Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oscar's Original Songs

The Academy released the list of 59 original songs that are in contention this year for the Academy Award for Best Original Song. I'm going to try and have a listen to as many as possible. Click the song title to listen for yourselves. Performer's name in brackets. List courtesy of Awards Daily.

From American Gangster, "Do You Feel Me" (Anthony Hamilton) - An old-style motown track. I quite like the song, but it may be hard for the music branch to go for it. It's written by Diane Warren, but it ain't no "My Heart Will Go On". This Anthony Hamilton's got a great scratchy voice though.

From Arctic Tale, "At the Edge of the World" (Aimee Mann & Zach Gill) - Well, Aimee Mann won't be getting that second Oscar nomination this year. It's exactly the sort of song you would expect from Mann and Gill from a movie like Arctic Tale.

From August Rush, "Someday" (John Legend) - Is this song used as the soundtrack to a montage? It sure sounds like it! Like, a really sad montage! Like, somebody rushing to be by the deathbed of the person they love but haven't had the nerve to tell? Yeah... sounds exactly like that!

From August Rush, "This Time" (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers) - Meyers has a good singing voice, nothing like the whisping way he sounds when he speaks. The song is exactly like the other two songs from August Rush. Mushy.

From August Rush, "Break" (Jonathan Rhys Meyers & Steve Erdody) - It's all very soft radio friendly rock, isn't it?

From August Rush, "Raise It Up" (Jamia Simone Nash & The IMPACT Repertory Theatre) - WTF? I actually sort of like this one! It's very moody and it has a choir and gospel and I love anything with a choir and gospel (well, almost).

From Badland, "Nothing's There" and "The Devil's Lonely Fire" - Can't find these unfortunately. Considering I've never heard of Bandland I doubt they'll be making an appearance anyway.

From Beowulf, "A Hero Comes Home" (Idina Menzel) - Umm... this song is sort of crappy and when it came on during the credits I was really perplexed. I mean, they needed a big rousing manly man man song (or just some music) and instead they got the (awesome, albiet) chick from Rent? Random. Menzel calls "A Hero Comes Home" as an "embellishment" of the song Robin Wright Penn sings during the movie. I could think of a few other adjectives to call it...

From Berkeley, "The Stars of Orion" (Tom Morello) - The Rage Against the Machine frontman Morello pens this song for some random movie nobody has ever heard of. I imagine the Academy aren't exactly fans of RAtM and so no good will will come his way. Besides, the song is kinda lame. Still, it'd be a kick to see him and his bald head at the Oscars, no?

From The Bucket List, "Say" (John Mayer) - It amazes me that for a movie about two old geezers who go out to accomplish things they never have they hired John freakin' Mayer to sing the theme song. Maybe if you're wanting to put the audience into a coma then hiring Mayer is the way to go, because "Say" is awful as so many Mayer songs are. Awful. Although if you're a Mayer fan (why, exactly?) then you'll probably like it.

From Dan in Real Life, "To Be Surprised", "My Hands Are Shaking" and "I'll Be OK" (Sondre Lerche) - If "To Be Surprised" doesn't get a nomination than neither will the other two, taken from Lerche's album/soundtrack (much like Badly Drawn Boy's About a Boy, you see?) Needless to say, however, that this sort of music isn't the Oscar music branch's sort of thing. Couldn't find a clip of "I'll Be OK" but it is on iTunes.

From December Boys, "December Boys" (unknown) - I can't find this song anywhere. Did anybody see this flick and can tell me who it's by?

From Enchanted, "So Close" (Jon McLaughlin), "That's How You Know" (Amy Adams) and "Happy Working Song" (Amy Adams) - Upon listening to the Enchanted soundtrack I quite liked "That's How You Know" and "True Love's Kiss", which wasn't submitted for whatever reason. I sort of hope "That's How You Know" gets nominated just so Amy Adams can perform. I did not, however, like "So Close", which - i can only imagine - is some hopelessly tacked on song put to use in the background of a scene. Am I right? It does sound like something Sting would do though so the music branch will probably love it.

From 56 Drops of Blood, "Atkozott Egy Elet", "O, Atyam!" and "Eleg!" (Unknown) - I got no idea what this movie is but IMDb classifies it as a Hungarian musical (yup!) and... well, the clips on YouTube are sort of bizarrely frightening. I got nothing for them except the knowledge that they aren't being nominated for Oscar. Not a chance. My favourite though is probably "Eleg!" It's like something out of a Hungarian Rent! Has anyone seen this movie though?

From Freedom Writers, "A Dream" (Common) - I wasn't a fan of a movie, nor was I fan of the soundtrack when I had to review it, but my favourite song - which I was completely unaware of it's "original song" status - was "A Dream" by Common. I really like the song, and even though Oscar has shown love to hip-hop this decade ("Lose Yourself" and "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp" are both Oscar winners) I can't see them nominating this track. Oh well. This song reminds me of older hip-hop (I think it's the beat) though and not modern (aka, shit) hip-hop.

From The Golden Compass, "Lyra" (Kate Bush - I would expect the Golden Globes to go for this song but unless a) the film franchise in question is The Lord of the Rings or b) the film franchise in question is as successful as The Lord of the Rings Kate Bush's theme won't get there. It'd be a kick though, wouldn't it?

From Good Luck Chuck, "Shut Me Out" (Aiden Hawken) - Hahah, no. Couldn't get a clip, either but it's on iTunes.

From Good Luck Chuck, "Good Luck Chuck" (The Dandy Warhols) - Hahah, no.

From Good Luck Chuck, "I Was Zapped by the Lucky Super Rainbow" - I actually like this song, but, alas, no. Imagine the performance if it was nominated though. I'm not sure my brain can comprehend that, actually. No video for this unfortunately but it's on iTunes.

From Grace is Gone, "Grace is Gone" (Jamie Cullum) and "Lullaby for Wyatt" (Sheryl Crow) - They're... so... boring... Luckily for you there's no clip on YouTube, but they are on iTunes.

From Hairspray, "Come So Far" (Cast of Hairspray) - "Ladies Choice" isn't even on the list of contenders! Songs from Good Luck Chuck, 56 Drops of Blood and freakin' The Heartbreak Kid (see below) and they couldn't even submit "Ladies Choice". The one original song that was actually inserted into the movie with a big dance sequence and not just tacked onto the end credits. ugh. I don't what this song to be nominated. I mean, it's not that great anyway, but it's nice enough. I just don't get the "Ladies Choice" thing. Really, I don't.

From The Heartbreak Kid, "The Tale of the Horny Frog" - I'm not even bothering.

From Honeydripper, "China Doll" - Apparently John Sayles had a movie out this year and it was sort of a musical. I can't find this on iTunes or YouTube.

From The Hottest State, "It Will Stay With Us" (Jesse Harris) and "Never See You" (Brad Mehldau) - I didn't even know this movie had even been released. I actually like these songs though and I'm not usually a big fan of the accoustic stuff that Harris' song is like. I couldn't tell much from the 30-second clip, but the Mehldau song might be nice. Actually, that hole soundtrack looks to be pretty good.

From Into the Wild, "Guaranteed", "Rise" (no clip) and "Society" (Eddie Vedder) - How strange. I'm not a Vedder/Pearl Jam fan but I really liked one of the songs on the Into the Wild soundtrack called "Hard Sun", yet it's not one of the three eligible songs. Ugh. They even made an official video for it! If I had to choose from these three I'd go with "Society" as my favourite, but generally I don't too much care for sort of music. Except "Hard Sun". Again - disappointed.

From Larry Flynt: The Right to be Left Alone, "First Ammendment Blues" - This is a documentary, but I can't find anything about this song. Nevermind, it won't be Oscar nommed. It's impossible for movies nobody has heard of to get nominated, doncha know?!

From The Last Mimzy, "Hello (I Love You)" (Roger Waters) - The Pink Floyd member gives us a really bizarre song for a kids movie. Like, it's really strange. Maybe if the song (and the movie) were better (or merely better suited) then Waters would have a big shot, but I don't think "Hello (I Love You)" will get this rock legend Oscar glory.

From Love in the Time of Cholera, "Despidida" (Shakira) - I am thinking back to when they nominated "Burn it Blue" from Frida. However, in this case, the movie is a flop and it's not likely to get any awards love elsewhere. Poor Shakira will not be able to put "Academy Award winning artist" before her moniker. Or, at least, I don't think she will.

From Lucky You, "Huck's Tune" (Bob Dylan) - Dylan already has an Oscar (for Wonder Boys' original song), but with I'm Not There making Dylan one of the names of the year I could easily see this in the lineup... if the movie wasn't a complete and utter disaster.

From Meet the Robinsons, "Little Wonders" (Rob Thomas) - The Matchbox 20 frontman sings this song that, if I did just read that it was from Meet the Robinsons, I would just think was another bland Matchbox 20 song.

From Meet the Robinsons, "Another Believer" (Rufus Wainwright) - Does anyone else love that Disney hired Rufus Wainwright to sing a song on Meet the Robinsons. I'm not a big Rufus fan (I'm all about Martha), but I quite like this song. Feels more in tune to a movie like Meet the Robinsons that the silly "Little Wonders".

From Music and Lyrics, "Way Back Into Love" (Hugh Grant and Haley Bennett) and "Pop! Goes My Heart" (Hugh Grant) - If Music and Lyrics hadn't been released so long ago and hadn't been dismissed as folly then I wouldn't put it past them to nominate "Way Back Into Love". Hey, Hustle & Flow got nominated for showing us the genesis of music. But, alas... iTunes tells me that that is Hugh Grant singing, but that doesn't sound like him at all, right? And I still say "Pop! Goes My Heart" is a funny '80s pastiche. If you remove the video the song is actually alright. I need to stop talking.

From Music Within, "Ordinary People" (Unknown) - I... got nothin. I can't even find who sings this let alone be able to listen to it.

From Nancy Drew, "Pretty Much Amazing" (Joanna) - For a second I though it was "Joanne" and that woulda been amazing, indeed. Remember Joanne? Jo-Jo-Joanne. However, this Joanna girl seems to have made a career out of making songs for soundtracks to movies like Nancy Drew, Legally Blonde and Bratz. Needless to say, Joanna won't be performing this song on Oscar night.

From Once, "Falling Slowly" and "If You Want Me" (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova) - For me "Falling Slowly" was the best part of Once both musically and cinematically, a film that I didn't particularly care for. "If You Want Me" on the other hand, while not exactly "bad" doesn't really scream "OSCAR" to me. Was the song that they sing in the record studio deemed ineligible or what? I hope "Falling Slowly" gets the nod and that's it. Sorry Once fans.

From Ratatouille, "Le Festin" (Camille) - Charming french song from the Pixar film. I'd say this song is really in contention actually as the music branch of the Academy has been very open to international music as of the last few years (hello "Belleville Rendezvous", even awarding a song not in English in 2005 (from The Motorcycle Diaries).

From Resurrecting the Champ, "Land of Quiet Poems" (Chris Stills) - Sorry, but no. The song isn't on YouTube but it is on iTunes.

From September Dawn, "Love Will Still Be There" ( - Can't find it to listen to it. Nor do I particularly care. I mean, it's not even on the soundtrack!

From Shrek the Third, "Royal Pain" (The Eels) - Oh the things I do for you people! I actually listened to the entire 2 minutes and 28 seconds of this song. Nice to know Dreamworks are still making weirdo alt bands sing theme songs to their movies. As if "Accidentally In Love" wasn't bad enough!

From Stardust, "Rule the World" (Take That) - Okay, seriously, I don't even like them but I think I would die of laughter if "Rule the World" was nominated and TAKE THAT got to perform at the ceremony. Hello! TAKE THAT!!! Man, oh man. Unfortunately, I don't think there's a hope in hell of it happening with this drippy song from Stardust. Even if it better than most of the songs from their last album put together. /snark

From Transformers, "Before It's Too Late (Sam and Mikaela's Theme)" - LOL, who knew the GooGoo Dolls were still making music? And movie theme songs still. Anyway, Unless your song is written by Diane Warren then songs like this from big Hollywood effects extravaganzas don't tend to get nominated. Speaking of which, does anyone know if "Signal Fire" by Snow Patrol in Spider-Man 3 was ineligible? I actually like that song!

Off topic - Man, Shia is a cutie in that movie, isn't he? But y'all already knew that, didn't you?

From Waitress, "Baby Don't You Cry" (Quincy Coleman) - Co-written by the late Adrienne Shelley, "Baby Don't You Cry" is the sweet/nausiating (depending on how you look at it) lullaby from Waitress. If it gets nominated it'll be because the music branch wanted to give some love to Shelley.

From Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, "Beautiful Ride", "Walk Hard" and "Let's Duet" - If they're going to nominate a song from this movie - and it's entirely possible now that I don't think Hairspray will get in - I would suspect they'd go with "Let's Duet". I suppose it is this movie's "A Kiss At the End of the Rainbow" to "Walk Hard" being "A Mighty Wind". Make sense?

From The Water Horse, "Back Where You Belong" (Sinead O'Connor) - Pretty song, shame about the movie it's attached to.

And that is that. Phew. I was hoping either of the two songs from Jindabyne - "The Way That I Love You" and "Jindabyne Fair" - would have been submitted. But, half-arsed as the studio probably were, they were not.

After all of that I reckon you can already eliminate about 50 of the 59 songs. I say the Oscar shortlist will look something like this:

Enchanted - "That's How You Know"
Into the Wild - "Guaranteed"
Once - "Falling Slowly"
Ratatouille - "Le Festin"
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story - "Let's Duet"

We'll see, folks. We'll see. I'm probably entirely wrong.

Now, what I want to know is this: Can the Academy get away with getting Queen Latifah to announce this category yet again or will they eventually get someone else? It's like Cameron Diaz and the animated film category!


Rural Juror said...

I took one look at those 3 Hungarian musical songs and went, "Ummmm . . .not happening"

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for getting all these links in one place. That must have been a lot of work. Do you think the "Joanna" who sings the song from Nancy Drew could possibly be Joanna 'JoJo' Levesque? You can look her up on IMDB, she was in Aquamarine with Emma Roberts.

Anonymous said...

I actually liked "So Close". It played a major part in the film, and the entire song was played for that ballroom scene. I'm hoping it gets nominated, but because the singer isn't a big name, I doubt it

Catherine said...

I would keel over with glee if "Lyra" got nominated. "Once" is probably in with a good shot though - kinda mixed feelings about the film after I watched it. I enjoyed it, but afterwards I wondered whether it was the novelty of seeing places I know really really well in a film, or whether it was the film itself.

steve said...

Yeah, So Close actually works very well in the context of the movie (that guy actually performs it, too!). I'm glad it didn't go all Josh Groban at the end with these ridiculous crescendos. Either way, I may or may not have swooned during that scene, and if I did, the song helped get me there.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Catherine, I thought Kate Bush had a great shot with the Golden Globes, but she missed out there and I just don't think it's Oscary enough. The Golden Compass isn't The Lord of the Rings.

Rural Juror said...

Personally, I really hate that kate Bush song. It's so . . literal. "Lyra is riding a polar bear, to save her friend, and find herself . . ."

Kamikaze Camel said...

Hahah, I never actually listened to the lyrics, is that what they say? That's sort of amazing.

Dave said...

I think Lyra is quite dull, I'm highly disappointed. Kate, you can do better than that!

I'd agree with you on Hard Sun being the best from Into the Wild, but apparently it's a cover of an Indio song (whoever they are), so obviously it's not original. Shame.

Is it bad that I really like the Shakira song?

J.D. said...

Joanna Pacitti (who I did think was JoJo for a moment bcuz of lack of information) is a pretty good singer, in the kinda-generic girl-poppy way. Her "Let It Slide" is actually awesome. No, seriously. [ducks]

If "Le Festin" doesn't make it, a pox will descend on the music branch. A POX.

mel said...

So Close is a great song especially considering how it suited that particular scene in the movie. But I doubt it will be nominated.

Re Ladies Choice: It's a much better song than Come So Far, I agree. Oh and if it had made the cut, Zac Efron would be singing it?

IdoKadman said...

My Oscar Prediction:

Enchanted - "So close"
Enchanted - "That's How You Know"
Into the Wild - "Guaranteed"
Ratatouille - "Le Festin"
Hairspray - "Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)"

I'm afraid Once is too indie and will be ignored... :(