Academy Award for Best Song 2017

Here’s a quick look at the songs nominated for Best Song at the 89th Academy Awards.

My money’s on either of the La La Land songs, but could there be an upset on the cards? Surely Sting is out of the running before he discussions have even started.

What do you think?

La La Land – “City of Stars”

La La Land – “Audition”

Moana – “How Far I’ll Go”

Jim – “The Empty Chair”

Trolls – “Can’t Stop The Feeling”

Academy Award for Best Original Song – What could be nominated?

At 1:18pm on Tuesday 24th January, the nominations for the 89th Academy Awards will be announced. Whilst most of the categories are fairly open – albeit with a host of strong contenders likely to lead the field – some of the categories are long-listed ahead of the announcement.

One such category is for Best Original Song, which has a 91-strong long list out for all to see on the official Oscars website. Many of them simply won’t get a look in, even though it would have been great for Sausage Party’s “The Great Beyond” to have a giant spotlight shone on it.

Here I take a look at some of the likely contenders for the big prize. It’s worth noting that at the Academy Awards, only two songs from one motion picture can be nominated and only five can be nominated in total.

The Obvious Choices

There are a few songs that are almost certain to be included. It seems unlikely that La La Land won’t get at least one song in there, probably two. Those will most likely be Golden Globe winner “City of Stars” and the excellent “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)“. Sorry John Legend!

Elsewhere, it would be a bit of a shock if the best track from the wonderful Disney animation Moana, “How Far I’ll Go“, doesn’t get a nod. It would be fantastic if the 16-year-old breakout star Auli’i Cravalho was invited to perform too!

I can’t see a situation where Kim Burrell and Pharrell Williams miss out for “I See A Victory“. Great song, great performers and supposedly a very good film too. A no brainer.

Entertainment Value Choices

It’s not always the case, but most of the nominees will be performing on the night of the ceremony. As such, it’s likely there will be at least one choice that will boost the ratings by planting a big-named performer in the middle of the night. It would be great to see Justin Timberlake performing his summer smash “Can’t Stop The Feeling“from Trolls. Another good option would be “Faith“, the track from the animated film Sing as performed by Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande. P!nk’s “Just Like Fire” from Alice Through The Looking Glass would fit this bill too.

Sia’s gorgeous song “Angel By The Wings“, from the critically-acclaimed documentary The Eagle Huntress, is a great excuse to put her in front of millions of people and blow them away, though “Never Give Up” from Lion (same artist, different film) might be more of a crowd-pleaser.

The Outside Bets

I’d love to see “A Minute To Breathe” get a nod. The song, from “Before The Flood” and performed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, would be an unusual but brilliant choice, the song blending some understated backing that leaves the focus squarely on the lyrics. As he sings “We’ll all be judged by what we leave behind,” the hairs will stand up on the back of your neck.

Gary Clark Jr.’s “Take Me Down” might not be an obvious choice, and Deepwater Horizon probably isn’t going to feature heavily in the other categories, but it would be great to have a song in there for no other reason than it’s a great song. 

Finally, we can only hope that they give in to the luscious electronic indie of Sing Street and grant “Drive It Like You Stole It” some space at the biggest cinematic awards event of the year.

Academy Award for Best Original Song 2016

There are five songs nominated in the shortlist for the Academy Award for Best Original Song Academy Award. Here’s a complete list with the videos.

“Earned It” from the film Fifty Shades of Grey
Music and lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio; performed by The Weeknd

“Manta Ray” from the film Racing Extinction
Music by J. Ralph; lyric by Antony Hegarty; performed by J. Ralph and Antony

“Simple Song #3” from the film Youth
Music and lyrics by David Lang; performed by Sumi Jo

“Til It Happens to You” from the film The Hunting Ground
Music and lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga; performed by Lady Gaga

“Writing’s on the Wall” from the film Spectre
Music and lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith; performed by Sam Smith

Academy Award for Best Original Song – A Closer Look

There are five songs nominated in the shortlist for the Best Original Song Oscar. Here’s my take on them.

Everything Is Awesome (from The Lego Movie)
Music and lyric by Shawn Patterson
Performed by Tegan & Sara feat The Lonely Island

Total YouTube views as of 26/01/2015 = 28,675,867
Well, I think this is the one song on the list that you already know. If you’ve not seen this film, then you can bet someone else you know has. And if they have, they will undoubtedly have sung you some or all of this song. It’s catchy as hell. I’m amazed it has been nominated to be honest, but it is a just nomination and it would be a worthy winner. Before the nominations were released I had never heard of the other four songs on this list and if recent track records are anything to go with then the most popular song always wins (see the wickedly talented, the one and only Adele Dazeem’s “Let It Go” in 2013* and Elvian Conchords Brett McKenzie’s “Man or Muppet” in 2012). The best thing about this winning would be Andy Samberg’s acceptance speech, which, if track record is anything to go by, would be awesome.

Glory (from Selma)
Music and lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
Performed by Common and John Legend

Total YouTube views as of 26/01/2015 = 1,613,740
John Legend has provided a quality chorus and backing track here, the “One day, when the glory comes” refrain more than catchy enough to stay in my head for a while. I have to say though, Common’s rapping leaves a lot to be desired. Music lovers in the UK may be forgiven for not knowing Common. He’s really a lot more well known in the US. It’s weird though, because here he has the look and feel of a middling defence lawyer in a low-budget made-for-TV courtroom drama. Don’t get me wrong, the words he has written are powerful enough, but the way they’re delivered just left me feeling a little indifferent. Mind you, I haven’t bought a hip-hop album since Mos Def’s 1999 hit “Black on Both Sides”, so maybe this just isn’t aimed at me.

Grateful (from Beyond The Lights)
Music and lyric by Diane Warren
Performed by Rita Ora

Number of YouTube views as of 26/01/2015 = 331,107
By far and away the worst song on the list. I’ve no idea how this got nominated. If there was a special award for Best Diane Warren Song of 2014 it wouldn’t even win (remember Paloma Faith’s “Only Love Can Hurt Like This” was released in 2014). The film isn’t even very popular. Baffling really.

I’m Not Going to Miss You (from Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me)
Music, lyric and performance by Glen Campbell

Total YouTube views as of 26/01/2015 = 6,858,585
This would be a good shout for the win. The film Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me has been making waves across the regions it has been available. It charts Glen Campbell’s journey suffering from Alzheimer’s, which is noble subject matter for a film. I’m yet to see it, but this song (Campbell’s last recording) is staunch reminder of his talents. It isn’t by any means his greatest work, but it is proof that the magic is still there as his condition worsens. It’s sad to listen to and should the Academy want to avoid a popular but jokey winner then this will be the one they go for.

Lost Stars (from Begin Again)
Music and lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
Performed by Adam Levine

Total YouTube views as of 26/01/2015 = 20,025,920
There’s a clear reason for this being nominated: TV viewing figures. These award ceremonies are often quite uncomfortable affairs. Neil Patrick Harris will inevitably deliver a well-polished and sharp performance as presenter this year, but more often than not the links and prize giving segments are awkward, silence-filled affairs that leaves the audience begging for reprieve. When Adam Levine takes to the stage we will at least know he’ll nail this song. Taken from Begin Again, a film in which he stars alongside Keira Knightley and James Corden, this is actually a solid power-ballad, the type for which Maroon 5 have become household names. It’s one of the better ones too. It has been included on the reissue of their latest album V, which will help boost sales. I don’t think he’ll be gutted when he finds out he hasn’t won – he’ll be more bothered about how critics react to his first major acting role (quite well, I might add)**. If I were choosing and wanted a serious option, this is the one I’d go for.

* If you’ve not heard this song yet, it’s quite the song. You should check it out. If only it was more popular.

** Critics have been widely accepting-to-encouraging of Levine’s big screen acting debut. That will come as a relief to Levine, who was so desperate to land the role he agreed to do it for free. As a business-minded individual I’m sure it was a calculated risk. He’s singing half of the soundtrack so at worst it will serve as a money-maker for the royalties from he’ll get from the OST, whilst he will also get a welcome boost of interest in their latest album V. Clever boy.