By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 23, 2011 at 4:54AM
French composer Alexandre Desplat is having a busy 2011. He's racing to finish the score for one of several still-unfinished year-end releases, Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, over the next few weeks. (The composer took over from Nico Muhly, who scored Daldry's The Reader.) Of course, music is always the last contribution to any movie, figuring in the final mix.
The question is, which of the releases Desplat scored this year will nab him a fifth Oscar nomination? He has four so far: Stephen Frears' The Queen, Wes Anderson's The Fantastic Mr. Fox, David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and Tom Hooper's The King’s Speech. Will it be The Tree of Life, A Better Life, Carnage, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part II, George Clooney's The Ides of March--- or the one he's beavering away on now?
The adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel stars Tom Hanks as a man who vanishes after the September 11 attacks, and Sandra Bullock and Tom Horn as his wife and son, respectively. (Desplat also scored Clooney-starrers Syriana and Fantastic Mr. Fox.)
In related music news, on Monday Alan Menken will accept the Maestro Award at the Hollywood Reporter/Billboard Film & TV Music Conference at L.A.'s Renaissance Hotel. Menken has 12 song and/or score Oscar nominations and eight wins to his name, from Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast to Aladdin and Pocahontas. Most recently, he penned the song "Star Spangled Man" for Captain America, which comes out on DVD Tuesday--just the sort of high-profile song that lands Oscar nominations.