Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sing a Song of Oscars

now, a post with music

As you may have heard there are 49 eligible songs in play for Oscar nominations in the Academy's most dubious award: Best Original Song. You may have heard that... but have you heard them? Now in theory the Best Original Song category can give the audience really wonderful entertainment breaks from all of the canned banter, orchestra drowned speeches and annual "we have no time management skills!" confessionals (some people refer to those as 'film montages'). But it's only a theory as sometimes we have to worry about the Academy's taste level in this category.

I thought I'd share some audio with y'all re: this category. If you're not interested and you'd rather just sleep, here's a minute of Clint Eastwood singing "Gran Torino" to use as lullaby.

If all it takes to win an Oscar is some raspy whispering @ the piano, can I have one? I can play.

If Clint makes the cut you might hear his songsmithing onstage before he picks up his fifth Oscar.

Someone you won't be hearing is Jennifer Hudson. Her Sex & The City number "All Dressed In Love" didn't make the eligibility cut, despite already being on those pricey For Your Consideration ads. But then, JHud probably didn't need that extra pressure of performing at the Oscars anyway. Our heart still goes out to her. In much happier news, we all dodged a bullet: the absolutely horrific Elton John "Drover's Theme" from Australia isn't eligible. Whew. That doesn't mean you won't see über famous rock stars on the stage. It could get very star studded with Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Norah Jones, Bruce Springsteen and other household names within the range of possibility.

Here's a musical sample I prepared for you of eligible songs that might get nominated (you can purchase them all on iTunes). If you'd like to follow along as you listen you're hearing promotional bits from:
  1. Mariah Carey "Right to Dream"
  2. Regina Spektor's "The Call" from the second Narnia movie
  3. Bruce Springsteen "The Wrestler"
  4. Deanne Storey singing Jon Brion's "Little Person" from Synecdoche New York
  5. doing "The Travelling Song" from Madagascar 2
  6. Beyoncé "Once in a Lifetime"
  7. "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" from Hamlet 2 (hee)
  8. "Dracula's Lament" from Forgetting Sarah Marshall (hee hee)
  9. Miley Cyrus and John Travolta singing "I Thought I Lost You" from Bolt
  10. Jack White & Alicia Keys "Another Way to Die" the new Bond song (please note: Oscar doesn't like James Bond)
  11. Peter Gabriel's WALL•E contribution "Down to Earth"
  12. Robyn Hitchcock "Up To Our Nex" from Rachel Getting Married
  13. Norah Jones "The Story" from her film debut My Blueberry Nights
  14. Danny Elfman "Little Things" from Wanted
  15. Chaka Khan "Too Much Juice"
  16. Emmylou Harris spends Nights "In Rodanthe"
  17. Etta James "It Ain't Right" from Dark Streets (that's also where the Chaka Khan song is from).

Yes that's right. There's a thin possibility that both Etta James and the woman playing her in Cadillac Records (that'd be Beyoncé if you're just waking up from the Clint nap) will be taking the stage at the Kodak to perform.

Before I let you go I want to subject you to little snippets from the High School Musical 3 numbers they're pushing. 11 "songs" are eligible but they're only pushing 4 and due to Academy rules only 2 can be nominated. Let's pray it's 0. I mean, wouldn't nominating those tinny ditties be rather like having nominated the Thundercats or Jem theme songs for EMMY's? 'Jem, Jem, truly outrageous. Truly truly outrageous.' That's what the songs sound like: Saturday morning jingles.

With musical-theater loving Bill Condon (Dreamgirls) directing and Hugh Jackman hosting this year's Academy Awards the show might get really musical. We can at least assume that the nominated songs will be showcased. I never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever want to see another Oscar night where they hire a celebrity to do a medley of virtually all of the numbers (that Beyoncé year *shudder*) It's so disrespectful to the original performers plus: it's monotonous! But then again...I suppose if they nominate songs that aren't performed by the actual musicians they could always have Hugh Jackman high-kicking whilst belting out the songs.

Can you imagine him shimmying and shaking to "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire? I know I can...

If you're still reading I'm your biggest fan. For a full list of the 49 songs the Oscar's music branch can vote on and many other bits of awards info, you can head over to my impossibly busy Oscar prediction pages. Five songs or less (you never know) will be announced as actual nominees on January 22nd, 2009.


adam k. said...

Don't you mean Clint's 6th oscar? If he's up for songwriting, too, he'll probably win both ; )

ftr, I did sort of read the whole post, though I skimmed over/skipped a little because it's late and I'm tired.

adam k. said...

Unfortunately neither of the music links worked for me : ( So I can't be lulled to sleep by Clint, or listen to any of the other songs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but hoping HSM3 gets in. May not be your cup of tea, but they're the songs from a movie that got a whole generation excited about going to the cinema to see a musical, and for that I think there's room to be found.


J.D. said...

The anti-HSM-ism is much more frustrating than I anticipated. *sigh*

Walter L. Hollmann said...

i'm rooting for little person. so pretty, so haunting.

Glenn Dunks said...

ahem. That's (almost) all 49 songs right there. I tried to find all of them but couldn't come up with the songs from Fuel, Australia, The Lodger, My Dream, Prey the Devil Back to Hell, Save Me, They Killed Sister Dorothy and Role Models.

Adam said...

It's official, I'm putting by ballot in for Jem. She IS truly outrageous.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone really imagine Miley Cyrus as an oscar nominee ? If that happens, me and the oscars are through... Please assure me she won't be nominated, PLEASE, I'm desperate here! On IMDB, they're already proclaiming her the winner over Bruce Springsteen.

Emma said...

I'd love to see Jenny Lewis, M.I.A. and Regina Spektor at the Oscars.

Failing that, I'd like a verse of "Now or Never" or two. :)

jahs34 said...

Dracula's lament please, best song ever.

Anonymous said...

I'm loving a guy who dances. And I'm certainly loving it that Hugh Jackman is hosting the Oscars. He's great! Laid-back, Australian, funny, charming...and well of course very sexy.
Oscarwise...I hope that Mickey Rourke and Heath Ledger get a golden statue.


sorry about the music. the post is fixed


adam k if you skimmed and skipped, then sorry: I'm not your biggest fan.

j.d. sorry. [nathaniel's grumpy old man moment] I'm really against the tweenifying of culture. Why do adults now like what 10 year olds like? Between this and the superhero craze you'd think nobody wanted to deal with adult reali... oh! never mind.

it's all making sense.

I guess I should watch that movie just to see but the songs sound just a step up above jingles to me and the squeaky clean worship of jocks and cheerleaders sounds so boring and corporate mandated status quo to me. blech.

jahs34 if dracula's lamnet gets nominated would'nt it be the shortest song ever? isn't it less than 2 minutes long?

adam i didn't really mean to diss JEM. I mean, yes: Outrageous!

mariposa sorry but i'm pretty certain that Miley will be. that songs sounds so Oscar nominee to me. And we're back to the tweenifying of the culture. wheeeeee

Anonymous said...

I don't get why Clint didn't find someone else to sing that song. It really doesn't sound very good (and I love Clint).

What was it Billy Crystal said to Clint at the Oscars a few years ago?

"You sang in Paint Your Wagon. Please don't sing again" :-D

Or something like that. You should have listened Clint!

I hope Bruce Springsteen wins this category but I also hope for a nomination for Miley Cyrus. How great would that be? Just to see people bitch about it will be worth it all. I mean if Eminem can win an Oscar, then Hannah Montana can definitely be a nominee..!

Anonymous said...

I resent the return to the tweenifying of culture. I hope we only get three nominees like in 2005... And those nominees would be ... The Wrestler, Wall*E and that dracula song.


Michael in all fairness after that intro minute another male singer takes over from Clint and the song gets better. But I didn't want to include the whole song since, well, piracy issues.

mariposa i think there's enough good songs to give us 5... like that Norah Jones song is pretty enough... or the Etta James? or the Robyn Hitchcock... but they ignore the good songs a lot of times. Like, what do they have against jon brion as a composer? He's so brilliant. I'm not particular crazy about this one "LITTLE PERSON" but he writes beautiful interesting music.

Anonymous said...

Well, I only want three nominees just to bump out Miley Cyrus. I have an irrational hate towards her. She's soooooo irritating. And there's no way I want to see John Travolta perform live! If they have to, please let this be the nominees:

The Wrestler (Bruce Springsteen)
Down to Earth (Peter Gabriel)
The Call (Regina Spektor)
Jai Ho (don't know who sings this)
In Rodanthe (Emmylou Harris)


mariposa i'm just trying to prepare you now: MILEY & TRAVOLTA will be on the stage... god help us all.

just pray that the other 4 songs are really excellent with cool performers.

i mean at least we get The Boss and Peter Gabriel, right?

Katey said...

As much as I was disappointed by Hamlet 2, seeing "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" on Oscar night would thrill me.

So long as Peter Gabriel or Bruce Springsteen wins, that is. I don't even care which.

Joe Reid said...

I think everybody is clearly missing the comedy potential of a Miley Cyrus/John Travolta performance. I'll gladly sacrifice a Regina Spektor nod for that.


point: Joe

Anonymous said...

These songs do not at all reflect my idea of a great movie song. Not one of them will be remembered down the line. Here are my criteria: a memorable melody, meaningful lyrics, an indelible connection to the film which recalls that film each time you hear the song. I guess that my definition of Best Song is wrong. Just get a well known singing star to write a song for your movie and a nomination will follow, it seems, whether the song is a good one or not, whether it enriches the film or not. I am so disappointed in this category. By the way, the only song that scores for me in 2 of the 3 criteria I listed is Rock Me Sexy Jesus, and I would hate for that one to take the Oscar.


anon i don't know. I think THE WRESTLER theme is really connected to the movie. Or at least it feels very soulfully "right" for the material.

Anonymous said...

The previous anonymous poster is absolutely right. Weak field. I suspect The Wrestler and Wall-E will make it in and deservedly. I haven't heard Slumdog Millionaire, but ditto. I really hope Miley doesn't get nominated - it might have a connection to the film, but it has a lousy, forgettable melody. I thought there were some stronger ones than even the Beyonce one. Would love to see Rock Me Sexy Jesus, and given their recent trends, wouldn't be too surprising. Please no Bond song. Etta and Chaka sounded nice, but in a film no one has seen. Please no Clint warbling. Mariah's sounded forgettable.

Anonymous said...

big fan of little person

also a nod for trouble the water would be awesome!

E Dot said...

Please Oscar Gods, give Regina Spektor a nomination!


anon 5:56 I will pee my pants and broadcast it on youtube if trouble the water gets nominated.

i think that would scare the academy to death! (both the song and my loss of bladder control)

Θbsєssiσn Λ said...

Mariah deserves the Oscar...
Hers song is wonderful...Touching...

Cedric said...

I think that Peter Gabriel's song from WALL-E and Bruce Springsteen's song from The Wrestler are safe pics. I'm also have a feeling that Emmylou Harris will get in. As for the other two spots, I am really hoping for two from HSM3, seriously. HSM3 has a good set of songs that are relevant to the story.

Anonymous said...

I like "Littler Person" and "By the Moab Tree"...

Anonymous said...

I like "Little person" and "By the Moab tree".

skyone23 said...

I like "Little person" and "By the Moab tree".