All this talk about Meryl Streep and very few are editorializing much on when the Academy will give John Williams an award just for being America's most Kennedy Center Honor-ific film composer. He's been trophied more often and more recently, but it's still been a pretty long stretch since 1993. Both Williams and Steven Spielberg have been laying low since the latest Indiana Jones movie blew up in everyone's face, but they've returned in tandem and it's hard to see how the Academy's music branch will be able to a) resist, and b) choose one over the other. So expect them to have their cake and eat it too, citing both the traditional Wagnerian triumphalism of War Horse (which, up until the last two weeks, seemed a frontrunner for double-digit nods) and the more varied, synth-assisted, Prokofiev-tinged themes from The Adventures of Tintin.
Williams is far from the only composer who could theoretically compete against himself in this category, with baity double-dip work from Alexandre Desplat (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2), Alberto Iglesias (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Skin I Live In), and Thomas Newman (The Help, The Iron Lady). Howard Shore would've been mentioned alongside those three, but his regal, Lang Lang-assisted work on A Dangerous Method was not listed among the 97 eligible scores, leaving the path wide open for his oh-so-faintly Amélie-ish (emphasis on the "ish") Francophile fantasias from Hugo to sail toward a nomination.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo might feel a little too soon and too same for last year's winning team of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, but as Gustavo Santaolalla would be quick to admit, this branch seems to like play the Emmy game of nominating the same people year in, year out. That will probably help keep Cliff Martinez out yet again, but won't necessarily be enough to kick Hans Zimmer back in for Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows.
Lastly, Kim Novak may want to preemptively file the police report now, because The Rapist seems likely to not only get nominated, but also win. Never mind that Ludovic Bource's score seems to emulate nothing so much as the corny canned-orchestra arrangements that made watching silent movies on Kino videocassettes such an aural chore for film students everywhere, even before the unflattering (to say the least) juxtaposition against Bernard Herrmann's stolen "Scene d'Amour" theme from Vertigo (a score that, just to remind you of Oscar's eternally misplaced priorities, the Academy ignored in 1958). When there's practically nothing else to listen to for the entire duration, you know it's not going to be ignored.
Will Be Nominated: The Adventures of Tintin, The Artist, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, War Horse
Should Be Nominated: Belle Epine, Carnage, A Dangerous Method, Drive, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy