The Academy has been recognizing songs in movies since 1934. Over the years it has honoured such classics as “The Continental”, “The Way You Look Tonight”, “When You Wish Upon a Star”, and “Moon River”, and such dross as “Born Free”, “Evergreen”, and “You Light Up My Life”.
It’s a notoriously difficult category to predict. While a hit song from a hit movie stands a good chance of winning Oscar, on occasion the Academy can surprise punters and choose something like “Al otro lado del río” from The Motorcycle Diaries (beating songs from Shrek 2 and The Polar Express).
Obviously, it’s also a category where musicals have an advantage.
And Disney films.
This year’s crop of Oscar-nominated songs is an odd mix. The five films are Fifty Shades of Grey, Spectre, Racing Extinction, Youth, and The Hunting Ground, none of which has any other nominations.
You can hear all the nominees in discussion here.
I have only seen Spectre (and let’s face it, the Sam Smith title song is pretty forgettable), so I can only judge the other songs in and of themselves, not in terms of how they prop up the emotions in their respective movies.
“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey. Music and lyrics by Belly, The Weekend, Stephen Moccio, Jason Quenneville.
I had to sign in to You Tube to see this video because it’s a bit naughty, so if you’re watching this at work, all your colleagues now know that you’re a pervert.
“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre. Music and lyrics by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith.
As a song it’s dreadful, forgettable boring shite. As a Bond theme, well, it’s no “Goldfinger”, and you can’t hear the song without thinking of tentacle porn.
And just think: they could have had Radiohead.
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction. Music by J. Ralph. Lyrics by Antony Hegarty.
Which is the worse crime by humanity against the planet? Pollution and mass extinctions or dull, dirge-like muzak?
“Simple Song #3” from Youth. Music and lyrics by David Lang.
A very beautiful track but is it enough to make you want to see Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel cavorting in a swimming pool?
“Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground. Music and lyrics by Lady Gaga and Diane Warren.
The most overtly political song on the list. This is Diane Warren’s eighth nomination. She is the favourite to win but will not be performing alongside Gaga at the ceremony.