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Entries in Original Song (158)

Wednesday
Oct172018

Soundtracking: "A Star is Born (2018)"

Chris Feil wraps up his look at the musical legacy of A Star is Born...

Bradley Cooper has kept with the 1976 A Star is Born’s arena template, largely correcting many of that film’s pitfalls for his directorial debut. Most obvious, the songs don’t mostly suck. And though it does lose sight of the perspective of Lady Gaga’s emerging singer somewhat, it’s more of a two-hander in terms of musical responsibility.

That shared weight is evident in the film’s showstopper “Shallow”, the song that already defines the film’s iconography and identity. It matches the “yes-and” nature of falling in love: Ally’s lyrics and soaring melody presenting the fear of taking the leap, Jackson orchestrating it to something cohesive and singular, both of them contributing the personal and universal essential to any ballad worth its luster. They’re both observational and confessional, with “I’m falling” being the most terrifying admission. Like love, the song begins with a simple feeling, and its eventual rush of emotion builds until it must be submitted to.

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Wednesday
Jun272018

Soundtracking: "Wall-E"

by Chris Feil

It’s a rare thing for a Disney film to borrow music for a film rather than provide original material, but Pixar’s Wall-E is an even rarer brand of masterpiece. Today, on its tenth anniversary, it is still as sublime an experience for the senses as it ever was.

When the film opens with a musical theatre classic, we are told instantly that we are in for a different kind of science fiction world view. Its nearly dialogue free visual storytelling has been rightly lauded, detailing the a polluted post-evacuation earth through the robots left behind. But one crucial and charming aspect to the silent love story it tells is how swiftly it reveals character through its needle drops...

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Wednesday
Feb282018

Soundtracking: The Best Oscar Winning Original Songs

by Chris Feil

While Soundtracking aims to look at the depth and relationship between movies and their music, one of this series’ minor ambitions is to defend the purpose of Oscar’s much maligned Original Song category. Complain about some of the weak nominees in recent years and you are (alone yet) not alone. But this category has a rich history of classics and film-defining tracks, some of which you may not know have their origins in the cinema. Case in point: holiday staple of hot takes "Baby It's Cold Outside" won the Oscar in 1949 for Neptune's Daughter.

While this year’s nominees run from the unfortunate to the immaculate, I’d also offer that Oscar’s Original Song is currently in an upswing in quality. It has also faced some underwhelming periods (take a look at the 50s) and may never return to its 70s-80s level of radio rotation, but Original Songs remain as essential as the films themselves. So to showcase the category, I’ve ranked the best of the Original Song winners! If your favorite didn’t make the list, consider that a reminder of how much you actually cherish the category...

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Tuesday
Jan232018

Soundtracking: 2017's Original Song Nominees

by Chris Feil

Chris here, with your weekly dose of movie music. If this year's list of Oscar nominated songs doesn't help relieve the widely stated concerns for the category, I'm not sure what will. Not only do you have a batch of memorable tunes you would have actually heard, but they also fulfill the branch's aim of being narratively resonant as well. Throw in some popular artists and rousing emotion and it might actually make for a less disposable part of the ceremony this year...

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Saturday
Jan202018

Final Oscar Predictions in Every Single Category!

by Nathaniel R

If only we had been able to devote more time to each category leading up to the nominations. Next year, my friends. Life, a cruel mistress this winter, had other plans this year. But we'll do better about diving into the nominees. As with most pundits I'm expecting The Shape of Water to be the nomination leader, but I don't think it will be setting any records as some are suggesting. The support for it seems less feverish and more pleasant. At least from my perspective. It can expect a big haul but not every single category. On the opposite side of the Best Picture spectrum is The Big Sick, the only potential nominee that could also be entirely shut out since it's hovering on the edges of its most nominatable categories: Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actress 

So let's break it down by category shall we? We're just listing the basics here but each link will take you to that category's full chart with much more information and the pretty pictures. As always we'll be frantically updating every single chart on nomination morning (January 23rd). So be here frequently this week, pretty please...

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Monday
Dec182017

70 Original Songs Eligible for Oscar

Chris here. Though the conversation around Oscar's Original Song category sways negative these days, there is the potential this year to have one of the strongest lineups in some time. And we now have the massive list of 70 tracks eligible this year to support that claim.

While there are the annual "huh?!" titles among the contenders, the lineup has some strong outsider fare like Patti Cake$, Step, and The Meyerowitz Stories. Among the things you won't see in the longlist are "I Get Overwhelmed" from A Ghost Story or "Cut to the Feeling" from Leap, as both of those weren't explicitly written for their films. Also two musicals, Coco and The Greatest Showman, are only eligible for their biggest tracks - however both remain likely players here, though curveballs should be expected in this category at all times.

Let's take a look at the eligible songs/films:

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