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 clips...you 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.