Awards analysis is provided by Sean from @MathTeacherMovies.
There is no category that I lament the nominations, wins, and losses more than Best Original Song. From the criminal snubs, to the baffling nominations, to the unfortunate wins, the Academy never seems to get it right.
Of course, recents wins that were on target include “Shallow” from A Star is Born, “Remember Me” from Coco, and “Skyfall” from… guess. But the cloudy days outweigh the sunny ones in this category.
It’s not so much that bad songs win. Rather, few good songs are nominated, which leaves the Academy with little opportunity. Sing Street, Into the Wild, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World are some examples of movies with songs that deserved to be nominated. But one of the most sinful snubs was “That Thing You Do” from the film of the same name: the song wasn’t just good; it drove the entire film.
The other problem with the original song category is that many of the songs take place during the end credits, tacked on at the end like an afterthought having nothing to do with the film. This is the case for this year’s possible nominees on the Oscar shortlist:
- “Turntables” from “All In: The Fight for Democracy”
- “See What You’ve Done” from “Belly of the Beast”
- “Wuhan Flu” from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”
- “Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
- “Never Break” from “Giving Voice”
- “Make It Work” from “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”
- “Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
- “Io Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)”
- “Rain Song” from “Minari”
- “Show Me Your Soul” from “Mr. Soul!”
- “Loyal Brave True” from “Mulan”
- “Free” from “The One and Only Ivan”
- “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami…”
- “Green” from “Sound of Metal”
- “Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Lacking originality, some of the titles in this list seem like they came out of social justice word search. There are also songs on this list from movies that didn’t get a lot of buzz this year. While that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be nominated, it’s an odd placement.
Some of the potential nominees are fun songs from comedies. “Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm is hysterical and most definitely would be a fun nomination, but that can’t seriously be considered an actual song. Meanwhile, “Husavikc” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is a charming, moving song that hinges on the film, and, of these potential nominees, should win.
My take: “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami is the most likely to win this year. There is a common practice that when an Oscar nominee that won’t win Best Picture has a song nominated, they will often win for Best Song.
This was not a year for a hit as popular as “Shallow”. Sometimes there are just bad years for the Best Original Song category and there is nothing out there. Other times, there is a complete misunderstanding of what the Best Original Song category should be: the song’s relationship to the movie and how it enhances the film.
Let me know what you think at @mathteachermovies on Instagram.