Oscar History

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Entries in Original Song (144)


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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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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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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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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Soundtracking: "Magnolia"

With a new Paul Thomas Anderson film waiting in the wings, Chris looks at the music of Magnolia...

Rarely is a film and musician as inextricable from one another as Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia and Aimee Mann. The singularity of her voice repeated throughout helps streamline Anderson’s massively expansive vision, like a tidy bow pulling together the film’s many untidy pieces. With the film’s religious themes and allegories, her omniscient voice makes Mann the film’s watchful angel, perhaps a messenger of God. She's as much as character as everyone else, if a far more enlightened one.

“One is the loneliest number...” and Anderson announces his ensemble as a collection of “ones”. The Harry Nilsson track is a smart choice, establishing that no matter their twisty associations to one another, each is essentially isolated. Having Mann cover the classic song marries the old and the new, sounding like something that’s lingered for an indeterminate time but still aches like a fresh bruise. A curse of the biblical variety destined to perpetuate and repeat itself...

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Five Lingering Questions About the Globe Nominations. Do share your answers!

By Nathaniel R (and guests)

Okay last Globe conversation frenzy for a bit with SAG nominations happening tomorrow. We'll save a few truly silly questions about the Globes until the Golden Globe week hits but for now the rest of our informal polling of friends and TFE contributors now that you've read the Big Sick / All the Money / Snubs responses (you read that, right?). Join the conversation in the comments won't you?

Five questions and special guests answering them after the jump starting with this one. What's the "surprise" you don't think is surprising at all?

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woof woof. It's your daily Oscar trivia

by Nathaniel R

101 DAYS DALMATIANS until Oscar. For today's Oscar trivia did you know that neither the Disney animated classic of 1961 nor the live action Glenn Close starring remake in 1996 earned Oscar nominations?

Everyone knows that the Academy didn't have a Best Animated Feature category until the 21st century began but prior to that Disney's beloved animated classics were often honored in Original Song. But "Cruella de Vil," the hit single that dog-loving composer Roger writes in the film, the one that earns him enough cash to feed and care for 101 pups in that film's happy ending was not so nominated...

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La Pfeiffer and the Original Song Oscar Race

by Nathaniel R

Here's some rather surprising news: Michelle Pfeiffer sings the closing credits song of Murder on the Orient Express. The song is called "Never Forget" which we never in danger of doing for anything Pfeiffer. Though opinions vary about how well the goddess sings, we personally love it when she croons. Case in point: Grease 2 (1982), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), The Prince of Egypt (1998), and Hairspray (2007). Listen it's not her fault that her character in Up Close and Personal (1996) was supposed to be a bad singer or that "Miss Baltimore Crabs" is Hairspray's worst song!

"Never Forget" is written by two-time Oscar nominee Patrick Doyle, a regular on Kenneth Branagh films, who also composes the score. La Pfeiffer is, of course, not the sort who would deign to sing in front of the whole world on Oscar night so they will reassign the vocals if the song is nominated.

Regardless the Original Song category is beginning to show its possible contenders so we've updated that chart and still suspect the leader is The Greatest Showman's catchy "This Is Me" - which was recently performed in NYC by Keala Settle & Darren Criss.

We eagerly await the full eligibility list of 80ish songs we've never heard from 40 movies we've heard of and 20 movies we didn't know existed before this always surprising list hits.