As well as honouring original music scores for films, the Academy also singles out songs. In some cases a film’s song may be the only thing you remember of it, and in some years an otherwise worthless film is represented at the Oscars only because of a catchy tune.
It’s a category that tends to be dominated by musicals, obviously, and it’s also usually notably Disneyfied. But it can also produce surprises, and while some of the winning songs fade into memory, we will always remember tunes like “The Way You Look Tonight”, “Over the Rainbow”, “Shaft” and “Streets of Philadelphia”. We’ll probably also never forget – even if we want to – “Chim Chim Cheree”, “Born Free”, “Up Where We Belong” and last year’s nails-on-chalkboard tune “Let it Go”.
The smart money this year is on the jubilant, gospel/hip-hop mashup “Glory” from Selma. Expect the roof to come off the house when John Legend and Common perform.
The ailing Glen Campbell might be a sentimental favourite for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (especially as he’s too ill to perform on Sunday).
Dianne Warren’s “Grateful” from Beyond the Lights sounds like a million other shitty pop songs on the radio, but that may be because of Rita Ora’s vocals and the song’s over-production. It turns out Warren isn`t exactly a fan of Ora.
Then there’s “Lost Stars” from Begin Again. Who knew Keira Knightley could sing? John Carney’s film about singers, songwriters and musical dreams didn’t have the same buzz as his debut Once, so “Lost Stars” probably won’t have the same success at the Oscars as “Falling Slowly”.
The final nominee, of course, is the elephant in the room: the song you heard a bajillion times in 2014, and the one serious threat to “Glory”. Personally, I think another song from The LEGO Movie, the dark and brooding “Untitled Self Portrait” should have been nominated. Oh, well, everything is still awesome.