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Best Film Scores from the 2010s, Ranked

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Music has the ability to enhance a film and express emotions that simply could not be done with any other medium. When done right, the pairing of music, whether it’s original songs or original scores, and movies creates magic and becomes a huge reason why people relate so deeply to certain stories and characters. Looking back at some of the most iconic pairings in film history, it’s evident that sometimes a score’s impact is so great that audience members remember that music more than anything else in a movie. When people think of Steven Spielberg’s classic 1975 summer blockbuster Jaws, one of the first things that come to mind is the thrilling theme John Williams composed for the shark itself. Williams is a master at his craft and one of the greatest composers of his time, creating some of the most acclaimed film scores in cinema history. He is also responsible for composing the iconic Star Wars theme song.

James Horner is yet another composer who has composed scores for some of the most popular and successful films to ever be made. In 1998, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for his work on Titanic

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. This is another film where the movie’s music is almost as important as the story itself. Titanic’s swooning and otherworldly score are still what people think of today when they look back on the film. Throughout the 2010s, we saw tons of great scores that aided film in the same way. Here are eight of the best film scores from the 2010s, ranked.

John Williams is a legendary composer who will go down in cinema history for all of his iconic contributions to film since 1958, when he composed the score for the feature film Daddy-O. The score he created for the Star Wars films is undeniably some of his greatest and most recognizable work to date, making it no surprise that, in 2020, he received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score for Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. Almost everybody knows the main title’s song and Star Wars is a perfect example of how much music can impact a movie.

Related: Star Wars: How John Williams Composed One of the Best Film Scores of All Time

Like Star Wars, the James Bond films are another franchise in which the score is perhaps one of the most unforgettable aspects of the film. James Bond as a character is cool, dangerous, and a little arrogant, which is the exact feeling you get when listening to the score for Skyfall. The music should be an extension of the movie and this film’s composer, Thomas Newman, did a brilliant job representing that. The fan-favorite English singer-songwriter Adele also played a part in creating the soundtrack for Skyfall. She wrote and sang the opening credits’ song entitled “Skyfall” alongside record producer Paul Epworth. The project was monumental in Adele’s career, winning her the Academy Award in 2013 for Best Original Song.

One of the beautiful things about filmmaking is that it’s a collaborative art form. When geniuses like Christopher Nolan, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Hans Zimmer come together, movie magic is made, which is exactly what happened with the making of Inception. Zimmer is one of the most respected composers in the film industry, and his work on the 2010 sci-fi action film elevated everything about Nolan’s story. Zimmer captured the suspense and danger that DiCaprio’s character Cobb was battling throughout the movie, and the tension the score created left audiences on the edge of their seats. Zimmer has been nominated 12 times at the Academy Awards for Best Original Score and has won twice for his work on The Lion King in 1995 and most recently for Dune in 2022.

Almost every film about venturing off into outer space is suspenseful and filled with tension due to the fact that the stakes are so high and anything could go wrong at any moment. Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 sci-fi/thriller Gravity is no exception. This brilliant score was composed by Steven Price, who is also known for his work on the films Over the Moon, Fury, Baby Driver, and Last Night in Soho. Gravity received ten Oscar nominations in 2014 and won in seven of the categories, including Best Original Score, which is the first win for Price.

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