Oscars 2022: Best Original Song Eligibles

The list is back, baby!

I like to think it’s because somebody listened to me and put it out there for all the Oscar degenerates like me who like to go through and look at every single thing eligible. Honestly, whatever the reason his heart or his shoes, I’m glad it was released. Or leaked. Whichever it is. I don’t care. The world is better when things are out in the open. Secret votes are weird and only create distrust in the system. At least here we can see what kind of good or bad choices were made.

Anyway, for those who don’t remember — this used to be an annual tradition for me (and still is!), looking at all the eligible songs, listening to them as I go through the article and putting them out there for us all to decide which ones we like and which we don’t, to see how good or bad the shortlist ends up being (which — haven’t looked at it at all yet. I decided this article was more important to be done blind, before I know what they chose).

So anyway, here are all 82 eligible songs for Best Original Song this year:

(I did pretty well this year. Found 73 of the 82 songs, and of the 9 I couldn’t find, only 3 are remotely substantial, even though none of the 9 would ever even make a shortlist. So I’m good.)

1. “Time,” from Amsterdam

This didn’t do it for me. I like the incorporation of the score, but overall as a song it’s just kind of ‘ehh’. Which I guess is how most people took in the movie, so I guess that’s fitting.

2. “(There Was Nothing Like a Coffee) At the Automat,” from The Automat

I love everything from Mel Brooks. This is a nice little throwback of a song. Not gonna be something I vote for, but I love that he’s still writing songs in his 90s.

3. “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength),” from Avatar: The Way of Water

This song feels like it was engineered by a computer based on what it thought would hit the most quadrants of people. It’s fine and pleasant enough, but there’s no real artistry here. It’s just kind of… a song. I hope they don’t nominate this. It would seem fitting in the moment, but over time we’d all look back and go, “That wasn’t a very good song at all.”

4. “The Songcord,” from Avatar: The Way of Water

This sounds absolutely lovely. Unfortunately I know how this category works, and I already know the studio has put all its eggs in the Weeknd basket, so this won’t get any consideration whatsoever. Not that I think it should be nominated, but I do think it’s the better of the two songs from this movie.

5. “We’re Gonna Be Good Tonight,” from The Bad Guys

This is the best song so far on this list. Can’t imagine it makes my top five in the end, but this is a fun one.

6. “N’na Duniyaa,” from Beast

Nice little song. Ultimately just okay, though.

7. “Lift Me Up,” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Lovely song. When I heard she was doing a song for the movie, I assumed it would be immediately overrated for a variety of reasons. But no. This song is great. They’re 2/2 on great showcase songs from these movies. So good for them.

8. “Sunny Side Up Summer,” from Bob’s Burgers: The Movie

I love when movies decide to throw in random musical numbers. More of this. Also, this is exactly what this category is about. I’m so happy they submitted this. I’m so happy this is here.

9. “Hot Girl,” from Bodies Bodies Bodies

Never gonna vote for this in a million years, but this song is absolutely perfect for this movie. 10/10 no notes.

10. “(You Make Me Feel Like) Home,” from Bones and All

Even before I clicked play on this video, I knew exactly that this had to be a 100% unironic love song. That’s the only thing this could have been. And I am glad they realized that. If you have a love story about cannibals, you need to make sure your original song is completely sincere. On that level, this is perfect. As a song up for Original Song — it’s okay. I can’t imagine this ends up at the top of my list at the end of all this, but I might say that throughout this entire list and be surprised at the end. So you never know.

11. “We Are All But Men,” from Bootyology

I heard the opening piano and thought, “Am I really gonna like a song from a movie called Bootyology?” And then the lyrics started and I said, “Yeah, that makes sense.” This is the exact formula for one of those ‘forgotten artists gets rediscovered’ documentaries. It is what it is. You’ll either like it or hate it. There’s no in between.

12. “Love Is Not Love,” from Bros

This is a fitting song for the film. Simple, pleasant, inoffensive. But also, just like I felt with the movie — just okay.

13. “La Despedida,” from Bullet Train

This is nice. Never gonna vote for it, but it’s nice.

14. “Count on Me,” from DC League of Super-Pets

What a weird song for a movie about Superman’s dog.

15. “Not Alone,” from Devotion

I actually liked this one.

16. “With You All the Time,” from Don’t Worry Darling

Yes. Technically this is a song.

17. “Brasilia Bella,” from 18½

I gave you both the Portuguese and English versions. They’re both just okay.

18. “Deadly Butterfly,” from 18½

The music portion is awesome. As a song it’s just okay though.

19. “Wonder Bread,” from 18½

Why do the songs in this movie no one’s ever heard of go so hard?

20. “This Is a Life,” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

Somehow we all knew instinctively that David Byrne and Mitski was a universally perfect pairing. This could make the top five for me. Not sure I think it should win, but it’s a lovely little tune.

21. “Heaven,” fro Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

What the fuck is THIS? Why is this a song for a Harry Potter movie? I mean, I’m thrilled by it, but where did this come from? Why have we gotten away from the days where mainstream movies had songs like this? Have we all forgotten that just 25 years ago, a dumb space movie about oil drillers on an asteroid had one of the hardest love ballads of all time as its song? Fucking “How Do I Live” — from CON AIR. Hell, two of the classic winners of this category are love ballads from The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, two songs you wouldn’t figure to have LOVE BALLADS. So yeah, the fact that this is a random ass love song is awesome.

22. “Ciao Papa,” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

This is lovely. Probably wouldn’t vote for it, but not because I dislike it, but because I know I’m gonna have five other songs I end up liking more. But I’ve got no problem with this eventually being nominated at all. This is lovely.

23. “The Hands,” from The Inspection

This is a lovely song.

24. “Kaayam,” from Iravin Nizhal

A.R. Rahman. That dude keeps getting stuff submitted. I mean, why not. Dude won this category and Score and has been nominated five times. Fucking keep going for it. Not a lot of people have that resume.

I kept listening to the beginning of this song, waiting for the beat to drop. I wasn’t disappointed. This song’s awesome.

25. “Unicorn Ni$$az!” from Jacir

Can’t find this, absolutely certain I don’t need to. This will never in a million years get nominated.

26. “Paper Airplanes,” from A Jazzman’s Blues

Absolutely the type of song that belongs on this eligibles list. No issues with this whatsoever.

27. “Karma,” from Kantara: A Legend

This song is nice. Doesn’t do it for me like some others do, but it’s nice.

28. “Varaha Roopam,” from Kantara: A Legend

The instrumental on this song goes so hard.

29. “At the Movies,” from Killing Me Softly with His Songs

30. “On N’aime Qu’une Fois Comme Ca,” from Killing Me Softly with His Songs

31. “Sing a Brand New Song,” from Killing Me Softly with His Songs

Can’t find any of these. Don’t think they’ll be nominated at all.

32. “Feels Like Me,” from Let Me Be Me

Can’t find this, won’t be nominated. All good.

33. “I Know Where I’ve Been,” from Luckiest Girl Alive

This is standard fare ‘end credits’ stuff. Middle of the road.

34. “Carried Away,” from Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Somehow you just knew before you looked that Pasek and Paul wrote these songs. Aside from the fact that it sounds exactly like them (big ‘Greatest Showman’ energy), if you told me “the guys who wrote the songs for La La Land would, within ten years, be writing songs for a singing crocodile, I would 100% have believed that.

Anyway, this song is solid. These guys know how to write a song. That’s not surprising.

35. “Take a Look at Us Now,” from Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile

Javier Bardem singing a show tune is just fucking delightful.

Also, just because my brain is crazy, my first thoughts upon seeing this title were “there are two songs with similar titles from the 80s.” Because there was “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” from Mannequin and “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now).”

Anyway, yeah, this song is nice. Not gonna vote for it because it’s base level for the kind of songs these guys can write, but it’s exactly what belongs here and probably is one of the top 20 songs on this list.

36. “Til You’re Home,” from A Man Called Otto

This song was designed to get shortlisted. You know what it sounds like? The original song they throw into the musical adaptation so they can get nominated. The song where you’re like, “Yeah, this is nice… but it clearly doesn’t belong with the rest of the show.” Still very lovely though and probably something where, if I were picking an entire shortlist (which I’m not doing. I’ll just pick my top five), I’d probably have this on there. It’s nice.

37. “On My Way,” from Marry Me

I think I had a stroke after hearing the first line of this song.

Remember when stuff like “The Way You Look Tonight” was nominated in this category? How did we get here?

38. “Kaivalya Gaan,” from Me Vasantrao

I heard those opening notes and went, “Oh yeah, this is gonna slap.” Every time I hear a good Bollywood song, I think, “Why can’t we make stuff like this here?” And then I realize, if we even tried to do that, it would come across so goddamn racist and be watered down so much that it would be offensive to music. And then I just move along.

39. “Le Chali Tagdeer,” from Me Vasantrao

I’m so curious about the writing process of these movies. Like, do they write the movies around the songs, or do they work the script around where the songs are gonna be? Does someone write a scene and think, “Oh, this moment is gonna produce a banger of a song?” It’s so foreign to me as a film industry, and that’s what makes it so great. It’s so pure, and even as every other film culture gets bastardized by Hollywood, it doesn’t happen there. At its core, Bollywood is still Bollywood. And that’s beautiful.

40. “Ram Ram Lori,” from Me Vasantrao

I’ve done such a 180 on these songs. I used to think “Why do they bother submitting these songs when they know it’s never gonna happen?” But you know what? Fuck it. Shoot your shot. All it takes is one crossover hit (as we’re gonna get to soon enough) and all of a sudden you’re right in the thick of the race, because the worst Bollywood song is better than like, 60% of the shit American movies trot out for original music.

41. “Turn Up the Sunshine,” from Minions: The Rise of Gru

I fucking love that they got Diana Ross for this. This song is awesome as hell. I would legit nominate the hell out of this.

42. “Lift Your Wings,” from My Father’s Dragon

I thought, about ten seconds in, I wasn’t going to like this song. But it won me over. It’s nice.

43. “On the Come Up,” from On the Come Up

The freestyle she cuts in the movie itself is way better than this song.

44. “Quietly Yours,” from Persuasion

Well this song was way better than I expected it to be.

45. “Fearless Hero,” from Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

I was not expecting this number when I watched the film. At all. It’s fun. Never gonna vote for it, but I love the return of the random musical number in film.

46. “La Vida Es Una,” from Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Another one where you hear the first few notes and go, “Oh, this song’s gonna be good.” This is fun as hell. Not a nominee, but an awesome inclusion.

47. “Naatu Naatu,” from RRR

This was such a calculated choice. They deliberately only submitted this song because they knew what a slam dunk they had and didn’t want to dilute that.

Not sure I think this is the best song in the film, but it’s definitely the most memorable. So have at it. I’m excited to see if it can win.

48. “Faith to Carry Me,” from Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story

It fits. Not for me. But it fits.

49. “La Di Da,” from Remember Me: The Mahalia Jackson Story

This is more my speed. Though also still kinda meh.

50. “Ready As I’ll Ever Be,” from The Return of Tanya Tucker, Featuring Brandi Carlile

Why does every song for a documentary ‘rediscovering’ a musical artist sound exactly the same?

51. “Anybody,” from Return to Seoul

Can’t find this. Not worried about it.

52. “Still Holding My Hand,” from Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical

Another funny thing — every time they write a new song for a musical when they adapt it for film, the result is always a ‘slow’ song they put during the down moments in the movie. It feels so safe (and always dooms the song to failure). Someone needs to take a chance. Write a new song and make it a big ass sequence in the movie. Fuck it. Believe in your material. Go for it.

53. “It Hurts,” from Rocketry: The Nambi Effect

Again, you knew that shit from the opening piano notes. This song was written for the Bollywood equivalent of this category. This song goes fucking hard.

54. “Missing Children,” from Saving Ana

I think this is the song?

And let me just say — if it is, fuck yeah. You hear those opening notes and are like, “Oh my god, someone just tried to write a ‘We Are the World’ in 2022.” This shit is so goddamn 80s. Uncompromisingly 80s, as we might say. Good for them. This song is too authentic for this list.

55. “Who Do You Think You Are,” from The School for Good and Evil

Eight years ago this would have been Lana Del Rey singing. Four years ago it would’ve been Florence Welch. And the song probably would’ve been better than this. This sounds like where music is at now. And it’s not for me.

56. “Captain Crow,” from The Sea Beast

You had the opportunity to write a proper sea shanty, and instead you wrote sailor “Gaston.” Come on, guys. Do better.

57. “My Mind & Me,” from Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me

The song itself is admirable. I hope this does exactly as it intends to do for young people going through issues. All that aside — not a chance. It’s not my speed. But good for her, writing it.

58. “Already Gone,” from 1660 Vine

Perfectly adequate song.

59. “Lucky,” from 1660 Vine

I’m morally against the fact that they made a musical about influencers. But at least the songs aren’t as embarrassing as the concept.

60. “Rodanthe,” from 1660 Vine

It’s crazy to think a song this earnest was written for a movie 99.9% of people in the world will never hear about.

61. “Stars in the Sky,” from Sonic the Hedgehog 2

It’s crazy that Kid Cudi is on this list for a song from Sonic the Hedgehog and not THE MOVIE HE FUCKING MADE THIS YEAR.

It’s also funny how the Wreck-It Ralph song became a template for all songs for movies like this. It’s perfectly pleasant, but also… are any of us really gonna nominate this as one of the best original songs of 2022?

62. “You Could Be Anywhere,” from The Sound of Violet

Pleasant, but not memorable.

63. “Do a Little Good,” from Spirited

Of course this is Pasek and Paul.

Also, doesn’t this entire number feel like one big fever dream? Like, if you had a dream of a Christmas movie musical number with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds, you’d wake up and go, “That was fucking bizarre.” There’s no way something like that exists. And yet, here we are.

What’s funny is how the song is perfectly solid, and yet the two people singing it are precisely the wrong people to be singing it. Which feels perfectly suited for this entire film as a whole.

64. “Good Afternoon,” from Spirited

First, it’s funny how they censored the word ‘prick’ in the first song and left ‘shitty’ in for this one. Second — this is an admittedly fun song. In terms of what should be nominated in this category, among the 82 songs on this list, this is in the top ten. So I’m not opposed to it. Would I go there? Probably not. But still, this is the best moment in this film. Which again says a lot about the rest of the film, but that’s beside the point.

65. “Applause,” from Tell It Like a Woman

Oh man. They aren’t even subtle anymore. They put her in the thumbnail and put a giant fucking title card at the beginning like it’s A goddamn Star Is Born. And then they throw her in the video just to tell the branch to vote for this. It’s beyond parody.

They’re gonna nominate this, because Diane Warren could take a shit on a piece of paper and they’ll nominate it. She’s the Susan Lucci of the Oscars. Used to be Randy Newman back in the day, but now it’s her. You’d think, now that everyone knows the deal and anticipates it, they’d back off. But nope. They just keep doing it. Someone needs to just fucking hire her to write a song for a big budget movie so she can finally win one. It’s embarrassing how they’re just nominating her and not the work, because her songs the past decade have been subpar at best.

66. “It Would Be Funny,” from 13: The Musical

Child actors are scary.

67. “Cautionary Tale,” from Three Thousand Years of Longing

Sure.

68. “Stand Up,” from Till

Why must every song from a film about either a moment in Black history or about a notable Black person have a title exactly like this? There was literally a song LAST YEAR from Harriet nominated with the EXACT SAME TITLE. There was a song from Marshall called “Stand Up for Something.” I can’t be the only one noticing this. Something feels very wrong about this.

That said — I like the song. Still… please find a different angle, or at least a title. It’s starting to feel like you’re doing this for a specific purpose, rather than to just write a good song for a movie.

69. “Tomorrow’s Today,” from Tomorrow’s Today

This is fun. This sounds like some shit you’d hear over the speakers in a store.

70. “Hold My Hand,” from Top Gun: Maverick

This song is dope. I love everything about it. No notes. Nominate this yesterday.

71. “A Tree of Life,” from A Tree of Life: The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Oh, they swung for the fences on this one, didn’t they? They got Idina. It’s funny how, if you go through enough of these lists, there’s always one of these every single year. And I feel like I’m one of the only people who ever knows they even exist because I’m one of the only people who actually digs through these lists for songs.

72. “Nobody Like U,” from Turning Red

This is a terrible song. Which is exactly what it’s supposed to be. I can’t hate. (And by ‘terrible’, I mean a song a 12-year-old girl would love. I get it.)

73. “Bharat Mata Ki Jay,” from Tuzhyasathi Kahihi

74. “Grishmat Kasa Vasant Ful La,” from Tuzhyasathi Kahihi

75. “Khota Dev Mazha,” from Tuzhyasathi Kahihi

Can’t find these. This happens every time. They never get close to a nomination.

76. “If You Believe,” from Tyson’s Run

Oh this is 100% a faith-based movie.

77. “Dust and Ash,” from The Voice of Dust and Ash

Oh, hey, J. Ralph is back! Remember when he got nominated three times last decade out of nowhere? I think it’s about to happen again. Also, when the fuck did he start sounding like Leonard Cohen? Did he always sound like that? My god.

I’ll be honest though — this is better than all three of the songs he was previously nominated for. Which probably means it’s a guarantee to get on the way Diane Warren is.

78. “We Are Art,” from We Are Art Through the Eyes of Annalaura

You ever know instantly that a song just is not for you at all? That’s my relationship with this song.

79. “Raising the Dead,” from Wendell & Wild

This song is fun as hell. Love that they submitted it, wish there was more to it so I could think about voting for it.

80. “Carolina,” from Where the Crawdads Sing

I like how they keep trying to get Taylor Swift nominated. One of these years it’ll happen. She’ll keep getting shortlisted for stuff like this and eventually the nomination won’t seem so weird to the people voting. This is all just groundwork being laid.

81. “New Body Rhumba,” from White Noise

You really have to see the totality of this musical number to understand why this is one of the best songs of the year. This ending sequence is fucking perfect. I hope they nominate this song on that alone.

82. “A Sky Like I’ve Never Seen,” from Wildcat

Yeah, there’s one of these every year too. Not for me.

– – – – –

Okay, so based on that, the five songs I would nominate are:

“Hold My Hand,” from Top Gun: Maverick

“Lift Me Up,” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

“New Body Rhumba,” from White Noise

“This Is a Life,” from Everything Everywhere All at Once

“Turn Up the Sunshine,” from Minions: The Rise of Gru

Nothing more to add. These songs are all awesome.

Now for the actual shortlist:

“Time,” from Amsterdam
“Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength),” from Avatar: The Way of Water
“Lift Me Up,” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
“This Is a Life,” from Everything Everywhere All at Once
“Ciao Papa,” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
“Til You’re Home,” from A Man Called Otto
“Naatu Naatu,” from RRR
“My Mind and Me,” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me
“Good Afternoon,” from Spirited
“Applause,” from Tell It Like a Woman
“Stand Up,” from Till
“Hold My Hand,” from Top Gun: Maverick
“Dust & Ash,” from The Voice of Dust and Ash
“Carolina,” from Where the Crawdads Sing
“New Body Rhumba,” from White Noise

First, what’s great about this is that four of my five are here. Which means I have to swap one on for “Turn Up the Sunshine.” Which… I guess I’d say…. hmm… what would I say. Honestly, fuck it — “Good Afternoon.” Why not. The rest are all whatever to me.

Second — I’m not sure they missed a whole lot. This feels largely about as good as they could have done. Sure, I’d have made some swaps. But it’s not like, “Oh my god, they left the Bruce Springsteen song off.” We remember those days. The list is overall weak, but original film songs are on life support at this point. So that’s not surprising.

As for a final category, I think it’s clear that “Lift Me Up,” “Hold My Hand,” “Naatu Naatu” are on. “Ciao Papa” is probably on too. And then you’ve got Diane Warren and J. Ralph. That’s six right there. You know “Time” and “My Mind and Me” have zero chance. “Good Afternoon” and “New Body Rhumba” would shock most people if they got on. Don’t waste your time on Taylor Swift. “This Is a Life” is the kind of shortlisted song that gets on every year and never gets nominated. You think it could because the film’s one of the darlings, but it never gets on. “Til Your Home” won’t make it. That’s just respect for Tom Hanks. “Nothing Is Lost” shouldn’t happen, more than likely. This Avatar doesn’t have the strength of the previous one. It’s an uphill battle for that film to get more than 4 nominations. I can’t see that happening. “Stand Up” is unlike them but not out of the question. So that’s 7 songs. You can pick a category from that. It’s half chance after a certain point anyway.

But yeah, that’s the list of Original Songs for this year. I felt like I needed to get this done before nominations happen. Anyway, back to powering through stuff for Monday.

– – – – – – – – – –

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2 responses

  1. “Dosti” is more integral to RRR than “Naatu Naatu”. Shame it wasn’t submitted:

    January 21, 2023 at 7:00 am

  2. “Sunny Side-Up Summer” is the obligatory “for non-fans of the series” character introduction at the start of The Bob’s Burgers Movie, that any big-screen adaptations of TV shows with some musical numbers would get. It’s fine, but fans of the show probably already know all the information being transmitted in the song.

    This, on the other hand, deserved a fluke “Blame Canada”-like nomination. Fuck Fox (Disney) for only submitting the former and not this one as well:

    January 21, 2023 at 7:08 am

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