Oscars Week – Tuneful Tuesday: Best Original Score Winners (updated)

John Barry
John Barry

By Niall McArdle

UPDATE: Steven Price won for GRAVITY

The music score is an essential element of a film, and the wrong music can ruin whatever mood the visuals are trying to create. And a truly great music score can stand on its own and be enjoyed even without the visuals.

John Williams
John Williams

Here is a selection of some Oscar-winning scores. Scroll to the bottom to hear samples of this year’s nominees. Later this week I’ll be talking about songs in movies.

The Adventures of Robin Hood. Erich Wolfgang Korngold


The Wizard of Oz. Herbert Stothart


Dumbo. Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace


The Song of Bernadette. Alfred Newman

Now, Voyager Max Steiner


Spellbound. Miklós Rózsa


The Red Shoes. Brian Easdale

High Noon. Dmitri Tiomkin

Dmitri Tiomkin

Bridge on the River Kwai. Malcolm Arnold

An American in Paris. George Gershwin, Johnny Green and Saul Chaplin

Ben Hur Miklós Rózsa


Breakfast at Tiffany’s Henry Mancini

Lawrence of Arabia Maurice Jarre


Tom Jones John Addison

Doctor Zhivago Maurice Jarre

The Lion in Winter John Barry

The Godfather Part II Nino Rota & Carmine Coppola


Jaws John Williams


Midnight Express Giorgio Moroder

The Right Stuff Bill Conti

Out of Africa John Barry

Round Midnight Herbie Hancock

Schindler’s List John Williams

The Red Violin John Corigliano

Frida Elliot Goldenthal

Brokeback Mountain Gustavo Santaolalla

Babel Gustavo Santaolalla


Atonement Dario Marianelli

The Social Network Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross

This year’s nominees:

The Book Thief John Williams

Gravity Steven Price WINNER

Her William Butler & Owen Pallett

Philomena Alexander Desplat

Saving Mr Banks Thomas Newman

3 thoughts on “Oscars Week – Tuneful Tuesday: Best Original Score Winners (updated)

  1. Easy to see why films like ‘Zhivago’, ‘The Godfather’, and ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ got those gongs Niall. I am not so sure about some of the more modern examples though.
    Regards from England, Pete.


    1. well, it’s about mood, isn’t it? coming up with music that complements/comments on the visuals. Listening back to some of the selections brings back memories of the films, and I suppose that’s a high compliment to the music, or the film, or both. A shitty film can have a great score, but a good film can’t have a bad score, because it simply wouldn’t be a good film. And a curious thing for me: the opening of the score to ‘Brokeback Mountain’, perhaps because it’s a guitar piece, reminded me of Ry Cooder’s score to ‘Paris, Texas’. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6ymVaq3Fqk


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