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Oscars 2018: Best Original Song Shortlist

Okay, your final shortlist, and the one that hurts the most.

Do you know how much I loved going through all 90-some-odd Original Song eligibles each year and working my way through them? At least give me the full list before you reduce it to 15! Where’s the fun in this?!

Now I just have 15, and it’s gonna be really obvious what the major contenders are, and we’re all working off a curve, and it’s so much easier. Where’s the skill in guessing this? Man, they are fucking up, all in the name of… I don’t even know what.

There were 90 songs eligible this year, and they deprived us of 75 of them before we had a chance to find out. (Disgusting.) I can’t even sit there and do the votes and figure things out, and have fun with it. Now it’s just boring. Thanks, Academy.

Here is your shortlist for Best Original Song:

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

As amusing as this song is, and as great as it is in the moment, I have a hard time thinking they actually nominate it. I’d love it, but that feels unlikely. Especially since I feel like this category will already be 60% full on gimmes before we get to the rest of the spots.

I’d put this top ten, but I don’t know if this makes the final list. But let’s see what else we have. You never know.

“Treasure,” from Beautiful Boy

Huh? Who is Sampha? This seems out of place for them. Especially since I already saw they only went one Star Is Born song (which is ultimately better for the film, but still). Weird choice.

It’s not even that interesting a song? This would be bottom five for me automatically and probably my least likely contender by the time we get finished.

“All the Stars,” from Black Panther

This has to be considered a legit contender because Black Panther is the jerk off movie of the year. They’re all gonna nominate it everywhere because they think it makes them seem young and hip. And who knows, by the time we get to the end, this may be legitimately one of the best songs on this list. Their tests tend to be weird.

It’s not a bad song. Just sounds like a decent song you’d hear on the radio. I’m not really sure what it has to do with the film, but I don’t know what their criteria are anymore for this. My guess is this ends up in the top seven by sheer fact that it’ll get votes. But we’ll see.

“Revelation,” from Boy Erased

This got a Globe nomination, I’m pretty sure. Which means nothing, but is worth noting. I think Black Panther also did. But whatever. I’m going based on the songs themselves.

This is the kind of song I’d hear each year and go, “That’s not very good,” and assume they won’t nominate it because I have to think most people feel the same way. I could be wrong, but this seems like I’d put it hovering around that 9-11 mark. Maybe even slightly lower. 12 feels like it could be right. Let’s see where we end up. My gut says this won’t be nominated.

“Girl In The Movies,” from Dumplin’

It’s fucking Dolly. They may nominate her on principle. She got on for Transamerica. This is a major contender. Top 8 before she even starts singing. (I’m typing this as I listen, by the way.)

Though if we’re just going on my gut (and typically that is what works for me)… I feel like this doesn’t end up on the list. I feel like this is the red herring I follow each year that they leave off.

Still, it’s a good song. I wouldn’t be totally against this, if it made it.

“We Won’t Move,” from The Hate U Give

Is Common gonna be on this? He seems like a staple on songs like this in recent years. Plus he’s in the movie.

This song doesn’t sound like it’ll be for them. It’s an anthem though. You can’t totally rule it out, but this doesn’t strike me as their speed. Unless Diane Warren wrote it. Then it’ll probably be nominated. But I’m pretty sure she’s coming up in a bit.

“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” from Mary Poppins Returns

It’s Mary Poppins. This is on until it’s not. Don’t fuck around. You put them both on and wait to be wrong. You should know the drill by now.

This is exactly the reason this category exists. Songs like this. It’s not the greatest song ever, but it works. I feel like it’s too fast. But maybe that’s just me.

“Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” from Mary Poppins Returns

This is the “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” of this sequel. And it’s the one that should be nominated regardless of what happens to the other song. This is the showstopper number in the film, and is the reason this category exists. This is top two. Literally the only reason it’s not #1 is because we already know what’s winning this year. Also, think about them performing this — they’re gonna nominate it.

As a song, it’s long, they built in a rap for Lin-Manuel, the lyrics are… are there lyrics? It shouldn’t win, but it’ll be right at home being nominated and losing to the eventual winner. I feel like this one will be adjudicated properly in the end.

“Keep Reachin’,” from Quincy

It’s Quincy Jones and Mark Ronson. I get it. Will they nominate it? Doubtful, but anything’s possible. Why doubtful? Because does this feel like them?

That said, this is fun as hell. Not sure I’d put this in my top five, but this is way more interesting than that first Mary Poppins song. But as a nominee in this category, I’m not really sure it makes any sense whatsoever.

“I’ll Fight,” from RBG

And here’s Diane Warren… with a song from a Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary, sung by Jennifer Hudson.

I am not gonna be caught with this off my list. This is 100% on my final category guess, and I’m locking that in right now.

This is also the kind of anthem they go for. Why would you not think this is gonna be on until it isn’t?

This is the kind of song I’m fine with, would rate like fourth in a final category, but be totally cool with. I’m good with this.

“A Place Called Slaughter Race,” from Ralph Breaks the Internet

It’s definitely a fun song. Amusing inside the film. Would they nominate this? A song that’s a parody of Disney princess songs? My instinct says no, but I can’t entirely rule it out either.

“OYAHYTT,” from Sorry to Bother You

I saw this on the list and secretly said, “Please, please don’t let this be what he sings at Armie Hammer’s party.”

But oh, this is the song in the trailer. I had no idea it was original for the movie. That’s awesome. This song actually epitomizes the movie for me. So I’m not against it if they nominated this. They won’t, but I really like this. And Lakeith gets a verse, which is sweet.

“Shallow,” from A Star Is Born

This is the winner of the category. We all know this. It will win, and it should win. What more needs to be said?

“Suspirium,” from Suspiria

A HA HA HA holy shit. Imagine this being nominated.

This is one of those, I’m not even gonna allow myself to think it’s even a possibility. No fucking way.

Let me say though — I would LOVE it. LOVE IT. But I’d also never allow my hopes to be raised. So, for me, it’s not getting nominated, and the minute it is, I’m gonna shit. Because this song is awesome. And also, Academy Award nominee Thom Yorke.

Which would also then mean that two members of the band Radiohead would be Academy Award nominees.

I’m still laughing as I type this.

Oh my god, imagine that actually happening.

“The Big Unknown,” from Widows

Oh, what, Sade sings this? I had no clue. And that’s awesome.

I didn’t even know this was a song. I’m excited to hear what it is.

Oh, this isn’t bad. Not a chance they nominate it, but it’s a pretty good song.

– – – – – – – – – –

Okay, so those are your 15 songs. What a letdown. I wanted 90!

Anyway, here’s my ranking of all 15, based on what I heard. That is to say, how I personally liked all the songs.

15. “Treasure,” from Beautiful Boy
14. “Revelation,” from Boy Erased
13. “We Won’t Move,” from The Hate U Give
12. “Keep Reachin’,” from Quincy
11. “A Place Called Slaughter Race,” from Ralph Breaks the Internet
10. “The Big Unknown,” from Widows
9. “Girl In The Movies,” from Dumplin’
8. “All the Stars,” from Black Panther
7. “I’ll Fight,” from RBG
6. “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” from Mary Poppins Returns
5. “OYAHYTT,” from Sorry to Bother You
4. “Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” from Mary Poppins Returns
3. “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
2. “Suspirium,” from Suspiria
1. “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born

That’s just me. Which means my category, by default, would be:

“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

“Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” from Mary Poppins Returns

“OYAHYTT,” from Sorry to Bother You

“Shallow,” from A Star Is Born

“Suspirium,” from Suspiria

I mean, if I were quibbling, and thinking about the point of the category, I might swap on the RBG song or the second Poppins song, but I’m fine. I like all these. I know the Sorry to Bother You song probably shouldn’t be nominated, but who cares. They nominate nonsense all the time. This is purely subjective anyway. This next part is the only one that matters.

– – – – – – – – – –

Here’s how I think the shortlisted songs rank in terms of likelihood of being nominated:

15. “Treasure,” from Beautiful Boy

14. “Keep Reachin’,” from Quincy

13. “Revelation,” from Boy Erased

12. “OYAHYTT,” from Sorry to Bother You

11. “The Big Unknown,” from Widows

10. “We Won’t Move,” from The Hate U Give

9. “Suspirium,” from Suspiria

8. “A Place Called Slaughter Race,” from Ralph Breaks the Internet

7. “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

6. “Girl In The Movies,” from Dumplin’

5. “All the Stars,” from Black Panther

4. “I’ll Fight,” from RBG

3. “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” from Mary Poppins Returns

2. “Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” from Mary Poppins Returns

1. “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born

That’s based on nothing, really, but how I feel they’ve voted since I’ve been looking at these things.

I feel like 11-15 we should all agree on. The other ten are negotiable.

1-4 we should all leave on until otherwise noted. How can you not figure 1-3 are all on (how you gonna split those two songs? There’s no way to pick one without the other because there’s no real way to say one is more likely to be nominated over the other)? #4, okay, maybe you think they won’t nominate it. But Diane Warren has nine Oscar nominations and three since 2014. A nomination here is four in five years. Hard to ignore that.

So that leaves one spot and probably four potential songs fighting for it. My cynical nature says Black Panther gets on. Would I go there? No, but that’s not what this part of the article is for. This is objectivity.

I’d say, for me — Black Panther, Dumplin’, Buster Scruggs, and pick one more. I’m not sure Ralph really makes it. Suspiria, I can’t see it as much as I’d love it. Maybe I’d say The Hate U Give just because I wouldn’t wanna be caught not having it. But honestly, I think those three are the ones.

Honestly, I think they do three of the four I’ve already said, and if they leave a Mary Poppins song off, then they can get on Black Panther and Dolly. I feel like Buster Scruggs doesn’t get on in almost any scenario, but it’s in that conversation.

Truly, I think you guess either Black Panther or Dolly as the first alternate, and then put that one on your list.

So right now, this is my guess of the final category.

“All the Stars,” from Black Panther

“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” from Mary Poppins Returns

“Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” from Mary Poppins Returns

“I’ll Fight,” from RBG

“Shallow,” from A Star Is Born

Seems kind of easy, right?

Probably too easy to be true, with this branch. We have a month to figure it out.

That’s your final shortlist. I’m back to year-end stuff tomorrow. We’re downhill on 2018, folks.

– – – – – – – – – – –

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