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« 2 Days Til Oscar. Final Oscar Predictions | Main | My Link Will Go On »
Friday
Feb282014

Reading the Signs in the Stars for Best Original Song

Glenn here looking to the stars (and elsewhere) for hints on this year's higher profile than usual Original Song category. Ever since the fall out over Alone Yet Not Alone, Oscar's original song category has become far more competitive than I had originally imagined. I think we all figured "Let It Go" from Frozen would take it in a walk, no? But as more and more people come out of the woodwork in support of the other nominees, I'm wondering if that's quite the case anymore so I figure the best way to sort it out is to use arbitrary means of deduction.

What snow, Billboard charts, science, and Amy Poehler backrubs say about the race after the jump...

"Let It Go": Does the Academy have as much fondness for instant karaoke classics and diva-perfect coming out anthems? Hailing from the third highest grossing film of the year (Despicable Me 2 is number 4), and performed by Broadway superstar Idina Menzel, could "Let It Go" suffer from winter fatigue? Everyone over here in New York City has braced a rather long and, yes, frozen winter that just keeps going and going. In fact, Mother Nature is sending her (perhaps misguided) support for the film by ushering in another snow storm Sunday night which means Oscar viewing parties are on high alert. If "Let It Go" loses it will likely be too cold and windy outside for riots and looting throughout Chelsea. We'll riot to the refrigerator and grab another bottle of wine, instead.

"Happy": I don't really 'get' American music charts. Songs seem to hang around for, quite literally, an age. Don't people get sick of them and find new music to latch onto? And I know this has to do with the way Billboard charts are compiled using a mix of sales, radio plays and YouTube views, but it sounds all rather ridiculous. I was equally confused when Pharell's Oscar-nominated "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 reached the Billboard Hot 100 peak at number 1 some five months after the film opened. What were people doing that whole time exactly? $365mil of ticket sales is, I would think, a lot of instant iTunes purchases. Either way, that's a mighty achievement and one that not too many Oscar nominated songs achieve these days (the first since Eminem's "Lose Yourself") and as Nathaniel suggests...

 

 

"Ordinary Love": I noticed on twitter the other day somebody bemoaning that the Academy will give the Oscar to U2 just because they're U-freakin'-2. Obviously that person hadn't boned up on their Oscar history, because U2 have already lost out at the Oscars. And to Eminem to less. However, do the Oscar people know more than they suggest? They say nobody knows the winners in advance, but it seems like an awfully weak excuse to bring the late South African leader's family all the way over to Hollywood just to watch the band perform. U2 did win the Golden Globe for "Ordinary Love", but then again they also won the Golden Globe for the equally dire "The Hands That Build America". Too bad Amy Poehler isn't an Academy members since I doubt Bono and co. will be getting a vote from Cate Blanchett.

"Moon Song": The next full moon isn't until March 16, but scientists did just create a geologic map of Jupiter's moon, Ganymede. Furthermore, Google's director of engineering predicted just last week that an OS like Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) is entirely likely by 2029. Will Karen O's "Moon Song" be the "I've Had The Time Of My Life" for future generations OS relationships?

Ultimately, I think like Elsa, the cold will not bother the voters and they will (rightly?) give the statue to Frozen's defiant outcast anthem. Any last minute whims or hunches, dear readers?


P.S. Don't forget to vote on the Beauty vs. Beast Frozen poll

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Reader Comments (14)

I'm sick and tired of powerballads (or sappy ones) being nominated and wiining the Oscar!! I hope the weather do really changes and this award pulls out an Eminem or that freaking Hustle & Flow song I-can't-remember-which just for a change. Go HAPPY all the way!!

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Don't put your wine in the fridge Glenn. Cellar is the way to go!
(or you know, just a dark cold corner of the apartment as the case may be.)

I think Frozen's gonna take this, but here's hoping it's The Moon Song.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I don't really 'get' American music charts. Songs seem to hang around for, quite literally, an age. Don't people get sick of them and find new music to latch onto? And I know this has to do with the way Billboard charts are compiled using a mix of sales, radio plays and YouTube views, but it sounds all rather ridiculous. I was equally confused when Pharell's Oscar-nominated "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 reached the Billboard Hot 100 peak at number 1 some five months after the film opened. What were people doing that whole time exactly?

"Happy" didn't start getting a big promotional push in America until mid-December. It was around before then, obviously, but I guess everyone was getting their Pharrell fix with "Blurred Lines" and "Get Lucky" last summer. "Happy" started getting more attention late last year with the 24 hour video, then it showed up in an ad in January and exploded from there.

As for 60-70+ week chart runs in America, when it happens, a song often starts out on a format like rock or country, climbs and peaks there, then the pop stations tentatively start playing it, but because it's not a typical "pop" song, it has a slow climb on Top 40, so it's exposed to a different group of buyers, extending its chart life even more. Then it might have a third-fourth wave--often a mix of crossing over to adult contemporary (always behind the ball), the end of the year spike (more airplay the last couple weeks of the year as radio is filled with countdowns, people buying the year's biggest hits), award show performance bumps, and remixes are often the last gasp (there was a version of "I'm Yours" with Lil Wayne on it).

Back to Best Original Song, "Let It Go" fits the spirit of the category in the sense of the song being a major element of the film and not just some thing over the credits. "Happy" is pretty infectious but repetitive and kind of a less complex "Tightrope". Any song but the U2 one will be all right with me for the win. I kind of wish "Alone Yet Not Alone" could have hung on to its nomination, the whole brouhaha was pretty entertaining.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

My main problem with "Happy" is that I feel like it has no bearing on the film at all. Not just in the way that, say, "Let It Go" has, but even in the way that "Ordinary Love" has. That song is very clearly about the film and its subject. "Happy" just feels like a Pharell song.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

BTW Frozen is #1 on the Billboard 200 (album sales) at the moment. I don't know if we've ever had a #1 song and the most noted single from a #1 album battle it out for the Oscar on the very week they're topping the charts. (Can't hurt ratings that these two are so popular, either.)

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Thank you Claire, for that very informative comment.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMDA

Chofer - Yeah, except that Hustle & Flow song beat Dolly Parton's infinitely better song "Travelin' Through" from "Transamerica." As much as I love Oscar surprises, that ain't one of them.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Glenn, watching Gru do his little dance through the streets, then a few scenes later do his sad walk, was enough "influence on the movie" for me. I play the song almost every day and want to do a Gru dance myself when I hear it.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjtagliere

Every year I've got one category where I've really pulled for one particular nominee, and this year it's Best Original Song. I was blown away by "Let It Go" when I first saw Frozen back in November. I was hoping it can win the Oscar right the and there. Three months later I am hoping that it can pull of the win.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterajnrules

FWIW, "Lose Yourself" is the best winner this category has had in decades.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

You will appreciate this. Lupitaaaa!

http://3i26kd3p1usa3cefqi1ay96t13o6.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/lupita-nyongo-colors-full-1024x458.jpg

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Glenn, I haven't even seen Despicable Me 2, but I read what Pharrell said about making the song for the film and the collaboration process and that made me feel like it was relevant to the film.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

JOHN -- credit? link? who made that? where is it from?

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

http://www.eurweb.com/2014/02/lupita-nyongo-hit-awards-season-in-every-color/

I found it on her Instagram and then googled where to find it. It's great.

February 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

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