The Academy Award nominations have been announced. I won't try to make predictions, since I've only seen two of the films nominated for the music categories (Enchanted and Ratatouille (yes, I have young children, why do you ask?)). For original score: Atonement by Dario Marianelli, The Kite Runner by Alberto Iglesias, Michael Clayton by James Newton Howard, Ratatouille by Michael Giacchino, and 3:10 to Yuma by Marco Beltrami. This is the second nomination for Marianelli (Pride & Prejudice) and Iglesias (The Constant Gardener), whereas Newton Howard is an old hand with four other Original Score nominations (The Village, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Fugitive, The Prince of Tides) and two Original Song nominations ("For the First Time" and "Look What Love Has Done"). Alex Ross has lauded Giacchino's work on "Lost" and "Alias", and Giacchino has won honors for his video game compositions (Call of Duty, Medal of Honor). He's also experienced at composing for animated films, having scored The Incredibles. Likewise Beltrami has plenty of experience with action films (Live Free or Die Hard, XXX State of the Union, Cursed, I Robot, Hellboy, Terminator 3, Blade II, Resident Evil, etc.).
For original song: "Falling Slowly" from Once, Music and Lyric by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova; "Raise It Up" from August Rush, Nominees to be determined; and three songs from Enchanted by Alan Menken (music) and Stephen Schwartz (lyrics) "Happy Working Song," "So Close,” and "That’s How You Know." Of the three Enchanted songs, I like "Thats How You Know" best. But it is weird, since I felt all the songs in that movie were meant to be parodies of conventional Disney songs, with "That's How You Know" as a pastiche of Menken's Caribbean-flavored songs in The Little Mermaid and "Happy Working Song" poking fun at the songs of Cinderella. Thus I don't feel comfortable with the idea of this music being awarded as a best original song. (Sidebar: DePauw is doing a production of Schwartz's Children of Eden musical right now.) "Falling Slowly" is rather simple and veers perilously close to being overly sentimental, but has some good lyrics and Glen Hansard is very witty.
Here is a list of all the songs submitted for consideration.