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The Top 25 Best Original Score Winners So Far (Updated for 2023)

In case anyone doesn’t know what this is, let me clue you in. Simply put, I’m ranking the newest crop of Academy Award winners, with the column past the midway point now here in 2023. For nearly all of the Oscar categories (including a new one today), you’ll see me list the top 25 recipients of that prize. Sometimes, our newest winner will appear. Other times, they’ll be relegated to the Honorable Mention category. Who knows, maybe one or two won’t even make the cut? It’s a list series that I’ll do each and every single year, in the weeks after the ceremony concludes. So, while this is a fun way to think about the Oscars in the aftermath of the latest telecast, it’s also a beginning for another column here on the site. Of course, definitely show us your own lists as well, in the comments section below. We’re definitely keen to know what you think!

This time around, I’m taking a first crack (at least the first time in a bit) at a Best Original Score ranking. In years past, I’ve done this ranking, though in other years, I’ve skipped (or forgotten) it. So, I’m giving it another shot today! This category is as filled with classics as any, so picking a number one is completely a matter of taste. Where does our most recent winner in All Quiet on the Western Front fall amongst my picks? Does it even crack the list? Find out below…

Here now are what I consider to be the 25 best winners of the Oscar for Best Original Score, to date:


25. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
24. Brokeback Mountain
23. The Hateful Eight
22. The Sting
21. Titanic
20. High Noon 19. Aladdin
18. Fiddler on the Roof
17. Gravity
16. Camelot
15. The Omen
14. Schindler’s List
13. Let it Be
12. The Lion King
11. West Side Story
10. Beauty and the Beast
9. Mary Poppins
8. Ben-Hur
7. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
6. Lawrence of Arabia
5. Chariots of Fire
4. Purple Rain
3. Star Wars
2. The Social Network 1. Jaws

Honorable Mentions: All Quiet on the Western Front, Dune, La La Land, The Little Mermaid, Pocahontas, and Slumdog Millionaire

The Social Network

Stay tuned for the next category early on next week!


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3 months ago

Obviously music is personal so I am sure that reflects my list but I also try to go with what fits the feel and tone of the movie.

3.The Sound of Music
4.The Little Meremaid
5.The Wizard of Oz
6.Star Wars
10.The Sting
11.Mary Poppins
12.Beauty and The Beast
13.The Sting
14.West Side Story
16.An American In Paris
17.All That Jazz
18.The Artist
20.Shindler’s List
21.A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To The Fourum
22.Doctor Zghvago
23.The Bridge on The River Kwai
24.Irma la Douce
25.Brokeback Mountain

HM ET the Extra Terrestrial
Midnight Express
Fiddler on the Roof
Black Panther
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
High Noon

3 months ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

It was hard to stop ! So many solid choices.

Richard Green
Richard Green
3 months ago

Hi Joey,
I personally wouldn’t include The Sting, Fiddler on the Roof, Camelot, Let it Be, West Side Story or Purple Rain because they won for Original Song Score/Adapted Score. It would be great if perhaps one day you will do another list of purely Original Score winners?.. I would also personally have E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Titanic, The Omen and Schindler’s List in the top 10 because for different reasons they have all become classics. I am also a little shocked that Dune doesn’t even appear in honourable mentions since in my opinion it’s one of the most effective scores of the last 20 years. Finally, there is room for one more entry since Gravity appears both in the top 25 and honourable mentions.

Richard Green
Richard Green
3 months ago
Reply to  Joey Magidson

Ok so I take it that Dune was always in the place of Gravity in the honourable mentions but for some reason Gravity appeared in what I read. I would also like to mention a few others that haven’t been suggested so far namely Out of Africa, Dances with Wolves, The English Patient, Soul and especially Joker.



Written by Joey Magidson

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