Oscars 2015: Best Original Song Eligibles

The day they announce the eligibles for Best Original Song is one of my favorite days of the year. Very few things make me happier than going down the list, finding and listening to all the songs and deciding arbitrarily what will or won’t be nominated. Sure, this paints a very bleak picture of my own sad and lonely existence, but a man has to have a hobby.

The Academy announced today that 74 songs are eligible for inclusion on the Best Original Song category at the Oscars. As I do every year, I will preview as many of them as I can here. At first glance, it seems like more than half the list is filler that has no chance at being nominated, so perhaps this year will be easier to guess than others.

I’m pretty sure we’re now at the point where there are guaranteed to be five nominees, and voters just pick 5 songs and the ones with the most votes based on the system are nominated, but I can’t say that for sure. It’s the Music Branch. They probably came up with some weird system that sucks, because that’s what they do. (Note: I went back and read Academy Rules and Regulations. They get all the clips and pick 5.) I’m gonna operate on the assumption that it’s simple and they’ve at least partially fixed things.

Here are your 74 potential nominees for Best Original Song:

“Happy” from Altered Minds

Meh. Way to kill my excitement, guys. With a ho hum first song that just isn’t particularly good at all. And apparently the movie is a psychological thriller starring Judd Hirsch about a guy who adopted his kids purely so he could conduct experiments on them. Great.

This won’t be nominated, and I give it 2.5 stars out of 5. (By the way, I rate the songs too. Because why not?)

“Home” from Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip

UGH. 1 star. And that’s 15 seconds into the song. Fuck this shit. This is a shitty pop song put through a Chipmunk filter. So either give me the shitty pop song and I can give it a slightly better rating, or give me nothing.

Club music beat + chipmunk = never gonna happen in a million years.

“None Of Them Are You” from Anomalisa

I will confess to having seen this movie and having no idea there was a song in there. That said, I’m very very excited to hear this, because “Little Person,” from Synecdoche New York was a brilliant song. Unfortunately this film doesn’t officially come out for another two and a half weeks, so there was no real point to wait in the hopes of this showing up for me to listen to. I’ll listen to it before nominations.

“Stem To The Rose” from Becoming Bulletproof

So this is what happened to Incubus? I actually saw this documentary, too. This will never get nominated. Just listen to the instrumentation. Does this sound like something they would nominate? 2 stars.

“The Mystery Of Your Gift” from Boychoir

Josh Groban has sung a nominee before — The Polar Express song. He performed at the Oscars with Beyoncé. Though he wrote this one and that other song was written by a legit movie songwriter guy and Alan Silvestri. So not entirely comparable.

As a song — it’s fine. 3 stars. Will it be nominated? Tough to say. 50/50. I’m leaning toward no, but I also am 5 songs into a 74 song list. Let’s see what other shit we have to deal with first.

“I Run” from Chi-Raq

If any song from this movie is gonna be nominated, it’s clearly gonna be this one (he said, remembering what happened with The Muppets four years ago). 3.5 stars. It’s solid. But here’s the thing — every year, a movie like this, with just enough of a profile, will have several songs eligible and everyone will assume one of them will get on (remember The Butler?) and they won’t do it. Maybe it’s racism?

Still, this song is solid, and I’ll put this on my own personal shortlist for potential inclusion.

“Pray 4 My City” from Chi-Raq

Ah, the trailer song. Who wrote this? I doubt it was Nick Cannon. Was it? Academy Award Nick Cannon would be hilarious. Seems too repetitive to be nominated. 3 stars.

“Sit Down For This” from Chi-Raq

Just hearing this song out of context, I can guess when it would be played in the film. Assuming it is at all. 3 stars. It’s fine.

“Strong” from Cinderella

This song lost me with the first three words. “In a perfect storybook…” Once you’re self aware, you’re done. This will not be nominated. This sounds like a song that would show up on the debut album of an American Idol reject. (Don’t even tell me I’m wrong. You know I’m not.) 2.5 stars. At this point I just hear platitudes and formula.

“So Long” from Concussion

3.5 stars. Leon Bridges is awesome. So that’s a good start. Though despite that, there are several things going against this song. First, the movie is shit. (I saw it.) As a contender for awards, it’s shit. And they’re not gonna go for it. Second, this song has nothing to do with the movie or the narrative. I don’t know if that helps it or hurts it, but it’s just kind of there as a song that exists. This doesn’t sound like a song that will be nominated.

“Fighting Stronger” from Creed

3.5 stars. It’s a great song. But is this the version they’re going with for the nomination? It’s 80% instrumental. And it’s so reminiscent of “Gonna Fly Now.” Is that gonna… fly… with the Music Branch?

I’m saying probably not purely because it’s mostly instrumental. The moment in the film is cool, but will the branch go for it?

“Grip” from Creed

Ha ha. No fucking way they nominate this song with the two other options also there. Do you think a branch that includes songwriters and composers who see fit to nominate the shit they nominate are gonna go for this3 stars. It’s all right. But damn, man, if they really vote for this…

“Waiting For My Moment” from Creed

3.5 stars. I like that they’re going with mostly instrumentals with not many lyrics. Will the Academy go for that? Plus again, it’s the fact that it’s so reminiscent of Rocky music.(Also, Academy Award nominee Donald Glover, possibly.) If they’re gonna go with anything from this movie, it’s Fighting Stronger.

“Don’t Look Down” from Danny Collins

And now, this. This should have been in Creed. Unfortunately the only video I could find was in a montage from the film. 3 stars. I’d say 50/50 for a potential nomination. This is the kind of thing they do go for, if they’re feeling it. Imagine Pacino performing this at the Oscars! (No fucking way that happens.)

“Hey Baby Doll” from Danny Collins

Just in case you didn’t get that Al Pacino’s character was based on Neil Diamond in some way. They won’t nominate this purely because it’s “Sweet Caroline.” That said, 3.5 stars. Because it’s very effective in getting you to understand who this man is as a performer and how he’s become stuck in his own greatest hits rather than continuing to grow as an artist. (I’m talking about the character, not Pacino. Though some could potentially argue otherwise.) It’s too simple for them (though watch them vote for it.)

“Dreamsong” from The Diary of a Teenage Girl

2.5 stars. Nah. Not feeling it as a song or a nominee. Feels like a standard song in a lot of these movies. Gonna let it beat me.

“It’s My Turn Now” from Dope

3.5 stars. Great song. Not a fucking chance they nominate it. Because that would be too cool of them. Plus, Creed and Chi-Raq. Why would they go with this when they have those other two movies and songs to go with?

“Ya Rahem, Maula Maula” from Dukhtar

Have you ever seen a Bollywood song nominated for an Oscar? Just skip it. They do.

I also can’t, in good conscience, rate this, because I don’t know enough about this music to do it justice.

“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey

The beat is solid. The song, not so much. 3 stars. No chance. I just can’t believe they’d nominate Fifty Shades of Grey for an Oscar, no matter how much money it made and no matter how hard Universal is pushing for it (and they’re pushing hard for it).

“Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey

2.5 stars. Generic pop bullshit. This could be off a fucking Selena Gomez album and you wouldn’t know. I’ll be ashamed of them if they nominate this.

“Salted Wound” from Fifty Shades of Grey

Oh good, and now Sia’s in the mix. Good luck performing this on the show with that stage fright. 2.5 stars.

One of these songs is gonna be one — I 100% guarantee this — that everyone will guess will be nominated purely because of the profile of the film and the fact that it got nominated at the Globes and because everyone wants to get website clicks, and it they mention it, it’s the trendy thing to do. But it’s just not gonna happen. They do this every year. They equate pop success with nominations. Don’t fall for it.

“Hands Of Love” from Freeheld

3 stars. I’d nominate Miley. But for the Bill Murray Christmas special. Not for this. She strikes me as someone who could write and perform great stuff if she wasn’t so tied down to trying to make pop records the way pop music is made today. That aside — I could see them nominating this. Though this movie was just dead on arrival. That’s a huge strike against it, I’d think. Plus how many people are gonna take Miley Cyrus seriously at this point for a nomination? (If you don’t think biases and politics are involved in this category, you’re insane.)

“See You Again” from Furious Seven

3 stars. When this isn’t nominated, people will consider it a snub. And I’m gonna laugh at that now. What a fucking joke. Academy Award nominee Wiz Khalifa. (That’s not a joke. That’s hilarious, though.) This was #1 in the country for like six weeks! What the fuck is wrong with us as a nation?

This song is GARBAGE. I’m getting to the point of wanting to disown the Music Branch. This being nominated might push me to that edge. The amount of people that are gonna say this will be nominated and give me shit about both saying it’s garbage and that it won’t be nominated…

I’d rather be wrong than say this will be nominated. Listen to this song. It’s shit.

“Brother” from Godspeed: The Story of Page Jones

2.5 stars. Nah. This is hipster coffee shop music. They don’t nominate this.

“As Real As You And Me” from Home

Oh good, Rihanna. 2.5 stars.

This feels like a movie that could sneak a nominee on. This song — long shot, but I’m not throwing it out entirely, because I could see them going for something along these lines.

“Dancing In The Dark” from Home

No. Of the four songs from this movie, this is 4 of 4. Not happening. 2.5 stars.

“Feel The Light” from Home

And Jennifer Lopez. Jesus. I think this movie might actually go 0-3. 2.5 stars.

“Red Balloon” from Home

0-4. Not a chance. This is the catchiest of the four songs, but come on. This isn’t “Happy.” 2.5 stars. What happened to songwriting?

“Two Of A Crime” from Hot Pursuit

I hope we all chuckled appropriately when we saw this. 2 stars.

“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground

This is Lady Gaga writing a Lana Del Rey song. Also, how fucking on the nose is this song? What happened to songwriting? 2.5 stars.

To be fair, Diane Warren did write this. I mean, sure, she hasn’t been nominated, apart from last year, since 2001, but she has been nominated 7 times. So I’m not ruling it out, but come on, guys.

“I’ll See You In My Dreams” from I’ll See You in My Dreams

3 starsPossibly. Doesn’t feel like a strong possibility, but what do I know?

“The Movie About Us” from Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words

Couldn’t find this one. But it’s from a documentary about a movie star. These don’t fare well. Going back about 30 years (which means I can probably go all the way back with the same results), I see only three songs from documentaries ever nominated in this category. And they were from the Glen Campbell doc last year, An Inconvenient Truth, and Chasing Ice. Notice anything? Two “we fucked up the world” message movies, and one movie about a singer, with a song written by a singer, and it’s Alzheimer’s. So no, I don’t think I really need to hear this song in order to guess that there’s a 90% chance they will not nominate it.

“Bhoomiyilenghanumundo” from Jalam

“Koodu Vaykkan” from Jalam

“Pakalppaathi Chaari” from Jalam

“Yaathra Manoradhamerum” from Jalam

I’m just grouping these four together. I found the second one, not the first one, and then stopped there. Bollywood songs. They never nominate these. Nominating the first one ever would be a precedent. Until that precedent is set, I’m skipping these.

“Lost In Love” from Jenny’s Wedding

Is it wrong that I immediately disqualified this song from contention because it’s from a Katherine Heigl movie? I don’t think the Academy is as technical as I am, but I feel like they’ll reach the same conclusion.

to be fair, this is reminiscent of a song that would have been written in the 80s by Lionel Ritchie or someone. So for that, 3 stars. Otherwise, I’m gonna let them nominate this and just be wrong about it.

“True Love Avenue” from Jenny’s Wedding

3 stars. Cute. But they won’t nominate this. Katherine Heigl has never been involved with a movie nominated for an Oscar. I’m betting on the streak.

“Hypnosis” from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet

You think they think about voting for this because of the animation? 2.5 stars. Can’t see this happening at all.

“Juntos (Together)” from McFarland, USA

Just listen to this song — does it sound like they’re gonna nominate it? 3 stars.

“The Light That Never Fails” from Meru

When did it become a rule that all documentaries have to have original songs?

2.5 stars. This is so heavy handed. Please don’t nominate this. (Spoiler alert: They won’t.)

“The Crazy Ones” from Miss You Already

2 stars. This has a shot. Diane Warren wrote this. You have to at least consider it, even though it sounds like hot garbage. (Then again, the Beyond the Lights song got nominated last year.)

“There’s A Place” from Miss You Already

I ruled this song out before I heard a note. Look who performed it. This won’t ever happen. Oh, and 2.5 stars.

“Johanna” from Mortdecai

Did you laugh? Because I laughed.

3 stars. I mean, the song’s fine, but come on. You laughed.

“Little Soldier” from Pan

Didn’t even know this movie had original songs in it. Maybe because I perforated my eardrums when they started singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

2 stars. I’d like to go lower. This sounds terrible. I know I have little faith in the music branch to make good decisions, but I have to figure they won’t go for this. Right?

“Something’s Not Right” from Pan

Nice way to put my feelings of this movie into a song.

2.5 stars. No.

“Paranoid Girl” from Paranoid Girls

Couldn’t find the song. Didn’t look very hard. It’s a Spanish movie. Seems very unlikely to be nominated. I know Motorcycle Diaries won this category 11 years ago, but maybe let’s not dwell so much on that.

“Better When I’m Dancin’” from The Peanuts Movie

This is that bass song singer, right?

3 stars. I mean, sure, it’s catchy, and the movie is high profile. But will they actually nominate this? This seems like a terrible nominee.

“Pink & Blue” from Pink & Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer

Again, didn’t look very hard to find this, but I can’t see this happening at all.

“Flashlight” from Pitch Perfect 2

I can sum up my reaction to seeing the title of this song very succinctly: “Please no.”

Oh, this song. I remember this song from the movie. It sounded like pop bullshit. Guess what it is? Pop bullshit. 2.5 stars. It’s so generic they’ll probably nominate it.

When did pop music become saying the same word over and over again instead of writing lyrics?

“Birds Of A Feather” from Poached

Couldn’t find it. Not feeling like it has much of a chance, but at this point, I don’t even think there are five songs that could be nominated, let alone five songs that I’ve liked. Maybe I spoke too soon about their new voting system about mandating five songs. This list is garbage.

“Still Breathing” from Point Break

I can’t find this with lyrics, but I imagine from the sound of the instrumental that they won’t nominate this. So I think we’re okay.

“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction

2 stars. They wrote a song for the manta ray because they killed one in the movie? Is this like Anchorman when they wrote a song about a shark?

Will they actually nominate this?

“Cold One” from Ricki and the Flash

I mean, yeah, right? You got Meryl performing, it’s the big credits song, You have to at least consider it. 3 stars. At this point, what the hell else do we have?

“Torch” from Rock the Kasbah

“Oh how I’d love to let you touch me slowly.” Pretty sure this was out from that right there. “I’ll be your candy darling girl.” They won’t nominate this.

2.5 stars.

“Someone Like You” from The Rumperbutts

The movie title is unfortunate. The song at least sounds moderately interesting. 3 stars. They won’t nominate this.

“Aankhon Me Samaye Dil” from Salt Bridge

“Bachpana Thaa” from Salt Bridge

“Kanpne Lage Tum” from Salt Bridge

“Kyaa Bataaun Tujhe” from Salt Bridge

“Le Jaaye Jo Door Tumse” from Salt Bridge

“Na Jaane Kitni Door” from Salt Bridge

“Sookha Hi Rang Daalo” from Salt Bridge

Well that was easy. Seven songs I could take off.

“Feels Like Summer” from Shaun the Sheep Movie

4 stars. This song is actually a breath of fresh air from the rest of the shit I just had to sift through. I don’t love it, but it’s a catchy pop tune that reminds me of stuff I heard growing up. At this point I’d want them to nominate it just to avoid some of the other stuff we could get.

“Phenomenal” from Southpaw

This song is not phenomenal.

It’s fine. Eminem can rap when he tries. But he just raps over hooks that other people make for him. Fortunately there aren’t any dated pop culture references here. Though this song lacks the hunger that “Lose Yourself” had. So this won’t ever happen, despite it ascribing to my way of thinking, which (if the gifs were any indication) is to take a second to acknowledge of how awesome you are.

“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre

Remember when I said this wasn’t a particularly outstanding Bond theme for the franchise? Well on this list, this is fucking Sinatra. 4.5 stars.

I might say this should win the category based solely on how shit everything around it is.

“Squeeze Me” from The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water

I like how this is under N.E.R.D. I bet that’s because Pharrell didn’t want his name solo on this movie.

It’s a cute song. 2.5 stars. Don’t think they’d go here, but at this point, what is this category?

“Teamwork” from The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water

2.5 stars. Not gonna happen. Not quite this song, is it?

“Who Can You Trust” from Spy

Is there a chance we have two “Bond” songs nominated in the same category? I doubt it, but I won’t rule it out. 3.5 stars. This is at least a fun song.

“Came To Win” from Sweet Micky for President

It’s a documentary about Pras going to Haiti to run for president. I think. Or helping someone run for president. Whatever. Doubt this song will be nominated, even though I can’t find it.

“Mean Ol’ Moon” from Ted 2

It’s a throwback song. I like that. 3.5 stars. Will they nominate Ted twice? I don’t think MacFarlane gets nominated here, but will that matter? I’ll say maybe.

“Love Was My Alibi” from The Water Diviner

3 stars. I was out the second the singing started. Can’t see this happening.

“Fine On The Outside” from When Marnie Was There

Ghibli always gets songs eligible but never gets nominated. So for that alone, I can’t really treat this as a serious contender as much as I’d like to. Song’s fine. 3.5 stars. But I don’t think they’d do it.

“Simple Song #3” from Youth

3.5 stars. I mean, sure, it’s nice sounding, and the film is classy. I don’t know if I have enough faith in them to nominate this. But what the hell else are they gonna go for? I feel like we have to assume they vote this on until they don’t, yet I also feel a strong gut feeling that they won’t actually nominate it, and we’re all gonna look like assholes for assuming they will.

– – – – – – – – – –

Okay. So that destroyed my faith in music a little bit. Made me a little less happy about having to do this article every year. What happened to songwriting? Wow.

This is the part where I do logistics about what I think has a shot and what doesn’t.

We begin with 74 songs, all above. Right off the top, we eliminate 12:

  • “Ya Rahem, Maula Maula” from Dukhtar
  • “Aankhon Me Samaye Dil” from Salt Bridge
  • “Bachpana Thaa” from Salt Bridge
  • “Kanpne Lage Tum” from Salt Bridge
  • “Kyaa Bataaun Tujhe” from Salt Bridge
  • “Le Jaaye Jo Door Tumse” from Salt Bridge
  • “Na Jaane Kitni Door” from Salt Bridge
  • “Sookha Hi Rang Daalo” from Salt Bridge
  • “Bhoomiyilenghanumundo” from Jalam
  • “Koodu Vaykkan” from Jalam
  • “Pakalppaathi Chaari” from Jalam
  • “Yaathra Manoradhamerum” from Jalam

This should be self-explanatory.

Now, I’m going to go through and eliminate others that seem like they’re just not at all what they go for. I mean the really obvious ones. You’ll see what I mean.

  • “Home” from Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip
  • “Stem To The Rose” from Becoming Bulletproof
  • “Two Of A Crime” from Hot Pursuit
  • “Juntos (Together)” from McFarland, USA
  • “It’s My Turn Now” from Dope
  • “Brother” from Godspeed: The Story of Page Jones
  • “There’s A Place” from Miss You Already
  • “Johanna” from Mortdecai
  • “Still Breathing” from Point Break
  • “Torch” from Rock the Kasbah
  • “Phenomenal” from Southpaw

They just don’t feel like things the branch goes for, and I feel comfortable tossing these off and not thinking twice. Seeing one of these nominated and being wrong won’t make me feel like I fucked up in guessing. It’ll make me go, “Oh, well, couldn’t have gotten that one.”

So right now, we’re down to 51 songs left on our list.

This next group is songs I consider to be very unlikely but won’t rule totally out entirely because the music branch is fucking crazy:

  • “Strong” from Cinderella
  • “Grip” from Creed
  • “Dreamsong” from The Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • “Happy” from Altered Minds
  • “Lost In Love” from Jenny’s Wedding
  • “Red Balloon” from Home
  • “True Love Avenue” from Jenny’s Wedding
  • “Hypnosis” from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet
  • “The Light That Never Fails” from Meru
  • “Little Soldier” from Pan
  • “Something’s Not Right” from Pan
  • “Someone Like You” from The Rumperbutts
  • “Squeeze Me” from The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water
  • “Teamwork” from The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge out of Water
  • “Fine On The Outside” from When Marnie Was There
  • “Love Was My Alibi” from The Water Diviner

Sure they could be nominated, but I don’t think they will. Most of these, if they get nominated, I’ll shrug and go, “Okay, music branch.” Maybe I’d have a moment’s hesitation about the documentaries, and not giving them another listen, but otherwise, I feel like they’re not the right sound and message for what they go for here. (I will admit to feeling bad about tossing the Marnie song on here, but honestly, I have no precedent to say it would happen other than my wanting to for the sake of the film. So let’s just cut it loose and be happy if it gets on.

That’s another 16 off, bringing us down to 35 songs.

Now for the ones I haven’t heard, so to me they’re complete wild cards. Though generally speaking, they don’t immediately strike me as songs that have potential.

  1. “The Movie About Us” from Ingrid Bergman – In Her Own Words
  2. “Paranoid Girl” from Paranoid Girls
  3. “Pink & Blue” from Pink & Blue: Colors of Hereditary Cancer
  4. “Birds Of A Feather” from Poached
  5. “Came To Win” from Sweet Micky for President

Now we’re down to 30. That’s manageable.

I’m going to split this into two groups of 15. First group are ones that I think are unlikely to be nominated, but theoretically could for reasons I’ll state.

  1. “Hey Baby Doll” from Danny Collins — Reasons against: likely too simple. It’s basically Sweet Caroline. Reasons for: It’s basically Sweet Caroline.
  2. “The Mystery Of Your Gift” from Boychoir — I guess it could. Of the 15, this is in the upper echelon of the 15. Probably #16 or #17 on my total list. Seeing this nominated wouldn’t shock me, and would feel in line with something they’d do. Still, I feel like this is one of those that’s more unlikely than likely, so I’ll put it here and let it get on.
  3. “Flashlight” from Pitch Perfect 2 — listen to the song. They shouldn’t nominate this. I should have put this in a lower tier. But this movie made a shit ton of money, so I have to keep it in the conversation. But this is probably #30 or #29 on this list. I’m not even considering guessing this for a nomination.
  4. “Who Can You Trust” from Spy — It’s a faux Bond theme when there’s an actual Bond theme on this list. Seems unlikely they’d go there. Easier to rule it out and let it get on and surprise me. But to see this get on and not the Bond song would really throw me for a loop. (Alongside, okay, fine. But instead of — that would shock me.)
  5. “Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground — Listen to it. Does it sound any good? That’s why it’s only here. That said, Diane Warren wrote it, so you have to consider it a possibility. The way I’m doing this list is to tell you not only how I tend to vote for things, but also to give you a general sense of how to look at these songs. It’s a knowledgeability thing. When the nominations come out, and this gets on there, you at least know, “Well, it was Diane Warren, and it was from the rape documentary,” and you can sound like you know what you’re talking about and at least had this on your general radar, even if you didn’t necessarily guess it. Which is better than most people, who will see it and go, “What the hell is this?” and either skip it or only look up what it is then to see what it is. So I think this is in the realm of possibility, but the lyrics are too on the nose and Lady Gaga — I don’t know. I’d let it get on and not guess it, personally.
  6. “The Crazy Ones” from Miss You Already — Again, Diane Warren. Has to be in the conversation. But even more so than the previous song… does it sound like a nominee? Actually, it probably does, doesn’t it. This is also in that #16 range. Sure Diane Warren commands respect in the list stage — she’s only been nominated once in 14 years, and that song last year wasn’t great. I’m gonna say no for now. But if I see her get on for this, then I know this is just as corrupt as the documentary branch and we have to take politics into account from now on.
  7. “As Real As You And Me” from Home — This seems most likely of the Home nominees. But all rappers and pop producers wrote the music for this. I don’t see them jumping up and nominating it. But of all the ones from this movie, this is probably the one
  8. “Dancing In The Dark” from Home — Really? It’s a fun pop song from an animated movie. They nominate these. Though usually they nominate better stuff. And honestly, outside of the Rio disaster that made them change the rules, there haven’t been any subpar pop songs (or rather, ones of this ilk. Since I’d consider Everything Is Awesome as subpar) in the category. And even with Rio, they still don’t usually go here. So no, I don’t actually think this has a shot at all. Any of these.
  9. “Feel The Light” from Home — I just talked myself out of all four of these songs. So I don’t even need to say anything here except that Jennifer Lopez sang this song.
  10. “Don’t Look Down” from Danny Collins — It’s that kind of song that sounds like it has all the tools. It was written by a guy who has written a lot of songs for movies before, and the guy who brought us “Walk the Dinosaur.” So it’s got that going for it. Though here are the things against it: no “musician” version of this song. Usually in these cases, you have the actor performing the song in the movie and the writer performing the actual version. Remember Crazy Heart? That song, Bridges and Colin Farrell do in the movie, but Ryan Bingham sings the version you can nominate. Here, we only have the Pacino version and no other one. So this seems very unlikely they’d ever nominate this.
  11. “Sit Down For This” from Chi-Raq — when a movie has more than one potential nominee, especially three or more… they are going to play favorites. They just are. And when it’s not Disney, or a musical (I know this is a musical, but you know what I mean), they’re going to push one song over the others. It’s a bad example, but Frozen. They only submitted one song for the Oscar, but when it came down to it, did you think they were gonna push any song other than Let It Go? So you have to not overdo yourself and keep all the nominees from one movie on your potentials list unless it’s something like Dreamgirls and it can actually happen. So of the three songs from this movie, this is clearly the lesser of the group and you have to take it off. Don’t burden yourself with unnecessary potential nominees.
  12. “Salted Wound” from Fifty Shades of Grey — Same thing I said up there. Sure, they’re gonna push the shit out of this movie, but it won’t be this song. It’ll be the other two, if it’s anything. So don’t burden yourself with it when you don’t need to.
  13. “I’ll See You In My Dreams” from I’ll See You in My Dreams — It’s simple, it’s catchy enough. But I don’t think they know enough about this movie to even bother with this. Maybe this is like #18 or #19, but I’m not gonna waste time pretending like this will make my final five. I’ll just let it get on and go, “Oh, okay. They went there.” And I think you should do the same.
  14. “Waiting For My Moment” from Creed — Creed has three songs. One that won’t happen, one that maybe could, but it’s very unlikely, and one that should be discussed. This is the middle one. A lot of this song is hip hop beats, vaguely Rocky sounding flourishes, a chorus, and then rapping. Very unlikely they actually go for this. It probably doesn’t even need to be this high on the list, but fuck it.
  15. “So Long” from Concussion — mostly the positives here are that I like Leon Bridges. And that if they do give a little shit about this movie, this could be a category to nominate it. But I don’t think they do or will give a shit about this movie, so there’s really not a whole lot of reason to think this has a shot. It doesn’t even sound like a song from a movie. What does “So Long” have to do with a movie about concussions?

Okay, so that’s another 15. Now we have the final 15, which I think will likely contain 4 of the 5 nominees, if not all 5. I will likely be wrong about this, as I always am, and because — the music branch. At this point, I feel confident I can have 4 of 5 be from this list (3 at minimum for sure) and then the other one be somewhere on the 15 below this.

Anyway, here we are. I’ll try to even eliminate as I go until I get to a category that I might potentially guess next month:

15. “None Of Them Are You” from Anomalisa — It’s the only one I haven’t heard. I can’t say it will or won’t be nominated until I hear it. I’ll keep it in the 15 for now just because in a month, this will be something I’ll have heard and will have a different opinion on it. It might even drop lower. So who knows. Right now, we’ll keep in the conversation because it feels like it might be in this ara.

14. “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey — I just don’t think they’re gonna go for it, no matter how much Universal is campaigning for these songs. I still think they’re going for the other song over this one. So I’ll keep it in the general mix, but I don’t think I’d go near actually guessing this for a nomination.

13. “Hands Of Love” from Freeheld — This could be this year’s “Grateful.” Though the lack of awareness of the movie, and the potential divisiveness on Miley Cyrus (she did co-write it. Along with Linda Perry) could hurt this. I’d say this stands a fair chance, but remain steadfast in my belief that it is ultimately a long shot.

12. “Better When I’m Dancin’” from The Peanuts Movie — The movie has awareness, and that helps it. And it’s catchy. But they don’t seem to go for these types of songs lately, and I think these types of songs need to either have something to do with the plot or cross over into the mainstream. I think this is a red herring. Could get on, but I’m thinking not.

11. “Pray 4 My City” from Chi-Raq — This doesn’t seem like the one from this movie they’d push, then again, this could be a two-hander situation. I very much see this as a potential nominee, and I think there are really 11 solid possible songs, at this point, to consider. I don’t think there’s enough here for them to go for it (though this would make for a fun live performance)

10. “Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey — I don’t even think it should be this high. But they’re campaigning like hell for this to get on, and I have to respect the corruption factor. I still say this won’t get nominated and is a giant red herring. I will keep it here for now, but I think the fact that they could buy this a nomination is a joke, because the song isn’t very good. I’d actually vote for the two songs below this over this to be nominated. But they’re trying, so we’ll keep it here.

— From here on out, I think we’re in that realm of, “Oh yeah, this can really happen.”

9. “See You Again” from Furious Seven — I think this is the one everyone will guess that won’t actually make it on. I could be wrong, and I’d be okay with that, but what is this song? A decent hook, and lyrics that are terrible.

“I know we loved to hit the road and laugh /  But something told me that it wouldn’t last / Had to switch up / Look at things different, see the bigger picture / Those were the days / Hard work forever pays / Now I see you in a better place”

What? Go ahead and guess this all you want. I don’t think the music branch is gonna touch this. I think they’re gonna say, “Is this that fucking song on the radio?” (Note: I don’t listen to the radio, I just hear that they play it all the time.) At least the Pharrell song you hated because it was so goddamn catch and you heard it fucking nonstop.

To see this nominated would be sadly appropriate for the world we live in — a song that’s not very deep at all that’s pretending to be and is a superficial tribute for an actor most people didn’t really like and openly mocked for not being able to act until he died and then it became trendy to honor him. (Let’s be honest, that’s what it is.) Nothing against the tribute, the song’s just not very good.

8. “Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction — J. Ralph got nominated for Chasing Ice. And that was in the first category after they changed the rules to this new format. So don’t rule him out. Maybe I’m putting him too high, but they sneak shit like this on all the time. And this is message documentary. It probably won’t happen, but goddamnit, if it does, I was on top of this shit first.

7. “Mean Ol’ Moon” from Ted 2 — MacFarlane got nominated before. Not sure how much of that was because he was hosting and how much was because they liked the song. But it’s a classy, throwback kind of tune. They could go for it. I won’t assume they will, but I will consider it.

6. “Fighting Stronger” from Creed — I could easily see this on. Then again, I could even more easily see this not on. It’s mostly instrumental, and I feel like that will hurt it with them. I actually would take my chances not selecting this because it feels too much like one you’d guess because you think you have that won’t actually make it on.

5. “Cold One” from Ricki and the Flash — God, this sounds just like them. The movie’s getting no play and I could be deluding myself. But Jenny Lewis did cowrite this. This is one of those, I’d rather have it and be wrong than not have it and miss it.

 

4. “Feels Like Summer” from Shaun the Sheep Movie — I got nothing else. It’s catchy, and it feels like the type of song they’d go for. So sure.

3. “I Run” from Chi-Raq — It’s a power ballad from a musical, by Jennifer Hudson. I’m pretty sure that if they don’t nominate this, people will figure they will. I feel safe guessing this. Objectively, are there a lot of songs on this list that sound as good or better than this? I know that’s a subjective question, but still. This feels like a solid nominee as far as I can tell.

2. “Simple Song #3” from Youth — Because there’s so little else, I’m going to assume they will nominate this until they don’t.

1. “Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre — at this point, if they didn’t nominate this, I’d be shocked. Because not many songs sounded as good as this did. I know Bond doesn’t have a rich history in the category, but we’re in a new era now. At this point, I have to probably even vote for this song to win, because the rest of the eligibles list is such garbage.

– – – – – – – – – – –

So that’s what I have for Original Song. I’ll revisit this next month before nominations to see if anything has changed for me and to listen to the ones I haven’t heard yet.

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3 responses

  1. Listened to “As Real As You And Me” did not expect it to be so dark

    December 12, 2015 at 10:59 am

  2. I like the instrumental of “Writing’s On the Wall” quite a bit. I just don’t like Sam Smith’s rendition of it at all.

    December 12, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    • Agreed. Sam Smith is one of the singers with a technically-perfect voice, but is just so reluctant to incorporate some messiness to truly bring his songs to life. His songs bore me, but his collaborations with Disclosure (“Latch”) and Naughty Dog (“La La La”) are interesting and he sounds alive.

      The instrumentation behind Spectre is solid, but pales in comparison to the rest of the Bond theme pantheon. For one, the utter lack of non-piano percussion is almost a deal-breaker for me. All the other Bond, even the quiet ones, have nicely-paced drum bits. The lack of any drums in “Writing’s On The Wall” really drags the song for me. I mean, restraint is cool and all, but Bond themes work better and are more fun to listen to when they go over the top (which is why I actually consider “Who Can You Trust”, the Bond-esque theme song for the surprisingly-hilarious Spy, a better Bond theme than this year’s actual Bond theme).

      That, combined with Sam Smith’s technically-perfect-but-emotionally-tedious performance, make it an all-time bottom 5 Bond theme for me. I wasn’t that surprised, after listening to the song for the first time at the end of this past September, that people were largely unimpressed with the song.

      But for this year, it should definitely still be nominated because most of the 74-song eligibles list is crap (and I’m an apologist for “Feels Like Summer” from Shaun The Sheep, which—as a song written to be an important part of its film—is my pick for the best original film song of 2015). And even though I’m not the biggest fan of the song, Bond themes have been underrated and gone unnoticed by the Academy over the course of the entire franchise, so I’m glad they’re finally going for them as staple Best Original Song nominees from now on. I’d be completely fine if “Writing’s On The Wall” ended up winning the Oscar.

      December 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm

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