2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Original Song

Today we’re going over Best Original Song. And the beauty of this category is that everyone can participate in it. You simply just have to listen to 5 songs and then pick which one you think is the best.

It’s weird because there aren’t any real precursors for this category and you’re pretty much just going based on what you think everyone’s tastes are gonna be, and yet almost every single year you pretty much know “Okay, this should win, but in case it doesn’t, this is gonna win instead.” It’s weird how that works out. But then, I guess Academy members are ultimately pretty predictable.

I’m not sure if this is one of the categories affected by the pandemic or if it’s just a weak year in film songs. Either way, we’ve got a pretty forgettable category here that came from a pretty forgettable shortlist. So this is a situation where we’re just gonna do our best and try to get through it.

Best Original Song

“Fight for You,” from Judas and the Black Messiah

“Hear My Voice,” from The Trial of the Chicago 7

“Husavik,” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

“Io Si (Seen),” from The Life Ahead

“Speak Now,” from One Night in Miami

If you’re looking at how this category came to be — these are the only songs that hit any kind of precursor and these were really the five that made the most sense. “Husavik” was the one where maybe you thought, “I don’t know if they’ll go there,” given the film, but there weren’t a whole lot of other options. So in the end we got what seems to be the obvious category and probably the best one. There isn’t really a whole lot to say here.

5. “Husavik,” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga — It’s arguably the most appropriate nominee in the category, but you have to realize… this is a movie that not many people either saw or think very much of. Maybe some people saw it and thought it was cute, but it’s not something most people are gonna look to vote for. The older contingent of the Academy (which is still the majority) will see that title and go, “What the fuck is this?” I can’t see this winning, as much as it would amuse the hell out of me if it did.

4. “Fight for You,” from Judas and the Black Messiah — With this category, there isn’t much actual data to go on, so you really just have to make up your own reasoning based on how you know these things tend to go and what you think is most likely to happen. I know the film is clearly liked, given the Best Picture nomination, but I’m not sure the song has any real traction. I can’t rationalize this past — I don’t think this is gonna win. It’s possible this gets votes because of love for the film, but I see the other three songs having an easier path to a win.

3. “Hear My Voice,” from The Trial of the Chicago 7 — So you could say this is the fourth choice behind ‘Judas’ if you believe in people sweep-voting based solely on film titles, which is never something I’ve seen in this category. But whereas the Judas song isn’t really something most people can recognize instantly… this song feels like it’s kind of out there. It’s been in ads and I feel like I heard it constantly during the Golden Globes. It’s out there and people can recognize it, which is half the battle in this category. Not sure it can win, but it feels like a third choice out of the five.

2. “Io Si (Seen),” from The Life Ahead — It’s Diane Warren, who is always a bridesmaid in this category. There’s been a bit more of a push for her to win in recent years and she’s starting to pick up that Roger Deakins quality where people are just waiting for it to happen. The closest she’s come was probably 2015, with the Lady Gaga song, but she ended up losing to Spectre. And I feel like that’s most likely what’s gonna happen here. Because she’s been nominated six of the past seven years but has no wins to show for it and every time she lost to a higher profile film. I think now we’re at the point where people know it’s her and that will affect some of the voting. But I’m not sure she wins. I’d actually argue this could even be the third choice here. But I think we stick with second, because it at least did win the Globe and people are aware of the song in some form. I just don’t see this being the surefire favorite to win.

1. “Speak Now,” from One Night in Miami — It’s from a high profile movie, from one of the stars of that movie who is also nominated in an acting category and you have the Regina King thing. Picture was apparently a bridge too far for them but they’ll have no problem showing this one love in this category. Plus, it’s by Leslie Odom Jr, who they all love from Hamilton. Even if absolutely no one listens to any song on this list, this feels like the one most likely to get votes from people. Because they’ll know that Odom is playing Sam Cooke and they’ll just assume there was a good song that he song in the movie. I almost don’t see how this doesn’t win, but given the category not having that surefire winner we’ve seen in most recent years, I’m not gonna call it a sure thing. But I still don’t think you can consider anything else the favorite over this going into the ceremony.

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