I'm so excited to see that the music branch of the Academy Awards got their act together this year with their new rules and actually found five nominees. It really seemed like the category was going to disappear as the nominees dwindled each year and new rules were written to fix it. They've pulled out of their tailspin and found five nominees. They aren't necessarily the songs I'd pick, but I can't complain about their choices.
All five nominees below the jump.
"Almost There" written by Randy Newman for The Princess and the Frog:
This is a category that has always been good to Disney and there's normally a good reason: their animated musicals have lovely music. The Princess and the Frog is no exception. If AMPAS stick to the actual performers doing the music, this will be Anika Noni Rose's second live performance at the Oscar telecast, previously featured in the Dreamgirls nominee montage at the 2007 ceremony.
"Down in New Orleans" written by Randy Newman for The Princess and the Frog:
The opening is a nice riff on Disney magic, leading to a fun ragtime-esque tribute to New Orleans. I'm a fan. Except for how it's such an obvious Randy Newman piano riff I wouldn't be surprised if Seth MacFarlane actually wrote it. That's a personal predictability issue with Mr. Short People.
"Loin de Paname" written by Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas for Paris 36:
What a lovely little waltz. To be honest, I had not heard of the film until this nomination. My understanding is its a murder mystery/romance/drama/period piece taking place in and around a music hall in 1930s Paris. If my understanding is correct, this song really captures the feel of that musical period. It'll make a wonderful moment on the telecast.
"Take it All" written by Maury Yeston for Nine:
This is the scene that convinced me Marion Cotillard would be guaranteed a slot on my Best Actress list. It's such a powerful addition to Ninethat I wish there was a way to retrofit it into the stage show; there isn't. The stage musical already has tons of better songs that cover all the necessary emotional notes as this. Still, for a mediocre film adaptation of a polarizing stage show, this was a smart decision. It's also a nice way to ensure Marion Cotillard goes to the ceremony and prove she can sing after winning in a lip-syncing performance for La vie en Rose.
"The Weary Kind" written by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett for Crazy Heart:
Another lovely song nominated for Best Original Song. I'm very excited that my ears shall not be attacked by aggressive give-me-an-awardisms and melisma at the ceremony. It's good to see at least one awards group that realizes there's more to songwriting than fireworks. My understanding is that this is the favorite to win the award and it wouldn't upset me.
For me, I still wish there was a way to fit "All is Love" from Where the Wild Things Are as a nominee, though I knew it wouldn't happen. Still, I'll just pretend it won and fake surprise in a few years when I'm corrected. So much so that I'm embedding the song for the billionth time on this site.
Yeah. That's the stuff.
Or, fat chance, they could have nominated Coraline here to give it a second nomination, even if the sum of the score is greater than the "Other Father Song":
Adorable. But sadly, too short.