be Dragons - Secretos de Pasión" (Robert Follk)

Best Original Score for a Comedy Film
"Moonrise Kingdom" (Alexandre Desplat)
"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" (Dario Marianelli)
"The Sessions" (Marco Beltrami)
"Silver Linings Playbook" (Danny Elfman)
"Ted" (Walter Murphy)

Best Original Score for an Action/Adventure/Thriller Film
"The Amazing Spider-Man" (James Horner)
"Dans la Maison" (Philippe Rombi)
"The Dark Knight Rises" (Hans Zimmer)
"Skyfall" (Thomas Newman)
"Zero Dark Thirty" (Alexandre Desplat)

Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror Film
"Cloud Atlas" (Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil)
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (Howard Shore)
"John Carter" (Michael Giacchino)
"Prometheus" (Marc Streitenfeld, Harry Gregson-Williams)
"Sinister" (Christopher Young)

Best Original Score for an Animated Film
"Brave" (Patrick Doyle)
"Frankenweenie" (Danny Elfman)
"ParaNorman" (Jon Brion)
"Rise of the Guardians" (Alexandre Desplat)
"Secret of the Wings" (Joel McNeely)

Best Original Score for a Documentary Feature
"Kingdom of Plants" (Joel Douek, Freddy Sheinfeld and Elik Alvarez)
"Los Mundos Sutiles" (Pascal Gaigne)
"Metsän Tarina" (Panu Aaltio)
"Samsara" (Lisa Gerrard and Michael Stearns)
"Shakespeare & Us" (Miguel d'Oliveira)

Film Music Composition of the Year
"The Cloud Atlas Sextet for Orchestra" from "Cloud Atlas" (Thom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil)
"The Impossible Main Title" from "The Impossible" (Fernando Velázquez)
"John Carter of Mars" from "John Carter" (Michael Giacchino)
"Pi's Lullaby" from "Life of Pi" (Mychael Danna)
"The Peterson House and Finale" from "Lincoln" (John Williams)