Last year I did an exhaustive entry featuring all 59 eligible contenders for Oscar's Best Original Song category. And so I thought I'd do the same this year, naturally. There are 49 contenders this year. Just glancing over the list I can see notable omissions - Huey Lewis' "Pineapple Express" and "All Dressed in Love" from Sex and the City: The Movie for example - that lead to me think they were merely not submitted because I don't think there's any denying that the song is original. Oh well. It's still eligible for The UMAs, of course.
List courtesy of Awards Daily.
From Australia, "By the Boab Tree" (Angela Little) - I can't find audio of this anywhere unfortunately - and, for the record, the Angela Little who co-wrote and performs the song is NOT the pornish actress Angela Little that IMDb links to (her trivia section includes her measurements - lovely) and is instead an unsigned singer best known as Ophelia of the Spirits. I remember liking the song and it is by far better than that Elton John dirge that followed it. Why haven't they released a soundtrack for this movie yet? How strange.
From Bolt, "Barking at the Moon" (Jenny Lewis) - Sounds like typical animated film dirge to me about "finding your home" and "loving who you are" etc.
From Bolt, "I Thought I Lost You" (Miley Cyrus & John Travolta) - A Golden Globe nominee, this is the kind of song that the Academy would've nominated five years ago (lest we forget that The Wild Thornburries Movie is an Oscar nominee), but they have since lost their appetite. However, Cyrus and Travolta performing at their show would get "the people" talking so maybe... the song isn't all bad, really, but it's hardly Oscar-worthy.
From Cadillac Records, "Once in a Lifetime" (Beyoncé) - Another Golden Globe nominee, I wondered if, upon listening to it, I wasn't listening to a dance remix of or something? It's hardly the sort of the music I associate with the music of Motown, which is why I don't think it will be Oscar nominated. Having said that, it's actually better than anything on I Am... Sasha Fierce (except for "Single Ladies", natch).
From The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, "The Call" (Regina Spektor) - As much as I'd love to see Regina Spektor on stage at the Oscars performing, I don't think "The Call" is a particularly good song. It's quite awful, actually. Now if she'd written a song like "Us" or "Fidelity"... I'd be there with bells on.
From Dark Streets, "It Ain't Right" (Etta James) and "Too Much Juice" (Chaka Khan) - You know, with Etta James (who Beyonce portrays in the above Cadillac Records, FREAKY!) and Chaka Khan behind these songs they could've been contenders if a) the songs were any good and b) they were from a movie anybody had heard of. Alas...
From Forgetting Sarah Marshall, "Dracula's Lament" (John Seigal) - Okay, this MUST be nominated, right? Wouldn't that be amazing. And while there's no clip of the puppet performance on YouTube can you just imagine it? It would be great. I actually think it could very well be nominated. It's genuinely quite good and it's incorporated into the film like so few songs were this year. Hmmm.
From Fuel, "Drive" (Unknown) - Even the film's website doesn't appear to elaborate on who sings this mysterious song called "Drive". Anybody know?
From Gran Torino, "Gran Torino" (Clint Eastwood and Jamie Cullum) - Listening to Eastwood grunt and mumble his way through the opening verse of this Golden Globe-nominated song is excruciating. The Jamie Cullum parts ain't much better. God I hope this song doesn't get nominated.
From Hamlet 2, "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" (Cast of Hamlet 2) - I liked it better when it was Chris Lilley singing about girls overdosing on ecstasy. It's not even funny. Ugh. I have such a vendetta against this movie.
From High School Musical 3, "Can I Have This Dance", "High School Musical", "I Want it All", "Just Getting Started", "Just Wanna Be With You", "A Night to Remember", "Now or Never", "Right Here Right Now" and "Scream" - If we must have one of the High School Musical songs nominated - and considering the number of spots the film fills in the list, I'm thinking perhaps one will - then please let it be "I Want It All". The only one that's actually, ya know, any good. Plus, the chance to see Ashley Tisdale performing on stage at the Oscars would be kind of delicious. And it even has an Oscar reference. Win win.
From The Lodger, "Di Notte" (Unknown) - I'm not even sure IMDb has this film in their system.
From Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, "" (will.i.am) - It would be a nomination for this sort of song that gives this category a bad name.
From My Blueberry Nights, "The Story" (Norah Jones) - With a song title as bland as Norah Jones herself I wasn't expecting much from this song and... yeah, it ain't that great. Whatever NEXT!
From My Dream, "The Code of Life" (Unknown) - Yet another song I've never heard from a movie that barely even has an IMDb profile.
From Nothing but the Truth, "Nothing but the Truth" (Coby Jones) - Doesn't sound at all like I would expect a song from this movie to sound like. Considering it's yet another credit sequence song and it's not by a music legend I don't expect we'll be hearing it at the Oscar ceremony.
From Nights in Rodanthe, "In Rodanthe" (Emmylou Harris) - I haven't seen Nights in Rodanthe - can you blame me? - but I think I have a soft spot for this song by Emmylou Harris (legend. fact.) I can't find more than a 30-second grab, but try and seek out the entire version, it's really lovely.
From Prey the Devil Back to Hell, "Djoyigby" (Angelique Kidjo) - Not sure what this song sounds like as I can't seem to find it anywhere. Has anybody seen this documentary and can attest to the song?
From Pride and Glory, "Waterline" (Sage Francis) - No, I don't think so.
From Quantum of Solace, "Another Way to Die" (Jack White & Alicia Keys) - Oh hell now!
From Rachel Getting Married, "Up to Our Nex" (Robyn Hitchcock) - Am loving this song, but it's so not the Academy's aesthetic. Wish it were, but it's just not happening.
From Repo! The Genetic Opera, "Chase the Morning", "Chromaggia" and "Zydrate Academy" - As much as I'd love a movie like this to be nominated purely for "fuck you" sake, I don't think it will or should happen based on the songs that have been submitted. And if, for some reason unknown to anybody, the Academy wants Paris Hilton on stage performance a song... here's their chance!
From Role Models, "Broken and Bent" (Peter Salitt) - I don't think so, do you?
From Save Me, "Code of Silence" (Unknown) - I mean honestly?! Why bother?
From Slumdog Millionare, "Jai Ho" (AR Rahman) - Well, I reckon this song is getting nominated and what a performance this'll be, huh? But it's funny, this song (being a Bollywood-style song mixed with electronic beats) wouldn't have even been considered if the movie it was from wasn't the Best Picture frontrunner. I mean, it's kind of silly and not at all their taste, but... well, that's what a well-received film does for ya.
From Slumdog Millionare, "O Sayo" (AR Rahman & M.I.A.) - Who doesn't want M.I.A. to perform at the Oscars? It'd be one of the night's big highlights surely. It won't happen, but it's nice to dream.
From Synecdoche, New York, "Little Person" (Jon Brion) - If you like Jon Brion then I imagine you like this song. Alas, I don't think the Academy are fans. "Knock Yourself Out" is still one of the best Best Original Song nominees they never nominated. Er, make sense?
From Tennessee, "Right to Dream" (Mariah Carey) - Oh, Mariah. No.
From They Killed Sister Dorothy, "Forever" (Unknown) - What's with all these documentaries having songs that aren't available to be heard anywhere?!
From Trouble the Water, "Trouble the Water" (Kimberly Roberts) - Nice little hip-hop track from this Hurricane Katrina documentary, performed by the film's central subject. Thanks to Guy and Dawn for passing on the information as well as the song link.
From Wanted, "The Little Things" (Danny Elfman) - There's no way this song is getting nominated. Can you tell I'm getting warn out by all these unnecessary songs? Really, what is the point of making a song for the Wanted credits? It's not like people are buying the soundtrack and thus providing royalties. I just don't get it. Was Danny Elfman just so moved by the movie that he had to write a song for it? Meh...
From Wall-E, "Down to Earth" (Peter Gabriel) - Even if this song weren't written by Peter Gabriel I'm sure it would've been nominated because it's just so good. I don't like knowing Phil Collins has an Oscar for something like "You'll Be In My Heart", don't you?
From The Women, "Count on Me" (Lucy Schwartz) - Just run a bath why don't you?
From The Wrestler, "The Wrestler" (Bruce Springsteen) - As much as Bruce Springsteen is my god and all, I was worried that people would look down on him going back into film song writing, but I'll be damned if "The Wrestler" isn't another great track. Sure, it's no "Streets of Philadelphia" and probably not even a "Dead Man Walking", but with Springsteen you're always destined for something great and great this is. And any chance to see him perform is a chance I will take.
From Yes Man, "Yes Man" and "Sweet Ballad" (Munchhausen by Proxy) - I like the latter song, but like many others on the list it is just so not the Academy's style. I like Zooey Deschenel as a singer and the song is quite amusing ("whore whore whore"). I can't find the film's title song though, which is a shame. I'm not exactly sure why none of The Eels' songs were submitted though.
And that's it, folks! But, naturally, I have to make some predictions. If the Academy chooses to only have three nominees - very likely I would say - then I think the best bets are Springsteen's "The Wrestler", Gabriel's "Down to Earth" and "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire. If they're going to extend it to five then maybe throw in "Once in a Lifetime" from Cadillac Records, "I Want it All" from High School Musical 3 or, as horrifying as it is to even contemplate, "Gran Torino". They do love their Clint!