Oscars 2014: Best Original Song Eligibles
This is one of my favorite articles to write every year. I love looking up all the Original Song contenders and listening to them.
Here’s how I do this: I go through all the songs, one by one — this year, there are 79 songs eligible — listen to them, rate them out of five, talk about their likelihood of being nominated, and then when I’m done, guess which are most likely to make the final list.
And usually we’re never right. Something crazy happens. Like that bizarre song that got nominated last year but got disqualified.
Here are the 79 songs eligible for Best Original Song this year:
“It’s on Again,” from The Amazing Spider-Man 2
So this was a song written for a Spider-Man movie. How’d that happen?
Kendrick goes off at the beginning of this. And then it just kind of bottoms out from there. It has a weird muzak disco beat to it. And it sounds like Alicia Keys isn’t even trying.
It’s not a bad song. You can listen to it. But it’s one of those big budget versions of a song. It’s gonna get 3 stars, but that’s because so much money was put into it, it’s gonna be a certain level. Even if it’s a piece of shit, it’s still watchable. (Or in this case, listenable.)
There’s not much here, and it’ll never get nominated.
“Opportunity,” from Annie
This isn’t a bad song. People seem to like Sia. They might nominate her because of that.
I’ll give them a chance. I know the Globes nominated it, but that’s meaningless. They nominate shit every year.
This song has that kind of ring to it. They might respond to it. So I’ll give them a shot here.
Though this song — horribly shoehorned into the movie. But, given what this movie is, I can’t even start to quibble about that.
I’ll give them… 3.5 stars. I’m feeling generous. We’re just getting started, and I haven’t gotten strict yet. Not feeling this as a nominee, but it’s possible.
“Lost Stars,” from Begin Again
Harvey’s campaigning hard for this one. (Allegedly.)
This one is all over this movie. The whole movie is basically centered around this song. So it would make a good nominee. I think you have to consider it a contender based on that and the fact that Harvey is campaigning for it.
I don’t know if this gets on, because it’s not one of those songs that screams, “Nominate me.” But this is Best Original Song. The category is corrupt as shit. This is a major contender.
3.5 stars. I like it, but don’t love it. I’m cool if they nominate this, but something tells me they somehow won’t.
Also, you know who wrote this song? Gregg Alexander. The guy who wrote, “You Only Get What You Give.”
Wonder if he ever got to fight, Beck, Hanson, Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson.
“Grateful,” from Beyond the Lights
Would be funny if a song from this movie made it, since the major song in this movie is another person’s song.
I just started listening to it.
This is generic 2014 songwriting. This ain’t going anywhere. If it does, the music branch has really given in to corruption.
2.5 stars. It’s fine, but no. Don’t nominate this. This is the epitome of mediocrity. Don’t treat it like a masterpiece.
“Big Eyes,” from Big Eyes
Lana Del Rey should have been on here last year for “Young and Beautiful” from Gatsby. She’s got a great chance to get on this year for this one.
The song’s not as good, of course, but that’s the nature of the beast. It’s still a good song. But last year — that song was the choice for a nomination, and they left it off. (Gatsby as a whole was horribly snubbed. But it did walk away with two statues. So that’s good.)
This one’s not particularly subtle, thematically, is it?
3.5 stars. It’s fine. Not gonna dock it for not being as good as last year’s song. I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with this being nominated, but I’m not in love with it as a song. Let’s see what else we have before we start making proclamations.
“Immortals,” from Big Hero 6
Fall Out Boy did this song.
Not fucking happening.
Also, it’s not from a Disney musical. It has no shot. Don’t even bother thinking this will make it.
As a song… 3 stars. It’s fine. Whatever. Not for me. I’m not 15 anymore.
“The Apology Song,” from The Book of Life
Not gonna happen. Too specific. As corrupt as this category is, they are generally pretty decent about quality. I say that loosely, but they don’t just let stuff like this get on.
2.5 stars. It’s fine. But it’s not getting nominated.
“I Love You Too Much,” from The Book of Life
3.5 stars. I actually like this song.
Not gonna get nominated, but it’s a nice song.
Now that I’m hearing it, this was actually a song I thought already existed before this movie. Since they cover a few songs (still not over the use of Radiohead. What?) in the movie. I just assumed this was one of them. So good for them for having this be original.
Still not gonna get nominated.
“The Boxtrolls Song,” from The Boxtrolls
No one’s voting for this.
I’ll admit it’s growing on me as it goes on, but not that much.
“Quattro Sabatino,” from The Boxtrolls
It’s great how these songs are always shortlisted, and you listen to them and go, “Who the hell would nominate this?”
It’s just making our lives easier. Because you know this ain’t happening.
“Ryan’s Song,” from Boyhood
Pretty sure this is the one that counts as Ryan’s Song.
This is fun. Don’t think they’d nominate this over the other contender from the movie. If they do, then there’s no chance it wins. Minor shot at it, but I think this next one is the contender from this movie.
“Split the Difference,” from Boyhood
Solid song. This stands a strong chance at a nomination.
Good song. Don’t think is needs to be nominated, but it would make sense as one.
“No Fate Awaits Me,” from The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them
3.5 stars. I imagine this works better in context.
Can’t see them nominating this. Would be really surprising, actually. Let’s just rule this out and be safe.
“Brave Souls,” from Dolphin Tale 2
Academy Award Dolphin Tale 2.
Yeah, I think you get it.
3 stars. I’ll admit to being okay with certain songs. But this ain’t getting nominated.
Come on, guys.
“You Got Me,” from Dolphin Tale 2
Academy Award Nominee Dolphin Tale 2.
Seriously. It’s not happening.
“All Our Endless Love,” from Endless Love
3 stars. I didn’t hate it.
It’s not getting on the ballot. But it’s okay.
“Let Me In,” from The Fault in Our Stars
As soon as I heard the first line, I went, “This is exactly the kind of song fans of this movie are gonna love.”
Oh, and it’ll never be nominated.
“Not About Angels,” from The Fault in Our Stars
The chick who sings this is the one from that Mumford and Sons song from Brave. That was really good.
I typically go for songs like this. But not this one.
Also not a chance to get nominated.
“Until the End,” from Garnet’s Gold
Wait, what? Liza Minnelli was on this? Why didn’t that get any press?
They might nominate this.
They probably won’t. But Liza is someone you gotta take seriously. Like Babs. If Streisand sings one of these songs, you really have to think they might nominate her.
It’s actually a great song.
They might nominate this. It’s Liza, it’s catchy, it’s nice for where she’s at… they might do this.
It’s from a documentary, but they’ve gone here before. That Chasing Ice song got on here two years ago.
I’m gonna hold this in my back pocket. I don’t think it’ll happen, but this could surprise people. (And wouldn’t that be something, to have this when no one else does?)
“It Just Takes a Moment,” from Girl on a Bicycle
We’re gonna speed through these next two. I could only find 30 second snippets of the songs on this one video, so we’ll go on that.
First song — 2.5 stars. Don’t care.
Also, neither of these are going to be nominated. But I think we already knew that.
“Last Stop Paris,” from Girl on a Bicycle
I like that you can click the link and it’ll take you to the song snippet.
That was pretty much the only good thing that happened during the 30 second preview of this song.
“Ordinary Human,” from The Giver
OneRepublic about says it all about this one’s chances.
… and once the falsetto kicked in, that’s where they lost me.
Man, these songs are terrible. What happened to soundtrack music? This shit blows.
Mostly, it comes down to songwriting. People can’t do it anymore, apparently. Or maybe they just don’t care to hire the right people. Either way… I weep for the future.
Not being nominated. Terrible song. Why would you attach this to a movie?
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” from Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me
Oooh… I saw his name and thought, “Uh oh.” Because this is a major contender. They left off Paul Williams “Still Alive” that time. This one, I’m curious to see what they do with this. This dude has dementia. And he’s singing a song. And it’s pretty beautiful.
3.5 stars. Have to consider this a major finalist until they don’t nominate it. It’s not a perfectly written song, but circumstances are what this one’s about.
“Find a Way,” from The Good Lie
2 stars. Nope. Just, not gonna happen.
“Color the World,” from The Hero of Color City
2 stars. Mostly I’m amused that this can potentially be nominated for Animated Feature.
“The Last Goodbye,” from The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
4.5 stars. I’ve always liked the songs from this franchise. Sure, they’re basically doing the exact same thing they did with Into the West. (In fact, is it the same chord progression? Because I felt like it was sounding exactly the same as Into the West.) Not that I care.
They haven’t nominated any of the other songs from these ones. So I don’t know if they’re gonna go back to it. But you have to consider it a contender regardless. Because you do. They’re gonna push it. Plus, it’s the last one. It might be a nice farewell, if they want to go there.
The video is straight up playing that angle. Using clips from everything. Like, “Hey, remember how much you love us?” I wonder if they’ll go for it. Or backlash and be like, “Fuck you for being manipulative.” We’ll see.
“Chariots,” from The Hornet’s Nest
2.5 stars. It’s not awful. Won’t be nominated, I can imagine. Weird shit does get on, but I’m not gonna randomly forecast it.
“Follow Me,” from The Hornet’s Nest
They don’t go for stuff like this.
And neither do I.
“Something to Shoot For,” from Hot Guys with Guns
The movie is called Hot Guys with Guns. It’s never gonna happen.
2.5 stars. The vocal work’s not half bad, though. Clearly trying to emulate a Bond song, though. They don’t nominate the actual Bond songs.
“For the Dancing and the Dreaming,” from How the Train Your Dragon 2
I’d be pretty surprised. I won’t entirely rule it out, because weird things happen, but there’s a 95% chance this won’t make my guess list next month.
2.5 stars. It’s just — no. If they didn’t nominate the Brave songs, they’re not nominating this. I’m not talking myself into doing something stupid.
“Afreen,” from The Hundred-Foot Journey
I think we can safely assume A.R. Rahman is not gonna make it on here. He got on for Slumdog, and then somehow got on for 127 Hours. But they’ve ignored him since then. And this made no waves at all. They’re gonna think, “Been there, done that,” and won’t go near this.
3.5 stars. I mean, it is a nice sounding song and all. There is that.
“Yellow Flicker Beat,” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
I’m really interested to see what they do with this. Do they vote for it because they like Lorde? Do they not vote for it because it’s Lorde? This is a big wild card. I can see it going either way.
The thing going against this one — it’s just not a very good song, is it? It’s got the Lorde sound, but what else does it have? What the hell is the title? Is that what the Mockingjay has?
3 stars. Don’t really like this.
And honestly, I can’t see them nominating it because of that. It’s not that good. And I know it’s gonna win the Globe (because it’s going to win the Globe. The Foreign Press are starfuckers to the extreme), but I’d be pretty surprised if the Academy actually went here.
“Heart Like Yours,” from If I Stay
2 stars. When a movie plays a song like this, I cringe.
This is the end of act two, sad walking away in the dark, hipster bullshit song.
We all know what I’m talking about.
I’m saving time and saying none of the three songs eligible from this movie will be nominated.
So I don’t have to say it over the next two songs.
“I Never Wanted to Go,” from If I Stay
Is this not the exact same song I just listened to?
“Mind,” from If I Stay
Hey, this one’s different!
Not good. But different.
2.5 stars. Because you upped the tempo.
Still sounds like some bullshit a 17 year old would perform at a terrible concert in a movie about teenagers.
If this song were sung by someone other than what sounds like a whiny emo pussy guy singer, and maybe were a little faster, this would fit right in on the soundtrack of one of the American Pie movies. So, in one of the teen comedies from 1999 to 2003.
“Everything Is Awesome,” from The Lego Movie
It’s not a guarantee, but at this point, we’d be moderately surprised if they didn’t nominate this.
Also, this is the nominee that I wanted to be against, but at this point, it’s memorable.
But the songwriting isn’t great. And the Lonely Island part I don’t even like. Which is like, half the song. So I’m hoping they don’t nominate it on that level.
But on the other hand… what the hell else do we have?
“Call Me When You Find Yourself,” from Life Inside Out
‘Once’ is enough.
“Coming Back to You,” from The Life of an Actress
Can’t find this or the song after this.
Doubt they’ll nominate them, so it probably just saved me time.
“The Life of an Actress,” from The Life of an Actress
No idea what this even is. What are the odds they nominate it?
“Sister Rust,” from Lucy
This is a real song. What is it doing in this movie?
I’d be so shocked if they nominated this. I’d want to be wrong about this. Just so I can see it be nominated and hysterically laugh every time I see it.
“You Fooled Me,” from Merchants of Doubt
Can’t find this song, so I’ll just assume it’ll never be nominated.
That’s how I operate here.
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“Million Dollar Dream,” from Million Dollar Arm
Featuring Iggy Azalea. Ugh.
Also.. A.R. Rahman again.
This is offensively bad.
Please don’t nominate this.
“Spreading the Word/Makhna,” from Million Dollar Arm
I heard this six years ago.
“We Could Be Kings,” from Million Dollar Arm
I think my like of KT Tunstall is one of the few things that distinctly points to me being a white person. There aren’t many. I think this is one.
Throw all three of the songs out from this movie.
“A Million Ways to Die,” from A Million Ways to Die in the West
Seth MacFarlane got nominated here once. But he’s not hosting this year. And this is no Blazing Saddles.
3 stars. Barely. Not a great song. I’d be shocked if they went here.
“Way Back When,” from Mr. Peabody & Sherman
This isn’t horrible.
It’s generic garbage, when you get down to it. But it’s on the higher end of generic garbage for me.
Don’t think they’re gonna go here, and I won’t pretend like I think they will.
“America for Me,” from A Most Violent Year
I was surprised when they didn’t nominate him for “Amen” last year. Not shocked, but surprised.
This one — this is even more of a tough sell. And yet, I’m feeling like he has a better chance at being nominated for this than he did last year.
The thing about both songs he did — when I first heard them, I went, “What the hell is this?” And then, over the course of the songs, I started liking them more and more.
4 stars. This is a nice, unique little song. I don’t know if they have the balls to nominate it, but I’ll give it a shot.
“I’ll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu),” from Muppets Most Wanted
Funny that both The Muppets and Rio have sequels coming out the exact same year, considering those are the two partly responsible (not really, but they’re the infamous examples) for this category being changed. My gut tells me they stay far away from both of these movies, based purely on the perception of them if they were nominated.
3 stars. This will never be nominated anyway. But it’s got a nice melody to it.
“Something So Right,” from Muppets Most Wanted
3 stars. Not happening. This needed the reaction of the first movie to even think about having a shot.
“We’re Doing a Sequel,” from Muppets Most Wanted
There’s really no way they can nominate this. Just… the amount of… yeah, no. Because it would be the ultimate self-reflexive choice, but wouldn’t be ironic in any way, which would make it sad. No. This won’t be nominated. I’m telling you, they’re staying away from this. I know they are.
“Mercy Is,” from Noah
Patti Smith wrote this. I assume that makes it very likely for a nomination.
3.5 stars. It’s not bad. It’s a traditional choice for them. So I’m gonna assume this gets on based on that alone.
“Seeds,” from Occupy the Farm
Couldn’t find this one. There’s no way this will be nominated. I don’t need to hear it.
“Grant My Freedom,” from The One I Wrote for You
Heard a 30 second clip on iTunes. It’s from a Christian movie. I automatically throw these out. Let them be nominated. Do not care.
“The One I Wrote for You,” from The One I Wrote for You
Didn’t listen to this one. Do not care. Not being nominated.
“Hal,” from Only Lovers Left Alive
Well this was weird.
I’d be shocked if they went here.
“Shine,” from Paddington
It’s Pharrell and Gwen Stefani. The movie’s not coming out until January. The song hasn’t even been released yet.
Can Harvey really get this on?
“Still I Fly,” from Planes” Fire and Rescue
Guess how far I got before I turned this off?
This is a song that’s on the radio in 2007, not on the Best Original Song list.
“Batucada Familia,” from Rio 2
I told you, they’re staying as far away from this movie as humanly possible.
All of these songs are terrible, by the way.
“Beautiful Creatures,” from Rio 2
“Poisonous Love,” from Rio 2
“What Is Love,” from Rio 2
The only one with a remote chance of making it, but it won’t. They’re not gonna do this. They don’t want to remind you of how fucked this category was three years ago.
“Over Your Shoulder,” from Rudderless
2.5 stars. Not terrible. Won’t be nominated.
“Sing Along,” from Rudderless
There was one song from this movie that was actually decent. I mean, this one’s not bad, but there’s one where, if I was gonna think it had a shot (which I don’t), that’s the one I’d pick from this movie.
Billy Crudup sings this too, which is cool. But no, not happening.
“Stay With You,” from Rudderless
This is the one. This is the fun song from the movie.
Small, outside chance this could make it. But I doubt it.
“Everyone Hides,” from St. Vincent
Can’t find the song, but I found clips in a trailer.
Not gonna be nominated.
“Why Why Why,” from St. Vincent
I found a live version of this.
It’s all right. don’t think they’ll go for it. They could, but who knows?
Also, at this point, why isn’t this online? Doesn’t Harvey need to push this stuff?
“Glory,” from Selma
There’s no way this doesn’t make it, right?
I mean, sight unseen. Or, whatever the aural equivalent to that is.
Oh yeah. I’m listening to it now. I’m 30 seconds in. This shit is in. This is a great song.
And Common? Oh yeah. This is the shit.
I hope this shit wins.
Please have them perform this live.
I’m all in for this one. I was getting despondent of the lack of songs this year. This is the one.
“The Morning,” from A Small Section of the World
Alanis is here too?! There are always surprises when you get here. And you wonder — how did these movies get them? Liza Minnelli is still the number one for this year. Alanis isn’t shocking.
2 stars. Not happening.
“Special,” from Special
It’s a song called Special, from a movie called Special. Could not find this at all. And I doubt this makes it purely because — what the fuck is this movie?
“Gimme Some,” from #Stuck
I’m not allowing a movie with a hashtag to be nominated for an Oscar.
I also couldn’t find the song. Which is another reason.
But no. If this gets nominated, I’m done with this category.
“The Only Thing,” from Third Person
Never gonna happen.
The day the Oscars nominate Moby…
“Battle Cry,” from Transformers: Age of Extinction
This was terrible.
I at least liked the Linkin Park songs. Imagine Dragons? Fuck you.
Never in a million years will this be nominated.
“Miracles,” from Unbroken
This is another one. Are they gonna go for this or not? This is not the obvious choice for a movie like this, and actually makes me worried. Why would you choose Coldplay for a World War II movie? That’s like hiring Taylor Swift to sing a song during a slavery movie.
It’s not… great. It’s typical Coldplay. Will they nominate this? I don’t think so. Especially with the film not being received (apparently) like it was supposed to. I’ll keep them in it, because it’s got power behind it, but… I don’t know if this does anything.
“Summer Nights,” from Under the Electric Sky
2.5 stars. Whatever.
Never gonna be nominated.
“We Will Not Go,” from Virunga
A lot of people are gonna think this has a chance. It’s got that feel to it. You’ll see people throw this on their short list.
I will likely not be one of them. I let stuff like this get on. I don’t waste my time on it.
3 stars. But the song isn’t bad. Maybe this has a shot. I don’t know. I’m not going anywhere near it. Let it get nominated.
“Heavenly Father,” from Wish I Was Here
Well this was pretty shitty.
Not gonna happen.
“So Now What,” from Wish I Was Here
The Shins did a song for a Zach Braff movie.
-100 million stars.
“Long Braid,” from Work Weather Wife
Couldn’t find these last two.
“Moon,” from Work Weather Wife
Not that they’ll be nominated anyway.
– – – – – – – – – –
So that’s everything.
No songs from Into the Woods, because they cut all the new songs from it. In case anyone was wondering.
Anyone else feeling like this is a very shitty year? Because I feel like this was a very shitty year. I don’t really like anything. I feel like I’m coming down to two songs. Maybe three.
My list is down to 12 songs that I think have a shot. Here they are:
- “Opportunity,” from Annie
- “Big Eyes,” from Big Eyes
- “Split the Difference,” from Boyhood
- “Until the End,” from Garnet’s Gold
- “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” from Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me
- “The Last Goodbye,” from The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
- “Yellow Flicker Beat,” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
- “Everything Is Awesome,” from The Lego Movie
- “America for Me,” from A Most Violent Year
- “Mercy Is,” from Noah
- “Glory,” from Selma
- “Miracles,” from Unbroken
And of these twelve — I can’t see Coldplay or Lorde getting on. Everything Is Awesome would be both surprising and not surprising at the same time. Because on a popularity level it gets on. On a songwriting level, it shouldn’t be anywhere near this category.
Opportunity feels like it could easily sneak on.
Big Eyes seems like a possibility. But will they go for Lana?
Boyhood seems like an easy choice. As does Mercy Is. I’m putting Glory on until they leave it off. That song should win.
The Last Goodbye… no idea how that fares.
Can Liza make it on? Probably not.
Glen Campbel… that could be on, or one of those very easily left off. No idea.
America for Me… seems too weird for them..
I have no idea what happens here.
Five songs will make this list. And now we’re gonna see where their tastes are. Since they’re just picking, and whatever gets the most votes is on.
This is only the third year they’ve had the ballot like this. The first year was bad, but easy. Skyfall, the Les Mis song, the Life of Pi song. Ted got on, and the random Chasing Ice song got on. And then last year, super easy. You could have picked four of the five nominees. And the fifth one was rescinded. So that’s that.
This year, there’s hardly anything to like. So I don’t know what the fuck they’re gonna do.
But my vote is all in on the Selma song.
My personal category at this moment in time (based on the songs eligible) would be:
- “Split the Difference,” from Boyhood
- “Until the End,” from Garnet’s Gold
- “The Last Goodbye,” from The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
- “America for Me,” from A Most Violent Year
- “Glory,” from Selma
That’s right. I went with Liza. You can stick with your Lego Movie. Imma stick with Liza.
I now have a month to not think about this category before I blindly guess at it come nominations time.