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Soundtracking: FYC 5 Original Song Outliers

by Chris Feil

In lieu of a regular deep dive into the soundtrack of one film, Soundtracking is indulging in some For Your Consideration tracks before the season narrows down to a few contenders. Naturally, all of the talk for original songs this season has been gobbled up by A Star Is Born with some hopes being thrown towards the likes of Mary Poppins Returns, Black Panther, and even Radiohead's Thom Yorke for Suspiria. I'll unpack the field once Oscar reveals its shortlist on December 17 (remember that quiet news item that the Academy will be announcing song and score shortlists all at once along with such categories as visual effects?).

But the outsiders deserve some love too, so allow me to champion a few solid tracks...

"Here I Am" from Dumplin'
You may not have heard that this Netflix heartwarmer arrives this Friday December 7, but if you have it's likely because Dolly Parton has been stumping for a few of her original songs featured in the film. Seriously Netflix, promote half as hard as your one-of-a-kind legend songwriter does. Parton shares duties on this song with Sia, who strangely has never gotten an Oscar nomination despite her omnipresence at the cineplex. Remember how much wow Dolly gave us compared to her co-nominees when she performed "Travelin' Through" from Transamerica on that Oscar telecast? UPDATE: Oh this is ineligible. WHOOPS! But hey Dolly has other songs int he film, including "Girl in the Movies"! Do that!

"Hearts Beat Loud" from Hearts Beat Loud
There isn't just one movie about a songwriting duo on the block this year. We've already discussed this father-daughter crowdpleaser at length in Soundtracking, but it's uplift hasn't been diminished over the months since. This one is a real earworm in the electro-indie mold - think Once with a Brooklyn bent. You can (and should!) catch up to the film on streaming service Kanopy which is FREE with a library card.

"Capital Letters" from Fifty Shades Freed
Hey, call me crazy, but the first Fifty Shades was nominated in this category and the sequel had to have been close as well for that Taylor Swift number. This one would at least guarantee a performance from Hailee Steinfeld, who we only ever want the best for. Maybe she could pull double duty for those ratings hungry folks at NBC and perform with Bumblebee, raising her up (baby, up we go!) above the crowd at the Dolby. Not convinced? Okay, then consider this: it's a damn bop.

"Flower of the Universe" from A Wrinkle in Time
While yours truly was more firmly on the pro side than most regarding the admittedly odd by quite original design craft throughout Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time, there was a moment of understated awe at its midpoint. And that stoicly emotional moment was christened gorgeously by the return of Sade, an underrated musical legend in her own right. Considering songwriters view the songs in context of their films, maybe this beauty could surprise.

"I'll Fight" from RBG
Bummed out that perennial Oscar nominee Diane Warren's song about butts and jeans from A Star Is Born is low on that film's song campaigning priority list? Have no fear, because Warren has something a little more prominant from another film: biodoc hit RBG. This track has probably the closest chance of a nomination of these contenders listed here (Nathaniel is currently predicting it), given Warren's pedigree, Hudson's star power, and the songwriting branch's willingness to look to documentaries to fill out the category. And, come on, we gotta get Warren that Oscar sometime!

All Soundtracking installments can be found here!

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Reader Comments (19)

What about Money by Cheryl K (feat. Awkwafina) from Crazy Rich Asians?

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

I love the randomness of the song race. I know it's extraordinarily unlikely but Dolly & Sia performing together on the night would be thrilling.

Do we know if the academy are going to release the full list of songs submitted before the bake off finalists are listed?

It's always fun to see the songs submitted from films you've never heard of.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBJT

HEARTS BEAT LOUD! And the slow version of the song is even better.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I have a feeling a GG nom is on the horizon for Dolly tomorrow.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden

Honorary Oscar for Dolly Parton, ASAP! She's been robbed twice.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Is "Fall On Me" from Nutcracker and the Whatever Realms eligible?

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchasm301

FYC: "Upbeat Inspirational Song About Life" from "Teen Titans Go! To The Movies". It's so meta and fun.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterIrvin

It is a damn shame that Dolly Parton, one of our greatest living song writers, has never won an Oscar, and so I'm always supporting her getting one more nomination even if there's no chance to win (gotta build momentum somehow!).

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I'm pretty sure that "Here I am" isn't eligible - isn't it a new version of an old Dolly song? But I think she has at least one original in "Dumplin".

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDave S.

Here performance at the 2005 Oscars is one of my earliest Oscar memories and one of my favourites. Even Jack Nicholson was into it!

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Just saying that Dolly Parton deserves a songwriting nomination and win far more than Lady Gaga. She was well and truly robbed over "9 to 5" and I'm willing to bet her performance with Sia would be a high point of any broadcast.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

@LadyEdith - She was also robbed for Transamerica. It's an Oscar tragedy that they gave an Oscar to "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp" . Even within it own genre, "Hard Out There" is just not a very good song.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterReady

It's a pity that the new bits of "Little Joe The Wrangler" the Coens wrote for THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS can't be eligible, because they are delicious!

But I would still take "When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings" as a consolation prize. Probably won't happen, but this category does throw up surprises......

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTravis C

Dolly. Always, Dolly. I love her unconditionally.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Dave S & Chris - no, 'Here I Am' isn't eligible as it's a remake of a 1970s Dolly Parton song. The song they are pushing from Dumplin' is 'Girl in the Movies', and it's lovely.

The Fifty Shades song I really liked this year was 'For You' (Rita Ora & Liam Payne).

I've been following this category all year, so am curious to see what lands on the 15 song shortlist on 17 December.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Sade is a legend, I want a new album NOW. She also did a song for Widows!

I prefer Kesh's RBG song to the Diane Warren one.

I want Troye Sivan nominated for Revelation, and SZA/Kendrick Lamar for All of the Stars.

December 5, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

The Kendrick/SZA song is definitely my favorite song from a film this year, and one of my favorite songs of the year, period. Hand them the Oscar, please.

I think the Dolly/Sia collaboration doesn't quite work. I love Dolly, though.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

I wish they'd bring back the Song Score / Adaptation category. I hate it when one film gets 3 original song nominations. This deprives other films from getting a nomination for their song.

If they brought it back then A Star is born and Mary Poppins Returns will get one original song nomination and one nomination for song score.

Instead we might see A star is born and Mary Poppins Returns get 2 or even 3 original song nominations this year.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

Rooting for a miracle that Toni Braxton’s “Forgiven” from THE FORGIVEN makes the shortlist. Plus, if we’re looking for a song from a random film, any of the songs from BASMATI BLUES would be perfect: the Brie Larson singalong “All Signs Point to Yes” to the Donald Sutherland number “Greater Good” to the love duet “Foolish Heart” to the environmentally themed song led by Scott Bakula, “Our Voices Will Be Heard.”

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge P.

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