James Newton Howard’s “Crimes of Grindelwald” Score Makes the Oscars Shortlists

With awards season fast approaching, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced nine categories of shortlists for its 91st Oscar awards, also revealing for the first time in 40 years its shortlist for the Best Original Score category.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald has been met with widespread praise for performance, special effects, and cinematography but now finds itself the subject of musical accolades. Announced as one of 15 candidates for the Best Original Score award, Crimes of Grindelwald is surrounded by a cohort of fierce and worthy competitors.

Speaking before the film’s release, composer James Newton Howard discussed his inspiration for the 25-track original score, which is now available on Spotify, Apple Music, and CD and will be issued on vinyl in January 2019.

As the foundation for the language of the movie, I was thinking of John Williams, primarily. His approach to the Potter movies was really the kind of thing I was hoping to be able to do, which is elaborate and somewhat sophisticated orchestral writing with really strong, memorable themes.

Howard’s approach seems to have been effective, producing music that emphasizes intensity, showcases individuality, and informs audiences about new plot and character complexities. His score could now go on to win Crimes of Grindelwald a well-deserved Academy Award. From “The Thestral Chase” to “Vision of War” to “Wands into the Earth,” Howard’s score sets the film’s scene impeccably and creates a truly spellbinding atmosphere.



The weight of the Oscars rests on Howard’s shoulders, but that’s not to forget a few magically familiar faces among the other categories. Roma, which Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban director Alfonso Cuarón directed, wrote, produced, edited, and provided cinematography work on, has also been shortlisted in the Foreign Language Film category, while films involving Julie Walters (Molly Weasley), Warwick Davis (Filius Flitwick and Griphook), Toby Jones (Dobby), Harry Melling (Dudley Dursley), Jason Isaacs (Lucius Malfoy), Brendan Gleeson (Alastor Moody), and Alexandre Desplat (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows composer) have also seen recognition in a range of categories.

Keen fans of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will eagerly await further magical developments, hoping for a truly enchanting nomination. The 91st Academy Awards will be held at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on February 24, 2019.

Shannon Jade

Harry Potter came into y life when I was eight years old, and I've been an honorary member of the Hogwarts community ever since! A proud Hufflepuff, I hope to one day write something as wonderfully magical as the wizarding world.