Best Original Score
Will Win - Ennio Morricone "The Hateful Eight"
Could Win - John Williams "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" or Thomas Newman "Bridge of Spies"
Should Win - Ennio Morricone or Thomas Newman
Commentary - This is one of those awards that did not have a clear front runner, but recently has had pundits crowd around one. Ennio Morricone is a legend, and despite multiple nominations over the years, has only ever won an Honorary Oscar. He won the Globe and BAFTA, he is overdue, and Harvey and Quentin are pushing hard for this win. If Morricone can't win, I hope it goes to Thomas Newman, another overdue veteran in this category. Also watch out for John Williams. He has won for Star Wars before, oh and he's John Williams.
Best Original Song
Will Win - Lady Gaga and Diane Warren "Til It Happens to You" from "The Hunting Ground"
Could Win - The Weeknd, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Quenneville, and Stephan Moccio "Earned It" from "Fifty Shades of Grey" or Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith "Writing's On the Wall" from "Spectre"
Should Win - Lady Gaga and Diane Warren "Til It Happens to You" from "The Hunting Ground"
Commentary - I don't really have a dog in this fight, other than it would be great to see Diane Warren finally win an Oscar, so of the bunch, that is my choice. But this is a three-way race. Writing's on the Wall won the Globe, and it could win the Oscar, but it is such a terrible song. I love Sam Smith, and I think he is a great new talent, but compared to Skyfall, this ballad is a dud. I think this will end up being between Gaga and The Weeknd. Several folks are going for The Weeknd, because he just won a bunch of Grammys, and it would be a black Oscar winner, in a year where #OscarsSoWhite was dominant. If it wins, I really do hope that it is because it's a great song from an incredible talent, but we all know politics plays into these things a lot more than we wish they would. In the end I think two things will play against The Weeknd here. First, I just can't imagine voters want "Oscar-winning film Fifty Shades of Grey" to be a tagline. Second, Gaga has been working it lately. She is all over the news with her PGA performance, Super Bowl National Anthem, and her buzzed David Bowie tribute at the Grammys. Weinstein is behind this film, and they know what they are doing. I think that her campaign will win over more voters than the other four.