For Your Consideration: Best Original Song
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations yesterday morning for the 91st Academy Awards. This year’s Oscars ceremony has already been a topic of conversation following the possibility of a popular film category and their struggle to find a host. We always love to see which films are nominated for all of the different categories, which has inspired our blog series until the ceremony on February 24th. Each week we’ll be breaking down one of the categories, and while we will be primarily focusing on the big four, I thought it would be fun to start off with a category I always enjoy: Best Original Song.
So, let’s take a quick look at the nominees and how we think they managed to grab the nomination.
1) "All the Stars" (Black Panther)
Music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith); Lyric by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solana Rowe
Black Panther has done incredibly well on the nomination side of things, and this song is one aspect of that. Not only did this song blow up whenever the soundtrack was released, a lot of the lyrics personify the different struggles going on with a variety of characters in the film. Plus, it’s use during the sequence in the South Korean club is pretty perfect in setting the atmosphere. It’s catchy, meaningful, and used in the perfect place within the film itself, which is what ultimately led it to gain the nomination.
2) "I'll Fight" (RBG)
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“So I'll fight, fight that war for you
I'll fight, stand and defend you…”
I don’t think songs from documentaries usually garner this much attention during awards season, but this song performed by Jennifer Hudson prevails. It seems to be the perfect song for a woman who not only fought desperately to be a litigator at a time when that was rare for women but has been fighting for different rights ever since.
I also think the song has a lot of meaning and inspires its listeners, which is part of the reason that it belongs on this list.
3) "The Place Where Lost Things Go" (Mary Poppins Returns)
Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
“Nothing's gone forever
Only out of place…”
Mary Poppins Returns is packed with a lot of different songs, but this was by far my personal favorite from the film. I know I am biased about this film and Emily Blunt’s performance as the magical nanny, but this movie had a lot of serious themes underlying the fun and nonsense. This song is an example of that as the Banks children still struggle with the loss of their mother.
My point is that this song makes me incredibly emotional, and the emotional impact of this song and the issue it addresses is what puts it firmly on this list of nominees.
4) "Shallow" (A Star is Born)
Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
“In all the good times I find myself
Longing for change
And in the bad times I fear myself…”
A Star is Born is full of several beautiful songs, but “Shallow” is definitely the one that stands out from the rest. The song is a pivotal moment for the characters. It’s the song that she shares with him on their first night out, and it is also the song that ultimately launches her career. It’s a recurring melody throughout the story, and its lyrics tell a story all on its own.
I think it captures the themes and emotions of the characters extremely well at different times, and if there was one song that I knew would be on this list, it was “Shallow.”
5) "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs)
Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
He shalt be saved
When a cowboy trades
His spurs for wings…”
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is definitely an interesting film, and I suppose I should not be surprised that one of its eclectic songs ended up on this list. This film is comprised of several different stories, and Buster Scruggs is only one of them. However, they are all funny in their own ironic way, and this particular song fits into that same mold. It’s literally a song about a cowboy who has been shooting people that is trading in his spurs for wings and heaven.
It’s unlike any other, and in that way, I can see how it managed to find itself as an Oscar nominee.
Since we have given some thoughts on each nominee, who do we think will take the category?
While we like all of these songs and find them to be real contenders, we think that “Shallow” from A Star is Born will end up winning the category. A Star is Born has received a ton of love from the Academy, and for a movie that focuses on musicians, I think this only makes sense.
So, stay tuned next week as we discuss the nominees from another Oscars category!
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.