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Grammy Visual Media Categories Could See ‘Barbie’ vs. ‘Spider-Man’

Barbie, Spider-Man, Black Panther – visions of dolls and comic-book characters inevitably will be dancing in the heads of Grammy voters when they sit down to nominate movie music for this year’s golden gramophones.

“Barbie: The Album” seems a shoo-in to compete for best compilation soundtrack, the category for movies dominated by songs. But the Metro Boomin-curated album for the animated “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” also topped Billboard’s soundtrack chart this year and seems likely to swing into competition.

On a similar note, the third edition of “Guardians of the Galaxy” film inspired another “Awesome Mix” that was hugely popular and seems poised to join its two predecessors as a Grammy nominee. The “Fast X” album and Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid,” with its new songs by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda, could also make it onto the ballot.

The Grammy eligibility year always complicates matters for Recording Academy voters in the visual media categories, as it never parallels that of the Oscars. This year, voters will consider soundtracks for movies released between October 2022 and September 2023. That means, for example, that Rihanna’s song “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” a 2022 best-song Oscar nominee, will also be eligible for the song Grammy, as the film wasn’t released until Nov. 11; but the Oscar winner, the Telugu-language “Naatu Naatu,” is not Grammy eligible as its film, “RRR,” was released in March 2022 and thus qualified last year.

The multiple original songs in “Barbie” — including hits by Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Dua Lipa, along with a memorable star turn from Ryan Gosling — are likely to be nominated in multiple categories, so many that the soundtrack got its own article.

Looking at the original score category, composer Ludwig Göransson, a certain nominee for this year’s hit “Oppenheimer,” may be competing against himself, as his “Wakanda Forever” will be eligible. He’ll seems likely to be up against Oscar winner Volker Bertelmann’s “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and two other Oscar nominees from late 2022 releases: Justin Hurwitz’s “Babylon” and John Williams’ “The Fabelmans.” Williams could be a double nominee in the score category, as his lively music for this summer’s blockbuster “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” has been entered for Grammy consideration. The legendary composer already has 25 Grammys for his astounding record of classics from “Jaws” to “Star Wars” to “E.T.”

Television projects likely to pass muster with Grammy voters may well include two from Nicholas Britell – the “Star Wars” spinoff “Andor” and the concluding season of “Succession” – as well as the songs from “Daisy Jones & The Six,” Siddhartha Khosla’s score for “Only Murders in the Building,” Bear McCreary’s music for “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” and the songs from the wacky “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” musical “Subspace Rhapsody.”

And in only its second year of existence, the “score soundtrack for video games and other interactive media” category is bound to be filled with fan favorites. McCreary’s “God of War: Ragnarok” has already won the BAFTA for game music and is a likely nominee. “Star Wars: Jedi Survivor,” by Stephen Barton and Gordy Haab, has been widely ballyhooed, as has the first-ever interactive videogame musical, Austin Wintory’s “Stray Gods.” Among other game scores up for possible Grammy nomination: Inon Zur’s “Starfield,” Borislav Slavov’s “Baldur’s Gate 3,” Olivier Deriviere’s “A Plague Tale: Requiem” and the triple-composer “Hogwarts Legacy” (Peter Murray, J. Scott Rakozy, Chuck E. Myers) — bringing even more names to a crowded and highly creative field.

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