However, this time around, not only do we have a healthy number of nominated songs to choose from(with two front runners that we'll get to later), at least three of them are connected to films that highlight the struggles of singers. Quite an interesting theme and while it's not too surprising, given that musicians do vote in this category, it's a nice change of pace from the usual.
One of the songs up for Oscar gold is somewhat connected to a previous winner; the film Begin Again was written and directed by John Carney, whose 2007 movie Once received a Best Song award for it's stand out single "Falling Slowly". Begin Again is a similar story with bigger names in the cast, as Mark Ruffalo plays a disgraced record exec seeking redemption by making small time singer/songwriter Keira Knightley's character a star.
The film itself got mixed reviews and sort of came and went at the box office. However, enough folks liked the tune "Lost Stars" from it's soundtrack to grant it a spot here. Adam Levine does sing it for the soundtrack but since it was intended for Knightley's character, I listened to her version of the song. Her vocals are not bad, a decent set of pipes(no Anne Hathaway but still,..) and while some of the lyrics are head scratchers-"it's hunting season and I'm a lamb on the run?"-this is a likable enough melody to play in the background:
Beyond the Lights was another blink and you'll miss it movies this past fall, about a troubled young pop star(played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who should've gotten a Best Actress nom for her performance in Belle) in dire need of relief from the pressures of fame and her back stage mother(Minnie Driver).
While this film also gathered up mixed reviews, one of it's songs "Grateful",sung by Rita Ora, managed to find a place amongst the Best Song nominees. I admit that I only know Rita Ora by name at best but after listening to this, I would like to hear more.
This song is a heart felt number, partly due to Diane Warren writing the lyrics here, and truly beautiful to behold. This is one number that I will look forward to hearing live on Oscar night and not make a bathroom break for:
The film documents his farewell tour as well as the progress of his medical condition. Regardless of how you may feel about country music, Campbell's finale number is quite touching and while I highly doubt he'll be able to perform this song at the awards ceremony, this should be a truly memorable moment that night when it's turn in the spotlight comes up:
That leaves us with the two front runners and despite the intense fan love for the Lego Movie tune, my best bet would be that "Glory" from the soundtrack for Selma wins that night.
It is possible that the Glen Campbell song might gain enough sympathetic support to win instead but I do sincerely think that "Glory" is truly the definition of an Oscar winning song.
If I had to describe the sound of it, the first word that comes to mind is epic. From the soaring elegance of the music to the earnest nature of the lyrics from both John Legend and Common, this is an inspiring number that fits this movie as perfect as a glove. Not to mention that the massive snubs given to Selma might motivate some extra votes.
If this category was truly judged on quality, then "Glory" would be fiercely competing with "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" and for either song to win would be great. It still will be great for one or the other to be honored on Oscar night yet I know that someone will complain somewhere online about either victory. Let's not let that spoil the goodness of a rich selection of Best Songs to choose from for once and just relish the moments of musical glory yet to come: