OSCAR FORECAST: Best Original Song 2013

Best Original Song Predictions (10/05/12):
Strange Love, Karen O (Frankenweenie)
Midnight Run, Willie Nelson (Lawless)
Celebrate, Jennifer Hudson/Whitney Houston (Sparkle)
Skyfall, Adele (Skyfall)
Learn Me Right, Birdy/Mumford and Sons (Brave)

Best Original Song: Even with the new rules put in place to save this category from extinction, it’s wishful thinking to assume that the year will be filled with all the exciting new acts that have eligible songs. Or is it? If the academy actually starts accepting younger, fresher voices, the telecast could offer a dynamic range of performances from Katy Perry and Florence + The Machine to Karen O and Willie Nelson. Nothing against Randy Newman, but I’d be more than happy to see his brand of Hollywood diddy absent from this year’s nominations.

There’s always a question of eligibility in the music categories. This year, Adele’s “Skyfall” – a song I adore – could be nixed for it’s use of the Bond theme music. If it’s eligible, I’d imagine the Academy would have to be blind (or deaf) to avoid this one. Away from the niche edge of of Karen O or Katy Perry, Adele’s brand of vocals unites instead of separates. She’s a universally loved artist with a song in a much loved franchise – one recently given a more respected reboot. For Adele, I’d say it’s just a matter of eligibility.

The Academy has a thing for lighter, country fair. They also tend to love the musicians they’ve seen around for a while. As a result, Willie Nelson’s energetic tune from Lawless will likely get some attention. The song has a fun quality to it, but it’s highly forgettable to my ears. Sadly, I get the impression a lot of these songs will be heard once and voted upon based on the first impression. This kind of friendly strum-jam can emerge with these types of voting circumstances. Ditto for Birdy + Mumford and Sons’ Learn Me Right. I like the band, yet this particular song plays as flat and hollow to me. Nonetheless, I think it has a good chance of getting in, considering its Oh Brother Where Are Thou undertones. Either way, it wouldn’t be the worst performance to watch live.

Karen O was robbed for Where the Wild Things Are. No original soundtrack that year had as much down-to-earth veracity or visceral connectivity to our cultural disillusionment. The film didn’t play well and it hurt her chances. She wasn’t eligible for her edgy rendition of “Immigrant Song” last year, but I have a strange feeling that one was too extreme for the Academy as well. This time she has a softer song that promotes her unique vocals while also avoiding reminding us of the girl who likes to dress in lingerie, grab her crotch, and pour beer on herself onstage. The Academy might shy away from such things. Sure, they’ve honored rappers in the pasy, but the Academy’s a bunch of old, white men. There’s a way women should behave to these people, dammit. However, this song does nothing but foster Karen O’s artistic prowess. I have a feeling this one might be the winner.

Finally, I’m assuming Whitney Houston’s “Celebrate” from Sparkle could get in as a way to honor the singer who tragically died earlier this year. That might be oversimplifying it, but Houston’s contribution to music in cinema over the past two decades can’t be denied. I wouldn’t put it past the Academy to give her something for her efforts. The song isn’t her strongest, but a touching onstage performance might be born out of it.

Of course, there’s also an Arcade Fire song from The Hunger Games and a Florence + The Machine song from Snow White and the Huntsman. Oh, and there’s that little Tom Hooper musical with all the singing coming out later this year. If nothing else, the two nomination embarrassment from last year will likely be avenged. With all the new blood lined up in this category, if the Academy plays their cards right they could spin this category into an exciting telecast with some fun performances. More people would watch. Not many more, but enough to make the category worth paying attention to again.

Strong Possibilities:
Strange Love, Karen O (Frankenweenie)
Midnight Run, Willie Nelson (Lawless)

Other Possibilities:
Celebrate, Jennifer Hudson/Whitney Houston (Sparkle)
Skyfall, Adele (Skyfall)
Learn Me Right, Birdy/Mumford and Sons (Brave)
Everybody Needs a Friend, Norah Jones (Ted)
Suddenly, Les Misérables (Hugh Jackman)
Fire in the Blood, The Bootleggers/Emmylou Harris (Lawless)
From here to the Moon and Back, Dolly Parton (Joyful Noise)
Abraham’s Daughter, Arcade Fire (The Hunger Games)
Breath of Life, Florence + The Machine (Snow White and The Huntsman)
Wide Awake, Katy Perry: Part of Me (Katy Perry)

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10 Responses to OSCAR FORECAST: Best Original Song 2013

    • Zac Petrillo says:

      That’s a good song. Hadn’t heard it. Certainly should be in the discussion. I wonder how many people have seen the movie though. Also, how is it used? Is it in the credits or is it a major theme? That will be a factor this year.

  1. Linda Palmer says:

    How about “Voodoo” from “Halloween Party”? It should be on the list this year…

  2. Voodoo is by far my favorite song from the Halloween Party movie!!! (=

  3. CJ says:

    Voodoo! Forest is a truly awesome young musician!

  4. Same old names of the same folks..check out Voodoo from Halloween Party. It’s indie and cool and introduces some new names and faces to the game.

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