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Entries in Original Song (70)

Tuesday
Feb252014

5 Days Til Oscar. When Will John Williams Win a Sixth?

John Williams, the cinema's most widely and wildly celebrated composer, is a nominee again this year for The Book Thief (you can download some sheet music from the score here). He is 82 years old but in a delightfully senior twist, he is only the third oldest nominee (after June Squibb and Patricia Norris). IMDb's database for composers is very confusing so I can't share "number of original scores" but his feature film career, starting with Daddy-O (1958) and continuing on through the The Book Thief (2013), is prolific and highly regarded with more presumably to come since the Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises are still alive and so is he.

John Williams conducting "The Book of Thief" score in a recording session

His Oscar record is the closest anyone's ever come to total Academy infallibility (if you discount the people who only made one or two pictures). In the past 46 years, starting with the adaptation of the music in The Valley of Dolls (1967) and ending with his original compositions for The Book Thief  (2013) he has been nominated 49 times, winning 5 Oscars. 

with Catherine Deneuve when he won his last Golden Globe for Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)I don't know what kind of a percentage that is -- again, the films are hard to count and some won't have been eligible since he does a lot of franchises (and those are sometimes disqualified for lack of enough new material) but I'd wager that his record is something certifiably insane like 90% of his original compositions being named one of the year's five "Best". 

In other words, if he scores it, they're nominating it. Period.

Strangely, given their crazy-cuckoo devotion, he has only won the statue twice in the past 30 years. His most recent statues were for Schindler's List (1993), E.T. (1982), with his heyday being in the seventies when he won thrice for  Star Wars (1977), Jaws (1975) and Fiddler on the Roof (1972... in the Adaptation category which they no longer have).

 

 

 

Do you think he'll win a sixth Oscar or an honorary* soon?

Related:
Oscar Charts for the Sound and Music Categories
Nathaniel's Ballot of the Year's Best in Sound and Music

*in the unique star-subservient logic of the Academy, performers who've already been amply rewarded with gold are sometimes given an extra rather than honoring someone without trophies. See the recent baffling Honorary for 1961's Best Actress Sophia Loren's for her  "memorable performances", instead of taking the opportunity to honor one of numerous classic and respected actresses who've never won and are still living.

Sunday
Feb232014

So long, linkwell, au wiedersehen, adieu

Policy Mic Olivia Wilde humorously condemns Hollywood's sexism with a gender reversal anecdote
Chicago Tribune really strong piece on the camerawork and cutting (or lack of it) in the three films dominating the Oscar race: 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, and American Hustle 
Gawker a sad day for Sound of Music fans. The last remaining member of the original Von Trapp family singers has died.


NY Times great interview with RuPaul on his unlikely career now in its second huge act
Salon looks at Oscar Original Songs that time forgot. But this is really just scratching the surface. There's a couple of them each year!
Backlots a letter about Joan Fontaine from her friend and secretary
In Contention 12 Years a Slave wins 4 prizes and The Butler wins Best Actor at the NAACP Image Awards

Wednesday
Feb192014

11 Days Til Oscar. Bette Midler & Original Song

Bright and early this morning they announced that Bette Midler will be performing at the Oscars for the first time. That's shocking to type since she's had so many great movie musical moments in her career and she's obviously been to the Oscars as a nominee or to present. But, alas, her material was generally not original* and thus unnominated in the one category that regularly prompts performances.

Though it seems highly likely that they'll have her as underscore songstress for the In Memoriam visuals (zzz. Love that segment but it's never about the singer so they're interchangeable... something you can't usually say for Bette Midler) It's more fun to fantasize about recreating one of her musical moments from a movie on the main stage. So... vote!

 

 

 

* A Shocking Memory
Yes, it's true. The classic "The Rose" from The Rose (1979), written by Amanda McBroom, was NOT nominated for Best Original Song even after winning the Golden Globe. It was not expressly written for the movie though it had never been recorded before that point -- the same tragic reasons for disqualifications as Moulin Rouge!'s "Come What May". That category has been fucking us over for decades - this year's controversy was the least of it, really. The ideal song line up for 1979, an unusually good year for the category, would have probably would have been some combination of the two lists since the Oscar winner "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae, unnominated at the Globes, is also lovely.

But when you remember that "The Rainbow Connection" was nominated at both awards shows and lost twice, the point becomes moot. Truth: that eternal classic deserved multiple Oscars. An Oscar for 1979 and then an Oscar for every random year thereafter that failed to produce a worthy nominee. As an encore, you know? 

 

What would you have voted for?

I hope you've been enjoying the Countdown to Oscar! We're having so much fun with it so please check out any episodes you missed. Remember this truth: Comments are fuel for more blogging. 

Previously
12 Days - A twelve-wide Best Picture field!!! What does 1934 tell us about "Oscar slots"? 
13 Days - Matthew McConaughey and 2000's Best Actress Race?
14 Days - All About Eve vs. Titanic. The two all time nomination leaders face off!
15 Days - Supporting Oscar Chart fun "how were they nominated?"
16 Days - Irene Sharaff's 16 nominations 
17 Days - Looking back at The English Patient, Sal Mineo... and 1917?
18 Days - Meryl Streep's 18th nomination. Like whoa
19 Days - Julianne Moore's awards history
20 Days - Flashback '93: Age of Innocence, Farewell My Concubine, The Piano
21 Days - What's your favorite Billy Wilder? 

Thursday
Feb132014

Take My Link Away

Shadow Play Shirley Temple in Fort Apache
Shoshi Games 2014 HA HA. A must for fans of Zosia Mamet on "Girls" and the Winter Olympics
In Contention Karen O to perform "The Moon Song" at the Oscars. So now all the songs will be represented including...
EW IDINA MENZEL doing "Let It Go" so we got our wish
The Wrap Drake is pissed that PSH's death robbed him of his Rolling Stone cover 

 

Keyframe The fall of Roman Eye Candy in sword and sandal epics
BAFTA last day to vote on the Rising Star award. I chose Lea Seydoux though Lupita Nyong'o was tempting, only because Léa has been great several times already in short succession. Let's hope Lupita gets a fair shot at a big career!
LA Times Gravity dominates the Visual Effects Society awards (as if anything else would have occurred!)
Variety on Disney's very smart hands-off approach to the viral Frozen celebrations happening online
Marvel Comics it's the 50th birthday of the Black Widow today. (Remember how Emily Blunt was going to play her and we were all excited and then it was Scarlett Johansson instead and we were like "ummm..." and then she was terrible in Iron Man 2 but suddenly great in The Avengers. Happy endings!)

Re: This Regurgitated Weekend
Dave Holmes at Vulture wisely (and with great humor) looks back at the box office of 1987 the weekend the original Robocop debuted. I bring this up because this weekend's wide releases are ALL THREE OF THEM 80'S REMAKES: About Last Night (1986), Robocop (1987), and Endless Love (1981). (Has this ever happened before? Probably but if it has please to remind me)  

The piece is really funny and also has one of the best lines ever uttered about The Witches of Eastwick:

Cher, Susan Sarandon, and Michelle Pfeiffer — the closest thing to an all-Beyoncé Destiny’s Child we’re ever going to get...

 

And speaking of the 1980s...

Exit Music
Readers of a certain age already know and love the awesome 80s bad Berlin (so many classics like "The Metro" "Masquerade" "No More Words") but younger movie-mad readers should also familiarize. For somewhat obvious reasons it's oft-forgotten that Terri Nunn, the lead singer was an actress before joining Berlin and was in the running for Princess Leia before George Lucas decided on Carrie Fisher! Berlin's biggest hit was the Oscar-winning Best Original Song "Take My Breath Away" from Top Gun... but they didn't write it so no Oscars for them. Anyway, they have a new record coming out called "Animal" and the lead single's video co-stars my personal favorite RuPaul's Drag Race diva, Raven. Raven loves the 80s -- remember her "I was giving Michelle Pfeiffer Bitch" on the show? She's a perfect fit to face off with Terri! 

 

Sunday
Feb092014

I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going to Link It Anymore

CHUD James Franco to direct a film based on the making of bad movie everyone obsesses over which I haven't seen The Room. You guys, I can't even with Franco's lack of focus. I mean I don't dislike him. I think he's interesting but he is way too scattered. 
In Contention on Santa Barbara's Robert Redford tribute
Guardian Valentino makes a gauche error, pimping the fact that Amy Adams carried a Valentino bag to PSH's funeral stating they didn't know it was a funeral photo. Um, everyone is in black and they look abso-depressed
MNPP who knew that Fran Kranz from Dollhouse had that chest under his clothes and why on earth didn't Joss Whedon exploit it on that oft-horny show?

NY Times Maureen O'Dowd wonders what Network's Paddy Chayefsky would think of today's click-driven world with its total monetization of every editorial decision
Awards Daily a BAFTA members favorites
Coming Soon Gravity becomes only the third film (after Avatar and The Dark Knight Rises) to earn over $100 million from IMAX screenings alone
Variety the ongoing saga of "Alone Yet Not Alone" continues. It's now selling briskly and nominated for the faithbased MovieGuide Awards 
i09 will The Runaways -- if Marvel ever makes it -- be their Godfather?
Salon talks to the director of The Great Beauty on Italy's Oscar dreams. (For those who are not aware Italy has the most Oscars in the Foreign Film category though France has the most nominations.)
Slate "You Still Have Control" Samantha Geimer ("The Girl in the Shadow of Roman Polanski") once again proves herself the smartest most well adjusted and least hysteric person in the room when it comes to the topic of sexual abuse cases - and she lived it! This is a must read for anyone who has struggled to move on from past traumas. 

And the Most Terrifying News of the Week
We're hearing from Coming Soon that John Travolta will be playing Gummy Bear, or Gummibear if you prefer or are European, in an upcoming animated film version of the yummy treat. The character designs look hateful, really and not much like the actual food stuff.

Frankly, I don't see the point in a Gummy Bear movie when the deliciousness was already twice immortalized via Robot Chicken and Hedwig and the Angry Inch...


Luther: You must like candy.
Hansel: I like Gummi Baerchen 

Saturday
Feb082014

The Best "Let It Go" Covers

HELP ME!!!
I've fallen in a YouTube hole of "Let it Go" covers. And really, I have so many more important things to do and articles to write and encroaching deadlines. There are a lot of terrible off-pitch covers all over YouTube though "The Worst" of the covers is obviously Demi Lovato's. Many covers are kind of good but i'm not quite sure about them and there's even a drag version or two one with very hit and miss jokes (but the "the fears that once controlled me" bit in Dixie Lynn Cartwright's is priceless)

But these six I find impressive.

Elizabeth Saw with just the piano and played by ear... which is so cool because it's not exact but the flourishes feel right

Jun Sung Angh with just a violin

And the best vocals I've heard apart from Idina...

Sonnet Son - no mic, editing, no autotuning but very strong

Caleb Hyles has some impressive control of the vocal shifts between his higher register and normal voice

 

And the best mega-budgeted version is this Africanized Tribal Cover. Seriously someone spent lots of bank. Sets, a huge choir, costume changes.

And finally the best multi-voiced cover from the always delightful Christina Blanco who we've raved about before.

 

What was your last YouTube bender about?

Tuesday
Feb042014

Original Song: Pharrell Will Sing "Happy" at the Oscars

One down. Four more Three more songs to go (unless I missed an announcement)...

It's official: there will be Song performances at the Oscars. Pharrell Williams, fresh off his hat-loving Grammy success, will be performing Despicable Me 2's hit song "Happy", currently #11 on Billboard's Hot 100 and rising, on Oscar night. No word yet on the other songs up for the gold but if anyone other than Idina Menzel is asked to sing "Let It Go", currently #26 on Billboard's Hot 100 and rising (and when was the last time two Original Song nominees were actual hits???), I hope there are protests / riots. I'm not even a huge Idina fan but come on! (Still it'd be just like the Oscars to pull something like that.)

Stay tuned...

Related: Aural Oscar ChartsSong Nomination Revoked