Best Adapted Score
5. Armand Amar - "The Concert"
"The Concert" mixes great classical works with the beautiful score by Amar to such great effect, using the works of masters like Tchaikovsky and Mahler beautifully.
4. Carter Burwell - "True Grit"
The use of hymns is simply perfect and Burwell's arrangements are stellar. A simply gorgeous score that works solely for the movie's benefit.
3. Grizzly Bear - "Blue Valentine"
Grizzly Bear's poignant arrangements may have been slightly overemphasized in the sound mix but nonetheless are a perfect backing track to the emotions taking place on screen - neither aiming to dominate or change the tone but simply to accentuate the work of Williams and Gosling.
2. Clint Mansell - "Black Swan"
It's almost impossible to tell where Mansell begins and Tchaikovsky ends but the use of both of their music intensifies and scares, creating a Classically Romantic score unlike that of any other horror movie.
1. John Adams - "I Am Love"
The use of John Adams's unbelievable music in this film is absolutely perfect. It's gorgeous and lush but there's that sinister underbelly that lies just beneath the surface, just like the characters in the film, and it's impossible to deny the music's intensifying of that last scene.
Best Original Score
5. Akihiko Matsumoso - "Summer Wars"
Just like the movie, Matsumoso's score is whimsical and fun, and it makes a more-than-perfect companion to the eye-popping visuals.
4. Anton Sanko - "Rabbit Hole"
It's so subtle, you nearly forget it's there - and yet, the simple and the innocent instrumentation led by piano and clarinet creates a heartwrenching accompaniment to the poignant film.
3. Nigel Godrich - "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World"
The song soundtrack is amazing but when it's not playing Godrich's hyperactive 8-bit rock score makes for a fun and frenetic musical soundscape that perfectly embodies the film and its characters. And, even when things get a little bit more sensitive, the score rises to the challenge with soft, Pitchfork-friendly atmospheres.
2. John Powell - "How to Train Your Dragon"
Seeing "How to Train Your Dragon" for the first time, the thing that jumped out at me the most was John Powell's sweeping, moving and epic score. Sure, it's very conventional compared to the other scores I've singled out but that doesn't mean it's any less. With a theme that is orchestrated perfectly so many times throughout, I get goosebumps every time I hear it.
1. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross - "The Social Network"
No score this year has had the power to affect its movie as much as the score for "The Social Network" has. The main theme, though ridiculously simple, is so ridiculously perfect - the organic sound of piano over electronic textures is a remarkable combo that adds a whole other level of emotion each time it is played. And, the rest of the score doesn't fall short - it can be quiet, exciting, subtle or suspenseful, sometimes all within a single track. A simply perfect score.
Honorable Mentions: Edward Shearmur's score for "Mother and Child" is simple, poignant and beautiful, if not a bit unfocused; there's not much there but Byeung Woo Lee's score for "Mother" frames the film perfectly; I'm not a huge fan of Hans Zimmer and I do think it's a bit too loud but "Inception"'s score is still worthy of recognition; it's lesser Desplat but it's still Desplat - "The King's Speech" is lovely.
So there you have it. What were your favorite scores of the year? Since music is so subjective, it's a lot of fun to hear everyone's opinions. Sound off below!