The nominations for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards were announced yesterday, and it looks like February is going to be a huge month for genre music any which way the wind blows. For starters, every single nominee for Best Score Soundtrack this year is a genre film. Ludwig Goransson's Black Panther score faces off against Michael Giacchino for Coco and Alexandre Desplat for The Shape of Water, as well as against two of cinema's biggest soundtrack heavyweights: the most Oscar-nominated soundtrack composer alive, John Williams, for The Last Jedi , and Lion King and Dark Knight alum composer Hans Zimmer (with Benjamin Wallfisch) for Blade Runner 2049. It's anybody's game, and the competition is pretty fierce.
And while that's the only category where sci-fi and fantasy is sure to dominate, there are others in which it is pretty darn likely to nab the trophy. Of the five nominees for Best Compilation Soundtrack, two are from genre fan faves. Deadpool 2's sprawling soundtrack is like a Guardians of the Galaxy mixtape with the irony turned up to twelve, and features a buffet of karaoke-ready delights, from Celine Dion's "Ashes" to Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time," interspersed with newer sounds like Run the Jewels' "Nobody Speak" and Skrillex's "Bangarang."
But can irony beat out true, heartfelt actual 80's nostalgia? The Force is strong with Stranger Things (which even the lifelong emperor of the 1980s, Steven Spielberg, claims to be the Number One Fan of), and its second season comp soundtrack is no slouch in that department, mining Corey Hart's "Sunglasses at Night" and Toto's "Africa" for all the Top 40 radioplay memories they invoke, while mixing in telekinetic gems like Peter Gabriel's gorgeous and heart-shattering cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" for peak emotional effect.
But most exciting of all is what could happen in the Album category, as perhaps for the first time ever, an album inspired by a comic book character is up for Album of the Year. If Kendrick Lamar's Black Panther: The Album, Music From and Inspired By wins the statue this year, it'll be a huge nod to the complete world-building of the Wakanda universe Lamar helped bring to life on and off the screen with his wide-ranging music based off Ryan Coogler's instant icon of a film. Lamar will have some powerful competition from Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer, though seeing as her songs and videos so often unfold across an ongoing glorious android uprising parable, her win would be quite the genre win as well.
The Grammy Awards air Sunday, February 10. Look for the full list of nominees here.