This is probably the riskiest pick of the year. The nominees for Best Score are Avatar (James Horner), Fantastic Mr. Fox (Alexandre Desplat), The Hurt Locker (Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders), Sherlock Holmes (Hans Zimmer), and Up (Michael Giacchino). Honestly, The Hurt Locker was so suspenseful that I didn't even notice any music. It didn't stand out in Sherlock Holmes either, but it was absolutely integral to creating the atmosphere of both of the animated nominees (I don't mean Avatar). Avatar could take Best Score as part of a sweep, but I suspect that it's down to Up or Fantastic Mr. Fox. Between those two, Up has the more famous name attached and its charming little waltz keeps recurring throughout the film in more inventive and surprising ways. Mr. Fox's score really adds to its tone and panache, but I think Up will take the prize.
The nominees for Best Song are "Almost There" and "Down In New Orleans" from The Princess and The Frog, "Loin de Paname" from Paris 36, "Take It All" from Nine, and "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart. I've learned that the Best Song award doesn't go to the best song, per se, but to the song that is most integral to its film. Songs that reveal things about the characters and stories and move the plot have distinct advantage here. This year, the song that was best used for the purpose of character development and story is "The Weary Kind." Bonus points for a heretofore un-Oscared songwriting team (Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett) and an actor who sings it live in the film (as opposed to over the end credits).