The music branch announced the long list of 39 contenders for best original song a few weeks ago, and if I have been slow to report on it, you can blame it on the Backson. Of these 39 songs, 28 of them (72%) had been included in my previous predictions. You can see how I am doing in the other categories on my Track Record Page.
When the music branch goes to rank these songs, they get to watch a short excerpt of the movie where the song is featured. This means that songs that are shown as part of the film itself often have a better chance than songs which merely play over the credits, as it gives the members something to look at as well as listen to. However, at least two of the songs this year may suggest a path that will be used more often in the future. In The Help, the end credits play over an extended image of Aibileen walking into the distance, perhaps making it more likely that viewers stayed to listen to The Living Proof. Meanwhile, Winnie The Pooh has incorporates animation into its credits during So Long. If either of these songs receive a nomination, other films may try to emulate these strategies in the hopes of entertaining the branch voters (to say nothing of audiences).
Due to special rules in this category, there may be anywhere from two to five nominees, determined by the average score that the music branch gives each song. Unfortunately, the average score also means that composers have the ability to gang up against a particular song that they don’t like, and there is speculation that in years with less than five nominees, this may be the cause.
Here are today’s rankings for the 84th Oscar Best Song race, with previous ranking shown in parenthesis after each entry. The Muppets won at the Critics Choice awards, but weren’t even nominated for the Golden Globes, opening a path for Mary J. Blige to regain the lead.
As a special treat I have included links so that you can listen to all the songs, but note that some of the videos below include actual scenes from the films, and therefore SPOILERS.
1. Mary J. Blige, Harvey Mason Jr. and Thomas Newman for “The Living Proof” from The Help (previous rank 1)
2. Bret McKenzie for “Life’s A Happy Song” from the Muppets (Opening scene, Finale Song) (previous rank 21)
3. Glenn Close and Brian Byrne for “Lay Your Head Down” from Albert Nobbs (previous rank 3)
4. Alan Menken and David Zippel for “Star Spangled Man” from Captain America: The First Avenger (previous rank 2)
5. Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman for “Pictures In My Head” from The Muppets (previous rank 7)
6. Elton John and Bernie Taupin for “Hello, Hello” from Gnomeo And Juliet (previous rank 10)
7. Zooey Deschanel for “So Long” from Winnie The Pooh (previous rank 4)
8. Chris Cornell for “The Keeper” from Machine Gun Preacher (previous rank 14)
9. Howard Shore, Elizabeth Cotnoir and Isabelle Geffroy for “Coeur Volant” from Hugo (previously ranked 46)
10. Josiah Dean and Ryan Tedder for “The World I Knew” from African Cats (previous rank 8)
11. Bret McKenzie for “Man Or Muppet” from The Muppets (previous rank 38)
12. Jaymay for “Never Be Daunted” from HappyThankYouMorePlease (New)
13. Matt Berninger (The National) for “Think You Can Wait” from Win Win (Previous rank 15)
14. Alecia Moore (Pink) and Billy Mann for “Bridge Of Light” from Happy Feet 2 (previous rank 11)
15. Jon Thor Birgisson (Jonsi) for “Gathering Stories” from We Bought A Zoo (previous rank 17)
16. Ben Leaver for “Imaginary Friends” from Olive (New)
17. Ouseppachan and Sohan Roy for “Dakkanaga Dugu Dugu” from DAM999 (New)
18. J. Ralph for “Hell And Back” from Hell And Back Again (previous rank 9)
19. Daniel Tashian and Mindy Smith for “Taking You With Me” from Our Idiot Brother (New)
20. Sergio Mendes, John Powell, Carlinhos Brown, Mikael Mutti and Siedah Garrett for “Real In Rio” from Rio (previous rank 31)
21. OK Go for “The Greatest Song I Ever Heard” from POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (previous rank 31)
22. Alex Heffes for “Keep On Walking” from The First Grader (Listen to excerpts from the Score or watch the Trailer) (New)
23. Kristen Anderson Lopez and Robert Lopez for “The Backson Song” from Winnie The Pooh (previous rank 26)
24. Brad Paisley and Robbie Williams for “Collision of Worlds” from Cars 2 (previous rank 12)
25. The Shillaly Brothers for “Pop” from White Irish Drinkers (New)
26. Ben Nichols for “Shelter” from Take Shelter (previous rank 23)
27. Elton John and Bernie Taupin for “Love Builds A Garden” from Gnomeo And Juliet (previous rank 22)
28. Gabriel Yared for “When The Heart Dies” from In The Land Of Blood And Honey (Watch the Trailer listen at the Website or download the song on iTunes) (previous rank 47)
29. Melissa Manchester and Mary Steenburgen for “Rainbird” from Dirty Girl (New)
30. Elvis Costello for “Sparkling Day” from One Day (previous rank 32)
31. Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Drew Pearson and Anne Preven for “Where The River Goes” from Footloose (previous rank 16)
32. Ouseppachian and Sohan Roy for “Mujhe Chod Ke” from DAM999 (New)
33. Camane for “Ja Nao Estar” from Jose And Pilar (New)
34. Ester Dean, Carlinhos Brown and Mikael Mutti for “Let Me Take You To Rio” from Rio (previous rank 27)
35. Kraig Jarret Johnson for “Summer Song” from The Music Never Stopped (previous rank 34)
36. Ouseppachan and Sohan Roy for “DAM999 Theme Song” from DAM999 (New)
37. William James Adams (will.i.am) for “Hot Wings” from Rio (previous rank 39)
38. John Powell for “The Mighty Sven” from Happy Feet 2 (New, film previously ranked 11)
39. Holly Palmer for “It’s How We Play” from I Don’t Know How She Does It (skip to 4:30 on video for excerpt) (New)
As always, check the Tracker Pages in the upper right hand corner of this blog for the most updated predictions in all categories!
See Original Song predictions for other years HERE.
If you love music, you might also want to check out the Original Score predictions.
See predictions for other categories at the 84th Oscars HERE.
Switch to another year: 84th, 85th, 86th, 87th, 88th, 89th