Best Original Song

Oscar Predictions 2014: Original Song

This year’s nominees for Best Original Song come from four films that tackle very different subject matter – fighting an evil villain (with the help of some tiny yellow friends), finding love in unexpected ways, learning to accept who you are, and the story of a man who lived an extraordinary life. But there is one thing that unites all these songs: an uplifting spirit. Songs featured in films should capture the feeling of the film itself and all four of these nominations do just that in very different and compelling ways. Some will move you to tears where others will put a smile on your face, but the one thing all four will do is make you feel. The fact that all four nominees are going to be performed live by Pharell Williams, Karen O, Idina Menzel, and U2 promises this category’s presentation to be one of Oscar night’s best moments. We break down the nominees with my prediction of which song I think will win in red…

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Dooley Wilson in Casablanca

A few weeks back, Matthew Perpetua of Buzzfeed wrote a post arguing that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should consider an award for “Best Use of an Old Song,” citing the memorable instances of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” in Silver Linings Playbook and Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” in Moonrise Kingdom as possible contenders in this imaginary category. I could not agree more. It’s been a long time since a Best Original Song or Best Original Score winner made a major cultural impact, and the Music Supervisors who find the best existing music (within legal and budgetary constraints) for the greatest effect deserve their day in the spotlight for making us think about old songs in a new memorable audio-visual context or introducing us to great music that we didn’t know was always out there. Here are the reasons why such a category doesn’t already exist.

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Rick Ross

In what might be a bit of an over-correction from last year’s two-song race, The Academy has released the largest list of Oscar-eligible original songs in years, topping out at 75 tunes from the movies of the year. Naturally, the big names are there — Adele with “Skyfall” and Arcade Fire with their work on The Hunger Games — but there are also some far out choices like work featured in Death By China and Saint Dracula. With that many songs in the mix, it was bound to be an eclectic group, but even though it’ll be whittled down for the final nominee list announced January 10th, it’s nice for the time being to see “Ladies of Tampa” from Magic Mike right next to “Love Always Comes as a Surprise” from Madagascar 3. Here’s the complete list with a few examples for your listening pleasure:

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oscar-song01.jpg

Best Original Song is the only category that has the capacity to make the snobs, conservatives and the elderly audiences cringe uncomfortably. Especially when Eminem and Three-Six Mafia won.

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