Oscar Music Predictions

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It’s that time of year again, kiddies!  I have to admit that I couldn’t find any music I really liked this year.  None of the nominated songs really connected with me on a musical level, and I didn’t spend much time listening to the scores because I knew which one I was rooting for.

I haven’t seen The Hateful Eight.  I have no desire to see it.  But, come on.  It’s Ennio Morricone.  You try to talk me out of supporting one of the best film composers ever.  (Yeah, I’ve probably rooted against him in the past, but I’m not going to this year.)

As for the nominated songs, I just decided to go with the front-runner, Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You.”

I’ve got no vested interest in anything Lady Gaga does; generally speaking, her music leaves me feeling, well, nothing.  Not good, not bad.  Just meh.  (That’s kind of a damning statement, since a lack of any emotional response means an extreme lack of quality, IMO.)  But she does have vocal talent and passion for her work.  And I totally respect her career choices and the way she is making an effort to stretch herself artistically and stylistically.  It might not be my brand of music, but good on her for busting out of the industry box she’d been put into.

And while I don’t care for this song as a song, I can really get behind the cause.  “Til It Happens to You” is from the documentary The Hunting Ground, which looks critically at the state of sexual assault and violence on college campuses across the country and the (lack of) response from some of our finest institutions of higher learning.  And some of the proceeds are being donated to help victims of sexual assault, so go to iTunes or wherever and buy a copy.  Given the personal stories of Lady Gaga and co-writer Diane Warren and the distressing result of Kesha’s attempt to break away from her abuser, this couldn’t be a more timely piece of work.  Pay attention, folks, because this is an issue that affects every single solitary one of us.  We need to end rape and violence, and an Oscar-winning song can only help make that happen.

Oscar Music Picks

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I’ve been doing my research for the annual family Oscar party.  Here’s my choices for who should win for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.

Song: Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.”

Yeah, “Glory” is the front-runner, and a perfectly good song to boot.  But Glen Campbell’s last recording made me burst into tears.  It is one of the most heartbreaking pieces of music I’ve ever heard.

Score: The Theory of Everything

All the nominated scores are pretty good, to be honest.  I think The Grand Budapest Hotel is more original, but Johann Johannsson’s score is just so gorgeous.  Really good stuff.  And most of the pundits seem to be picking this one as the front-runner.

I won’t be sorry if I’m wrong on these.  If “Glory” wins, that will be fine; like I said, it’s a good song.  And if one of the other scores get the Oscar, that’ll be okay, too.  But I hope I’m right because there are prizes for the most correct picks.  I won a couple of years ago, and I’d like a repeat.

My Musical Oscar Picks

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Well, I ended up getting one of these right.  So, if I were a baseball player, I’d be batting .500 and having an awesome year.

 

I try to give all the  Oscar song and score nominees at least a listen, even if it’s just the samples on itunes.  I heard U2’s “Ordinary Love” after the Golden Globes, and while it was serviceable, it really isn’t the best song nominated.  At best, it’s third behind Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and what I think is going to win.

I must say I’m a little tired of Disney songs winning almost every time one gets nominated, but this really is the best of the batch.  It fits the movie, the character, and it’s excellent musically.  (There’s the added benefit of being kind of empowering for girls, something I always advocate.)

My pick for Best Original Score is Disney related, too.  And like “Let It Go,” it was pretty easy to choose the soundtrack from Saving Mr. Banks.  Compared to the scores for Gravity and Her, it’s lively and interesting.  And unlike Philomena and The Book Thief, it’s not burdened by too much tradition.  It’s the one score that seemed like something I’d be willing to listen to while not watching the movie.

That’s what I think should win; we’ll see if I’m right in a couple of hours.

“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”

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As I was doing a little research for this year’s Oscar party, I found this short film, a nominee for Documentary Short.  (I always have to look up the short film nominees, because I can never find them any other way.)  This is a charming little film of an utterly enchanting woman.  And it is a testament to the power of music.

My life will never be as endangered as Alice Herz-Sommer’s was.  I will never experience what she has.  But I feel the same way about music.  Watch The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.  You’ll understand.

“Shaft”

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Kind of a half-assed post way to early in the day for me.  (Seriously, who decided days should start in the morning?)  Between seeing a movie with BFF and tonight’s family Oscar party, I’m going to just a bit busy.  So you might say you got shafted today.

I present today’s song, Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft” with all the aplomb this funky classic movie tune deserves.  Because it is funky, if a little cheesy.  Okay; it’s a lot cheesy.  But it’s also the Oscar winner from 1972 for Best Original Song.  I wish I could’ve found a clip of Hayes performing it at the awards show, because it was unbelievably cheesy.  And awesome.  This was before advertisers and East Coast residents who didn’t like staying up past their bedtimes on a Sunday forced all the life out of the show.  There are rumors that this year’s program will be more entertaining, but I’m not holding my breath.

Gone to the Movies: Oscar Edition

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Well, it’s that time of year again.  The time I search for short films (animated and live action) on the Internet, and read plot summaries for documentaries.  Time for the Academy Awards.  See, my aunt holds an Oscar party every year–complete with ballots and prizes for whomever guesses the most winners correctly.  I’ve won a couple of times, but last year I got beaten out by my nephew (damn kid).  It’s great fun no matter what.  Everyone has a fine time eating, drinking, and criticizing what everyone’s wearing (we’re not sexist about it either; the boys get criticized as much as the girls).

I usually at least sample all the Best Song nominees, too.  This is one of those awards that usually has a clear front-runner–even if I don’t actually think it’s the best song from a film.  Bob Dylan has an Oscar (for “Things Have Changed”).  Eminem got one, too (“Lose Yourself” from 8 Mile).  Disney movies seem to have the most Best Song awards, but that seems reasonable enough, considering how many of their films prominently feature music.  Of course, the Academy has a history of bone-headed choices (don’t get me started on the “Against All Odds” fiasco).  Original music from films has kind of taken a backseat to using songs that were already recorded somewhere else (one of the rules for nomination is that the song must be especially written for the film).  But there’s one group of movies that always has an original song, and this year, that’s the front-runner for Oscar.

Adele has joined such popular music luminaries as Paul McCartney, Carly Simon, Shirley Bassey, and Duran Duran, and recorded the theme for a James Bond movie.  I think “Skyfall” is actually one of the better Bond songs, but I’m a big Adele fan.  It’s actually kind of mournful and ominous–and considering what I’ve heard about the movie, that’s pretty appropriate.  It’s got the best chance of winning the award on Sunday, although the new song from Les Miserables stands a punter’s chance (Oscar does like musicals, after all).  I’m voting for it, anyway.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go do the rest of my Oscar research.