If you would have told someone in The Academy's Music Branch that the Best Original Song category would be a battle for Oscar redemption this year, you may have been met with a, “Come again?” Yes, the Academy Awards can't seem to get through a season without snubbing contenders the public, media and even Academy members are embarrassed over. This year, two films have been the center of particular vitriol: “The LEGO Movie” and “Selma.” But one of them may find some small silver lining in the original song category.
Twitter seemed to be on the verge of meltdown the morning of the 87 Academy Awards nominations announcement. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's critically acclaimed blockbuster “The LEGO Movie” was shockingly not included in the Best Animated Feature Film category. This after winning numerous critics' groups honors and earning key guild nominations (many of which it eventually won). The only nomination it received was for the song “Everything is Awesome,” written by Shawn Patterson and performed by Tegan and Sara ft. The Lonely Island. You know, the song you couldn't get out of your head for weeks after seeing the movie? Yeah, that one.
“Selma,” on the other hand, landed a prestigious Best Picture nod, but was snubbed in Directing, Lead Actor, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Costumes and Editing (and you could argue for more). This led to a pretty significant backlash including an #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that was trending online for days and significant babble from cable news talking heads. The movie did, however, earn an Original Song nod for “Glory,” written and performed by John Legend and Common. While “Selma” is a huge longshot for Best Picture (Paramount effectively did not spend in phase two for the movie), it, like “LEGO,” could find redemption in this category.
Of course, the rest of the competition isn't too shabby. There is an emotional story behind “I'm Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I'll Be Me,” although we're doubtful many Academy members saw the documentary. The same could be said for “Grateful,” written by legendary songwriter Diane Warren and the one historic spotlight on the underrated drama “Beyond the Lights.” The other contender Academy members likely caught was summer indie hit “Begin Again.” The film's nominated song is “Lost Stars,” which, frankly, is a pretty wonderful track and integral to the film's storyline. But…
This will be “Glory's” moment. Common and John Legend have performed this song live almost anywhere they could for months. They performed it at Sundance and, most memorably, at the end of the Grammy Awards earlier this month (a performance that will be hard to top during the Oscar show itself). It's a very powerful track that is arguably more important, emotional and memorable than the rest of the competition. Of course, there may be some Academy members who vote for “Everything is Awesome” to attempt to make a point to the Animation Branch, but it would be stunning for “Glory” not to win.
Biggest campaign moment: Tough one. Probably “Glory” performing at the end of the Grammy Awards. It wasn't even nominated there (it will be eligible next year) and was a major “stamp” of approval from the Recording Academy to their cinematic peers.
Will win: “Glory” from “Selma”
Should win: “Glory” from “Selma”