Wednesday, January 02, 2008

State of 2008's Original Song Nominations & My Predictions

"For those of you keeping score: Martin Scorsese Zero Oscars;Three 6 Mafia, One Oscar." -- Jon Stewart, 2006 Academy Award Show.

2006 sticks out to me as a year when the original song category was odd & boring. Winning song, "It's Hard Out There for A Pimp," by Three 6 Mafia (from the film Hustle & Flow), probably was the best song, lined up next to Travelin' Thru by Dolly Parton from the movie Transamerica, and "In the Deep" from Crash.

2007 saw 3 of the 5 nominations in the original song category snatched up by the movie Dreamgirls. Yet, when all was said and done Melissa Ethridge won for "I Need To Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth. It's really too bad, Dreamgirls really deserved a win in this category.

Yet this year seems rich with original music, and it it'll be interesting to see which of the 59 eligible songs ends up scoring a nomination, it seems likely that in this stronger year that there will be five unique films nominated here. And many of the potential song nods come from songs people are more apt to embrace and actually care about.

Although I have received some criticism for my assessment of the movie Once, I think many film watchers will passionately hope that “Falling Slowly” will get nominated and go on to win the award. (Even though the Golden Globe song nominees excluded this song).

My wife will certainly be hopeful that any or all of the eligible songs get nominated from the movie Enchanted (“Happy Working Song”, “That’s How You Know”, “So Close”). Globe chose "That's How You Know", but each of these songs score high on my list, so no complaints if any of them receive nominations.

As far as eligible music from Screen Musicals goes, Hairspray has one potential in “Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)." While Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd did not add any original song scores and so has no eligible songs in this category.

Once, Enchanted, Hairspray, & Sweeney Todd were not the only films in 2007 to tie in music directly into their plots. Other potential nominees could be from the movies August Rush, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Music and Lyrics. "Walk Hard" got some Golden Globe love, but I'm not sure that same love will carry over to the Academy music branch.

Eddie Veder (Pearl Jam front man) has an excellent shot at a nod with a well respected song score for Into The Wild. The Hollywood Foreign Press already gave a nomination for the song "Guaranteed," while two other songs "Rise" and "Society" are also eligible from Into The Wild.

Another well received song with an excellent nomination chance is the song "Grace is Gone" from the Sundance Film Festival hit with the same name. The music to "Grace is Gone" is written by Academy favorite Clint Eastwood (lyrics by 6 time nominee Carole Bayer Sager, and performance by the talented Jamie Cullum).

Another song worth mentioning is a song Golden Globe also chose to nominate Shakira for "Despedida" which appeared in Love in The Time of Cholera.

All in all, there are 59 eligible songs, and according to the press release on January 15 voting members of the music branch will screen clips featuring each song in random order. Honestly, I'd love to be there, and watch all those gotta admit, seeing those in random order has got to be a little strange.

Who will end up with the academy nominations? Awards like this can be very unpredictable. I could easily see Aimee Mann mentioned for “At the Edge of the World” from Arctic Tale. If there's a strong American Gangster push "Do You Feel Me" could get in (from 6-time nominee Diane Warren). And I certainly wouldn't even mind seeing Michael Giacchino get nominated for the song "La Festin'" for Ratatouille.

My Current Prediction for the 80th Academy Award nominations for best Original Song this year would be...

That's How You Know - Enchanted
Grace is Gone - Grace is Gone
Come So Far (Got So Far to Go) - Hairspray
Guaranteed - Into The Wild
Falling Slowly - Once

(Also since Jon Stewart's comment in 2006, the score is now tied: "Three 6 Mafia, One Oscar; Martin Scorsese, One Oscar.")
With musicals back on the rise it will be interesting to see where film and song go from here. Popular rock music has influenced countless movie soundtracks and the songs have had an impact on the rock music charts with no signs of stopping. Check out the history of rock music and see if you can predict what's to come next.


Fox said...

What about *Sweeny Todd* songs? Are they ineligible b/c they were previously written?

I hope at least one *Once* song is chosen. I also like that *Enchanted* song, but I prefer the "Happy Working Song".

RC said...

@ fox, i agree...i prefer happy working song too...but at this point That's How You Know seems like the popular enchanted choice.

As far as Sweeney Todd, it is my understanding that none of the songs were original, but the music and lyrics all previously appeared in the original musical.

jasdye said...

yes, sweeny todd shouldn't qualify (but we know that the academy likes to bend its own rules and can be kind of switchy. no, wait. i'm thinking of the recording academy.). my wife, remarkably, wants to see it, even though she can't stand the sight of needles or blood. musicals, eh?

and i also would like to see "happy working song" nominated.

as far as "once", my local bluckbuster doesn't seem to carry it. though they do a host of less popular movies.


Anonymous said...

I think Once's "Falling Slowly" is a slam dunk for the Oscar. At one point I thought Eddie Vedder had it in the bag but I've since changed my mind. Once's shut out in the Golden Globes nominations makes no sense to me at all. There will be a push for one of the parody songs from WALK HARD too, but I think "PoP! Goes My Heart" from MUSIC & LYRICS deserves the "parody" song nomination, if any— and it would be fun to see Hugh Grant perform it on the show. Generally speaking I've always thought best song should have been retired as a category long ago.

Glenn Dunks said...

I did a big entry on the original song category a while back and my predictions then were

Enchanted (That's How You Know)
Into the Wild (Guaranteed)
Once (Falling Slowly)
Ratatouille (Le Festin)
Walk Hard (Let's Duet)

But since Walk Hard flopped (remember "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" got nominated and was performed in character by Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara) I've changed that. I could easily see Into the Wild or Once getting a second nomination. I don't think even the Academy music branch can justify giving Clint Eastwood a nomination for a movie nobody has seen.

So, with that, as much as I don't want it to happy, I'm predicting Hairspray to take the last spot. Nothing against the song - it's a nice ditty - but they should be slapped like Mrs Coulter's daemon on The Golden Compass for dumping "Ladies Choice", which is not only the better song, but is also incorporated into the movie. "Come So Far" is a mere closing credits song.

Glenn Dunks said...

Or, ala 2005, they could reduce the category to three and have Enchanted, Into the Wild and Once, which I can see happening quite easily.

Also, glad to hear someone else disappointed of that Etheridge win. Love her, don't think that song is anything close to her best and it only won because she's a rock legend and the Academy wanted to - effectively - masturbate all over Al Gore as much as they could. "Love You I Do" totally deserved that Oscar.

Will said...

Did The Hottest State come out in the US this year? I haven't seen it, but I remember that Ethan Hawke had commissioned Jesse Harris to write a heap of new songs for great artists (Bright Eyes, Feist, etc) to record. I would have thought these would be on "Best Original Song" radar?
Anyone know any more than me here?

Fox said...

whoa... I had forgotten about the *Music and Lyrics* songs. I really dig the "Way Back Into Love" song. I would love to see that get nominated.

Terence Towles Canote said...

Well, in 2006 I would say the best song was "You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell, but I really don't have an opinion this year.

Anonymous said...

Way Back Into Love from Music and Lyrics all the way. Fantastic song!!!

Anonymous said...

"Despedida" is a beautiful and moving song by Shakira. Though the movie did not do too well, her music was very touching.