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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Original Song (97)


Original Song Power: Simple Song #3, Writing's On the Wall, Etc...

This year's Original Song category is in great early health for a change. Ricki and the Flash's "Cold One," Pitch Perfect 2's "Flashlight" and I'll See You in My Dreams's title tracks are all well showcased in their films, and "Simple Song #3" from Youth, which the entire movie builds to, is an absolute slam dunk. (In all four movies the song in question was "written" by an in-movie character and is played in full). I was delighted to learn that the latter is eligible after seeing the film at TIFF as it's so good that I had assumed it was a famous composition repurposed.

And with Lady Gaga already making nice with the Oscar folks with that Sound of Music medley at the last High Holy Night, and possibly revitalizing her popularity with AHS: Hotel, we could see her back again to perform "Until It Happens To You" from the documentary The Hunting Ground. (And those are just the songs that are high profile or that we already like! The category routinely holds surprises both in the eligibility list and the actual quality of low profile contenders.) 

Skyfall mania aside, as we've documented many times before, James Bond songs are rarely nominated for Oscars. I'm hoping this new one, embedded below from Sam Smith, grows on me. I don't dislike it as many internet types already do but then I'm wildly averse to snap judgments on music singles. Hearing them repeatedly has changed how people feel about them thousands of times in the past. And as any movie buff knows, hearing Bond songs while watching those stylish 007 opening credits always helps cement the song's degree of success (or lack thereof).

So we'll see. And hear.  But... have you first impressions?

(A sampler platter of Original Movie Songs from 2015 thus far)




Sam & Spectre

Grammy winner Sam Smith has finished recording his James Bond theme song. It's called "Writing's on the Wall" and hopefully that's not in reference to Daniel Craig hanging up the suit.

The choice of musical artist and song for the 24th "official" Bond film (there are actually 26 of them) is historic in two different ways.

1. Smith is the first male solo artist doing a Bond song since 1965, aka when Tom Jones sang "Thunderball" (you'll remember that Paul McCartney and Wings doesn't count as a solo artist for 1973's "Live and Let Die") 

2. It's the first time an out LGBT artist has done the song duties

Less notable though we'll still note it is that this is only the fifth time that the theme song does not share the film's title. 007 movies didn't always have the traditional opening titles theme song. That tradition, as we know it, really began with the third film Goldfinger (1964). 

Do you think Sam Smith will benefit from the Adele love-in of 2012 and snag the series only its 5th nomination for Best Original Song? It'll be interesting to see if Spectre finds any favor at all with the Academy. Did Skyfall change things with it's 5 nominations or will AMPAS go back to ignoring the franchise as they always had before - it's worth remembering that the entire franchise averaged less than  ½ a nomination per film before that  50th anniversary blockbuster.

Here's the new poster...


Random List-Mania: 40 Best Original Movie Songs of the 1980s

We did this once for the 1990s and you loved it, so here's round two. 

Young Oscar fanatics might not have tripped over this tidbit yet but in the 1980s they were still giving out an award for "Original Song Score" - an old vestige category of the decades when a dozen plus movie musicals arrived each year. Three of these Oscars were handed out in the 1980s for Victor / Victoria (1982), Yentl (1983) and Purple Rain (1984).  None have been handed out since even though it's technically still a category... just not one that they invoke anymore. Though it's a pity they didn't consider giving one to Moulin Rouge! or Hedwig and the Angry Inch for 2001 as the category can also be awarded to "Adaptation Score"

The presence of this category in the early 80s probably explains why Purple Rain and Victor/Victoria had no "Original Song" nominees in their years (why double dip?) but it does not explain why Yentl had nominations in both categories. Because of these films I only allowed myself 2 songs per movie so as not to let these five films hog this entire list.

Beautiful Song Craft and/or Cheesy Epic Ballads For the Wins
* Oscar nominee | ** Oscar winner 

  1. "Nine to Five"* -Nine to Five (Dolly Parton)
  2. "Le Jazz Hot" - Victor/Victoria (Henry Mancini)
  3. "Purple Rain" - Purple Rain (Prince)
  4. "Into the Groove" - Desperately Seeking Susan (Madonna)
  5. "Xanadu" - Xanadu (Jeff Lynne)
  6. "Fame"** - Fame (Michael Gore & Dean Pitchford)
  7. "When Doves Cry" - Purple Rain (Prince)
    33 more numbers after the jump...

Click to read more ...


i'm just a link machine... a bloggin' writin' fiend ♫ 

MNPP picks five favorite shots from his favorite movie Rosemary's Baby
Village Voice wonderful insightful review of Lily Tomlin as Grandma 
Comics Alliance did you know we almost got a Jurassic Park animated series before Spielberg changed his mind?  
Coming Soon Christian Bale to star in a biopic about Enzo Ferrari directed by Michael Mann
THR might we have another documentary theme nominated in the Original Song category? Lady Gaga & Diane Warren's "Till It Happens To You" from the campus rape documentary The Hunting Ground is a buzzy one

Coming Soon speaking of Lady Gaga, here's our first look at her in American Horror Story: Hotel
Out Cheyenne Jackson talks about her, too. She's all up in my internet today!
Pajiba on the expanding cast for that Netflix Brad Pitt movie War Machine 
Playbill Carrie The Musical being revived again... in Los Angeles this time in October. It never truly dies
The Film Stage James Gray has begun production on Lost City of Z starring Charlie Hunman, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland. (They don't mention it in the article but this is the first time he's made a movie WITHOUT Joaquin Phoenix since his 1994 debut Little Odessa.)
The Film Stage also shares Bong Joon-Ho's 10 favorite films: Recent entries like Zodiac  appear alongside stone cold classics like Psycho and South Korean classics like The Housemaid (1960) which you might remember was recently remade.
Variety Hugh Jackman may make an Odyssey movie. 
Final Girl top 20 horror movies of the 21st century. I read stuff about horror by smart horror fans way way more often than I am willing to watch horror. Why is that? Don't know! But it's true.
Variety wonders why The Americans still can't catch a break with Emmy voters 
Variety is the Emmy race for Drama down to Game of Thrones versus Mad Men
i09 ewww Buffalo Bill's creepy house from Silence of the Lambs is for sale (basement not included which makes the news far less creepy)

Off Cinema For Fun
Bad Lip Reading takes on the First Republican Debate -heh
Zimbio "it turns out posing Nicki Minaj's wax figure on all fours was a bad idea" - ya think!? 

Showtune to go...
Congratulations to Tony winner Victoria Clark on her recent wedding! Beautiful wedding photos and if you've ever seen her perform you won't soon forget. Her acting and her gorgeous voice are ideally fused together and she gives splendid rich and nuanced musical performances. Lately she's been relegated to featured roles as mothers and grandmothers but she is one fine leading lady. Here she is doing Sondheim's classic "Losing My Mind" from the recent revival of Follies (Bernadette Peters played the role in NYC but Victoria took over for Los Angeles)

Photographed by Julia Wade 


Review: Ricki and The Flash

The review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad. It is reprinted here with their permission.

 How does one act a hoarse voice? Short of screaming all night into your pillow before a key scene, as I’ve heard some actors do to simulate it, it’s not something that’s all that fakeable. This kept coming to mind watching Meryl Streep in Ricki and The Flash. Ricki Randazzo, her new aging rocker alter ego, sings/screams her lungs out all night with the house band of her local dive bar and works a demeaning low wage job all day. She doesn’t take care of herself. Ricki’s voice is hoarse for the entire movie. After admiring Streep’s dedication to nailing a character you might want to say a silent prayer or offer a symbolic lozenge for her vocal chords if they did in fact receive torturous screaming abuse behind the scenes in order to sound just this way. What did they ever do to deserve this?

Whatever it was, the sacrifice was worth it, having given us Ricki...

Click to read more ...


Podcast Smackdown (Pt 2) Nixon & Georgia & 1995 Takeaways

You've read the Smackdown proper and heard Part One of the companion podcast. Now we're wrapping things up with Part Two in which Nathaniel and guests discuss a movie they all loved (Georgia) and the most divisive movie of the batch (Nixon). Big thanks again to this month's panelists: Nick Davis (Nicks Flick Picks), Guy Lodge (Variety), Kevin O'Keeffe (Arts.Mic), Conrado Falco (Coco Hits NY) and Lynn Lee (The Film Experience)

Part 2: 39 Minutes
00:01 Mare Winningham and Georgia’s Screenplay
08:45 Oliver Stone’s excesses -- extremely split opinions on Nixon
19:15 Off-Oscar: Other performances we loved from 1995 and another round of Emma Thompson and Sense & Sensibility
30:00 Best Original Song ???
33:40 Final Thoughts, recommendations and takeaways

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes tomorrow.

Smackdown. Pt 2


Meryl Sings "Cold One" - A Best Original Song Contender

[Editors Note: In the neverending soap opera of Nathaniel's lifelong on again/off again romance with Meryl Streep, they are in love again at the moment. Just thought you'd like to know.]

Everything about this clip is promising. Streep's raspy voice, that low-key estranged but still domestic comfort vibe, the fluffy dogs, it's matter-of-fact history "...a long time ago". People didn't seem thrilled by the trailer to Ricki and The Flash but but with Jonathan Demme behind the camera and behind the script, there will surely be moments to savor regardless of whatever it does or doesn't amount to as a film.

Jenny Lewis wrote original songs for the film including this one. Do we have our first Oscar contender in that category? (I updated that speculative chart to include this tune as well as the two Southpaw songs by Eminem.)