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Monday
Nov212011

Oscar Updates: Shorts & Songs

The charts have all been updated... I started with the Animation, Shorts and Doc page which never gets enough attention and on which you'll see a lot of new information. Short films are such a crucial building block for young filmmakers and an ideal experimental playground for established filmmakers. They never get enough attention. We haven't culled enough information yet on the live action shorts but we know of three in the mix that have qualified that all happen to star Oscar talent: Sailcloth has two time nominee John Hurt as a nursing home escapee, The Sea is All I Know has recent winner Melissa Leo as a grieving mom and African Chelsea has Sally Kirkland as the mother of an exotic dancer. (Full disclosure: African Chelsea is advertising on the sidebar even as you read this but our love for Kirkland long pre-dates advertisements. We first fell for her during her spirited Oscar run for Anna, just as we were beginning to get an inkling of what "Oscar campaigning" was back in the day. Have you ever seen Anna? A must-see for actress obsessives.)

If you know of other live action shorts that have qualified feel free to share them in the comments and we'll investigate. Unless AMPAS releases a list (like they did with the animated and doc shorts) we're flying with one blind eye.

As for the bulk of the categories... there are minor gains for The Iron Lady, Hugo, The Descendants and such but buzz always grows when films start pushing or are about to open. Oscar is a marathon and it remains to be seen which currently sprinting films can keep at it for another 2 months. Stay hydrated movies, stay hydrated. Earlier releases like The Help and Moneyball may seem to be running on buzz fumes at the moment but it isn't necessarily a bad move to stretch and take a deep breath once you've already made a case for yourself. All the films that have already done so, will have to start sprinting again anyway once ballots are in hand anyway.

I've also filled out the Best Original Song competition. Despite the extranneaous nature of this category (songs have so little to do with filmmaking especially in the modern era when most movie songs are not originals) it could offer abundant Oscar Ceremony possibilities this year. Even if we don't get to see Captain America and his USO girls in a kickline or a performance or two from the beloved Muppets we still might have opportunities to see major names like Pink, Elton John or Zooey Deschanel performing.

That said, it's always possible they'll either select badly -- DON'T EVEN SPEAK TO ME ABOUT THE CHER SNUB LAST YEAR. The flames. On the side of my face.... -- or select well and then give all the numbers to some random celebrity to sing in a medley, anyway. Note to AMPAS: if you insist on keeping this category, do not deprive us of big gawdy song spectacles! 

What kind of musical performance would you love to see on Oscar night? Besides Billy Crystal's inevitable vaguely musical monologue that is.

Oscar Charts

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Reader Comments (17)

Agree with you Nat. If they are gonna keep the Original Song category, they should have some consistency, let the artists sing their own song. Remember the "street dancing" to the Original Score nominees 2 years ago? Most awkward thing ever.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

I'm embarrassed to admit, but I'm singing along to the Twilight song from Bruno Mars after several weeks of ignoring it. Is it not eligible for a nomination is Best Original Song and would the Academy refuse to nominate anything from the dopey Twilight film series?

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames

what about the ballad Madonna is writing for W.E.?

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

Mirko -- i can never get a bead on what is going on with W.E. i must be honest. between all the edits and the rumors and the new trailers that immediately get pulled only to resurface. it's all just so... messy.

but even if it weren't, they've ignored Madonna every time in that category even with indisputable classic songs so I'd highly doubt it.

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

It's not an Original Song performance, but I'd love to see Yo-Yo Man and/or Itzhak Perlman play a medley of the Best Original Score nominees once again. Those are always so nice. The medley from the 2006 (/2005) telecast is one of my favorite Oscar moments ever. But then again, those 2005 nominees were unusually amazing.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

"Gathering Stories" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8waxPo-tfG0

I can hear it as an Oscar nominated song!

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjake

I love the Streep Equivalencies on the updated charts.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteradri

adri -- thank you. i'm glad someone noticed them.

November 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

How about the songs from the Abigail Breslin/Alessandro Nivola film "Janie Jones" that opened in limited release last month?

Audio Samples:
"Fight For Me" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=um0h37WaEQ0
OST - http://www.amazon.com/Janie-Jones-Original-Picture-Soundtrack/dp/B005NGF9WU

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

Kirkland's performance in Anna is one of the great performances of the 1980s.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBilly Held an Oscar

Hehe. Love the Mrs. White reference.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric

I LOVE ZOOEY. (I was rewatching 500 Days Of Summer yesterday and that film is special, Zoeey and JGL, wowowow.)

I like the Mary J song from The Help and I think The Help will get multiple noms, they'd probably get Beyonce to sing it instead though.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

I'm curious about the potential Mars nomination as well-they usually put out a list of eligible songs in mid-December. We'll likely find out if it's eligible then.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

As great as the Twilight soundtracks have been, if something like "Hearing Damage" or "Possibility" couldn't get nominated then I doubt Bruno Mars will.

ANYWAY. I think the end credits song from "The Help" has a much better chance than the end credits song from "Albert Nobbs" since, well, in "The Help" it's not really an en credits song in the traditional sense of white text on a black background. The song actually plays over the final moment of Viola Davis' arc and feels much more important to the film itself. The song from "Albert Nobbs", however, despite being a complete snooze DOES just play over the white text on black background credits. Yawn.

November 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Hi Film Experience Blog

I just saw your predications for the final ten Animated Shorts for this Oscar race and discovered that you have The Renter in bolth your top five predications and the alternative ones. Can you please be kind and remove The Renter from your five alternative predications and replace it with The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore cause that short got a lot of film festival awards and looks well good.

November 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex H.

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