Maybe you’re trying to watch all the Oscar-nominated movies, maybe you’re not. But if there’s one category you can check off the list, it’s the Original Songs. The Best Picture movies would take over 20 hours to watch, but this one takes 20 minutes. See below for links to every song nominated for an Oscar this year, plus a few opinions of course.
This song is easily my favorite. I’m not sure I’ll get to watch Jim: The James Foley Story before Sunday, but I found out that Sting performed “The Empty Chair,” co-written with J. Ralph, and I had to give it a listen. It reminds me of something, but I’m not sure what. Maybe some of the later, quieter Peter Gabriel songs, definitely some Tom Waits, a little Kasey Anderson. I really like it.
At the time this post goes up I haven’t seen Moana yet, but I do like “How Far I’ll Go.” It’s definitely got a “typical Disney” sound, but that’s not a bad thing. While I think it lacks a truly original feel, it’s still a lovely song, and it’s performed so well by Auli’i Cravalho.
I think “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from Trolls is catchy, but it’s also been horrifically overplayed, at least in San Diego. I haven’t seen the movie and didn’t know where the song came from. It’s not Justin Timberlake’s fault that the song is being played to death, so I won’t blame him that I have to switch stations every time it comes on. That being said, I think it’s a little too poppy to get an Oscar.
I swear I am going to see La La Land before the Oscars, if for no other reason than I’ll get to check 14 boxes off my Oscar list when I do. “City of Stars” and “Audition” don’t really resonate with me at the moment, but it’s not really fair to them to say so: I haven’t seen the movie, and songs from musicals sometimes aren’t as thrilling if you don’t know the story behind them. I think Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone do a fantastic job in both, much better than anything I could do, but they don’t have the musical polish of some of the other nominees. But they’re primarily actors, not singers, so the fact that their songs got nominated at all is a testament to both the writers, the accompanists, and their own talents. (EDITED to add: okay, I finally saw La La Land, now I see where some of the hype is coming from. Both of them did an amazing job, both in the singing and the dancing. I still like “The Empty Chair” a bit better, but both songs are a lot more meaningful and fun if you’ve seen them in context.)
Predictions: I’d dearly love for “The Empty Chair” to get the Oscar, but I’m thinking one of the two La La Land songs is more likely, “City of Stars” if I have to choose.
For our ever-growing collection of 2017 Oscar reviews, head here!