Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Look at the Short List for the Best Original Song Contenders

This week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the short list of songs eligible for the Best Original Song category. As always, there are some favorites and a lot of strange choices. While it doesn't actually give any insight into who will win, it does create an interesting predicament to what could get nominated. The field is open to everyone on the list so far and there are numerous surprises that could occur. Much like the nomination of Norah Jones for a song from Ted last year, the category is rarely lacking in intrigue. 

In a previous post that I had written on the subject, I discussed what I presumed could get nominated in the category. Much to my surprise, every single one of my selections made the cut. While I am not presuming that they will make the finals, I am impressed to see a few on here, notably Emily Wells' "Become the Color" from Stoker. It is such an underrated song that to see it here is a triumph unto itself. Also, while the Golden Globes ignored Lana Del Rey, it is nice to think that she can still make it with her absolutely stunning "Young and Beautiful" song from The Great Gatsby

Here is a list of the short list. The information is presented by song, then performer, then film:

"Amen" by Alexander Ebert, from All Is Lost
"Alone Yet Not Alone" by Joni Eareckson Tadaby, from Alone Yet Not Alone
"Doby" by Will Ferrell (as Ron Burgundy), from Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues
"Last Mile Home" by Kings of Leon from August: Osage County
"Austenland" by Emmy the Great, from Austenland
"Comic Books" by Emmy the Great, from Austenland
"L.O.V.E.D.A.R.C.Y" by Emmy the Great, from Austenland
"What Up" by Emmy the Great, from Austenland
"He Loves Me Still" by Angela Bassett and Jennifer Hudson, from Black Nativity
"Hush Child (Get You Through This Silent Night)" by Jennifer Hudson et al, from Black Nativity
"Test of Faith" by Jennifer Hudson, from Black Nativity
"Forgiveness" by Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and Ben Harper, from Brave Miss World
"Lullaby Song" by Karl Lentini from Cleaver's Destiny
"Shine Your Way" by Owl City and Yuna, from The Croods
"Happy" by Pharrell, from Despicable Me 2
"Gonna Be Alright" by Steven Tyler, from Epic
"Rise Up" by Beyoncé, from Epic
"What Matters Most" by Delta Rae, from Escape From Planet Earth
"Bones" by Joanne Perica, from For No Good Reason
"Going Nowhere" by Lucinda Bell, from For No Good Reason
"Gonzo" from For No Good Reason
"The Courage to Believe" by Q'orianka Kilcher from Free China: The Courage to Believe
"Let It Go" by Idina Menzel, from Frozen
"100$ Bill" by Jay Z, from The Great Gatsby
"A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" by Fergie, Q-Tip and Goonrock, from The Great Gatsby
"Over the Love" by Florence and the Machine, from The Great Gatsby
"Together" by the xx, from The Great Gatsby
"Young and Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey, from The Great Gatsby
"The Moon Song" by Karen O, from Her
"I See Fire" by Ed Sheeran, from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
"Bite of Our Lives" by the cast from How Sweet It Is
"Try" by the cast from How Sweet It Is
"Atlas" by Coldplay from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
"Better You, Better Me" by Alicia Keys, from The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete
"Bring It On" by Nathan Wang, from Jewtopia
"Aygiri Nadani" by Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory, from Kamasutra 3D
"Har Har Mahadeva" by Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory, from Kamasutra 3D
"I Felt" by Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory, from Kamasutra 3D
"Of the Soil" by Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory, from Kamasutra 3D 
"Sawariya" by Sreejith Edavana and Saachin Raj Chelory, from Kamasutra 3D
"In the Middle of the Night" by Fantasia, from The Butler
"You And I Ain't Nothin' No More" by Gladys Knight, from The Butler
"Let's Take a Trip" by Jackson Rathbone, from Live at the Foxes Den
"Pour Me Another Dream" by Jackson Rathbone, from Live at the Foxes Den
"The Time of My Life" by Jackson Rathbone, from Live at the Foxes Den
"Ordinary Love" by U2, from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
"Monsters University" by Randy Newman, from Monsters University
"When the Darkness Comes" by Colbie Caillat, from The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones
"Sacrifice (I Am Here)" by Chris Irwin Band, from Murph: The Protector
"The Muslims Are Coming" by Negin Farsad and Tory Dahlhoff, from The Muslims Are Coming!
"Oblivion" by M83, from Oblivion
"Sweeter Than Fiction" by Taylor Swift, from One Chance
"Nothing Can Stop Me Now" by Mark Holman, from Planes
"We Both Know" by Colbie Caillat, from Safe Haven
"Get Used to Me" by Diane Warren, from The Sapphires
"Stay Alive" by Jose Gonzalez, from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"So You Know What It's Like" by Keith Stanfield, from Short Term 12
"There's No Black Or White" by Brian Carmody, from Somm
"Cut Me Some Slack" by Paul McCartney et al, from Sound City
"You Can't Fix This" by Stevie Nicks et al, from Sound City
"Let It Go" by Michael Franti, from Spark: A Burning Man Story
"We Ride" by Missy Higgins, from Spark: A Burning Man Story
"Becomes the Color" by Emily Wells, from Stoker
"Younger Every Day" by Stevie, from 3 Geezers!
"Here It Comes" by Emeli Sande, from Trance
"Let the Bass Go" by Snoop Dogg, from Turbo
"The Snail Is Fast" by V12 and Nomadik, from Turbo
"Speedin" by Classic, from Turbo
"My Lord Sunshine (Sunrise)" by David Hughey, from 12 Years a Slave
"Make It Love" by the Hummons, from Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro
"One Life" by Tamela Mann, from The Ultimate Life
"Unfinished Songs" by Celine Dion and Diane Warren, from Unfinished Song
"For the Time Being" by Edie Brickell and the Gadabouts, from The Way, Way Back
"Go Where the Love Is" by Edie Brickell and the Gadabouts, from The Way, Way Back
"Bleed for Love" by Jennifer Hudson, from Winnie Mandela

Quite an eclectic group of titles from films of all walks. The most puzzling occurrence on the list could be the four selections from Austenland. While I have not seen said film, the Jane Austen fantasy park movie was heavily panned and stands out more to me as a sign of failing feminism. While this isn't always indicative of the music, it does seem to be striking that so many songs would get recognized beyond the initial movie.

Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I am well aware that despite a Golden Globe nomination, Inside Llewyn Davis is ineligible for this year's ceremony. I always assumed they were all standards written decades earlier, though it would have been nice to see the Coen Brothers and T. Bone Burnett craft an original gem much like Burnett did for Crazy Heart. With that said, the remaining selections of my predictions still made the cut. However, Emily Wells will most likely not make the cut just because Stoker is not well known enough nor is it thematically in line with what would be deemed Oscar worthy. It is still my pick for best song eligible this year, but I will probably be the only one beating its drum come nominations time.

Going onto more optimistic viewing, the list does feature a lot of interesting selections. While The Secret Life of Walter Mitty trailers are increasingly saccharine and tiresome, the music definitely holds some weight. "Stay Alive" by Jose Gonzalez is a soft enough song that it is mellow and has points of meditation. It will probably play to the strengths of the film that will come out as opposed to on its own. However, of the numerous selections, it does seem like one of the more applicable decisions.

If presuming that there is overlap between the Oscars and the Golden Globes, we could be looking at every stronger competition between my predictions and the results. Maybe Coldplay's "Atlas" from Catching Fire will make the cut unexpectedly. Even U2's "One Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom stands a bigger chance now not only because of Nelson Mandela's passing, but the nominations themselves have highlighted the film. Of course, this isn't always true. In 2011, Madonna won Best Original Song at the Golden Globes for W.E. song "Masterpiece" yet it didn't even show up in the other race. Unless there is a clear favorite like Adele's "Skyfall," there is a good chance that comparing the two is void of reasoning.

Though of all the nominees, I still believe that Frozen's "Let It Go" by Idina Menzel is going to be the title to beat. While the song hasn't aged well with me, it probably helps that Frozen has managed to capture the zeitgeist in unpredictable ways (thanks largely to lack of competition). I also believe that Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful" is going to be another stiff competition just because of how cinematic and grand the song is. However, I do not condone nominating any of the other songs from The Great Gatsby, as the rest of the soundtrack was lackluster for me. 

Until the list gets cut down, I am excited to see where things go with this category. For now, it's looking solid based on what I was predicting a few weeks ago. Maybe there will be some surprises and maybe the race will be more interesting than it is letting on. Not entirely sure and while I unfortunately won't take time to listen to every song, I will keep an eye on my favorites and see how things go. 

Who is going to make the final cut? Is Lana Del Rey still in the race? Does the Golden Globes nominations impact the Oscars selection?

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