Best Original Song

Soundtrack Scene: Sia Says Hello to The Neon Demon

siaA photo of Sia (via Celebuzz)

In addition to her five Grammy nominations, alternative songstress-turned-pop chanteuse Sia has landed two Golden Globe nominations for songs she’s contributed to films. However, the motion-picture academy has yet to recognize her work. Will 2016 be the year that changes?

While the vocal powerhouse behind “Chandelier” and “Breathe Me” co-wrote “Try Everything” for Disney’s recent masterpiece Zootopia – no, it’s not too early to say that – something tells me that a song so poppy won’t impress AMPAS’ music branch – especially when the song failed to hit it big on pop radio.

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Soundtrack Scene: Miss You Already

missyoualready_pic
Diane Warren could very well win her first Oscar this year for “Till It Happens to You,” which she wrote alongside Lady Gaga for Kirby Dick’s The Hunting Ground. But will the seven-time Academy Award nominee enjoy her first year of multiple nominations – and join the likes of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, Elton John and Tim Rice, Henry Kreiger, and A.R. Rahman?

Warren contributes two new tracks to Catherine Hardwicke’s Miss You Already: “The Crazy Ones” by Paloma Faith and “What We Leave Behind” by Labrinth. The dramedy stars Drew Barrymore and Academy Award nominee Toni Collette as best friends in different, life-changing situations – pregnancy and cancer, respectively.

Looking at the song titles and the fact that Warren wrote them, we’re expecting, for lack of more professional language, a heavy dose of the feels. With these songs, Miss You Already may be more of a tearjerker than we’d expected.

Miss You Already makes its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will give the film a limited stateside bow on Nov. 6.

Soundtrack Scene: Sam Smith Confirms Spectre Theme

spectre_samsmith-confirmationThe Grammy Award-winning crooner confirmed his involvement with Sam Mendes’ Spectre in a Facebook post. He co-wrote the new song, titled “Writing’s on the Wall,” with Jimmy Napes. Alongside William Phillips, both artists won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for “Stay with Me” earlier this year.

Smith was confirmed earlier this year… sort of. Shortly after the supposed confirmation, he denied involvement with the upcoming James Bond flick. Artists previously rumored for the gig include Radiohead, Lorde, and Ellie Goulding – Smith himself tried to throw us off his trail by discussing the lattermost artist’s potential involvement.

Smith’s smooth, soulful vocals should be a good fit for the Bond franchise. Adele, alongside Paul Epworth, won the original-song Oscar for Skyfall’s eponymous song in 2012. With Smith follow in her footsteps?

“Writing’s on the Wall” is available to pre-order CD and vinyl, and should soon be available to pre-order on iTunes. In other words, we should hear it soon!

Soundtrack Scene: Escape from Hotel Malala

aliciakeys2015Alicia Keys (via That Grape Juice)

Alicia Keys will contribute a song titled “Story to Tell” to Davis Guggenheim’s Malala Yousafzai documentary He Named Me Malala. The Grammy winner is no stranger to movie soundtracks, but this seems like it could be her first Oscar nod. Of course, Keys isn’t the only popular artist to tackle a documentary song this year: Lady Gaga co-wrote and recorded “Till It Happens to You” for The Hunting Ground, a documentary about sexual assault.

Malala plays Toronto on Sept. 12, and will later make its European debut at the BFI London Film Festival. Fox Searchlight will give the film a limited release on Oct. 2.

Jim James of My Morning Jacket contributed “Take Care of You” to John Erick Dowdle’s No Escape. The thriller’s only pulled in $10.172 million since debuting last Wednesday, but with a $5 million budget, its eventual box-office total should be considered something of a win.

Lastly, Fifth Harmony recorded “I’m in Love with a Monster” for Genndy Tartakovsky’s Hotel Transylvania 2. The girl group works better with this ’60s throwback than they do with contemporary sounds, like “Worth It” from earlier this year. Too bad “Monster” is being used for (in?) this Hotel Transylvania sequel, which hits Sept. 25.

I’ll See You in My (Oscar) Dreams

Edit: For some reason, I thought Frozen River hit theaters in 2010; it was actually a 2008 release. I’ve amended the article to correct that mistake. Apologies.

blythedanner_dreamsBlythe Danner in I’ll See You in My Dreams (via Deadline Hollywood)

Brett Haley’s I’ll See You in My Dreams will be the first Oscar screener of this awards season. The Bleecker Street-distributed existential-crisis “comedy” starring Blythe Danner won over the crowd at Sundance and picked up $7.37 million domestic despite its widest release being in 290 theaters. The distributor may be new, but Netflix trusts them with the theatrical side of Beasts of No Nation’s release – that counts for something, right?

For members of the motion-picture academy voters who don’t (have time to) keep tabs on contenders released before “Oscar season,” an early screener can greatly improve a film’s chances at Oscar glory. Indeed, AMPAS members may want to honor Danner this year, though Lily Tomlin’s performance in Grandma obviously vies for a “veteran spot,” too.

Of course, over the last five years, only one year’s first screener ended up in Oscar’s lineup:

  • 2010: Animal Kingdom (Oscar bid for supporting actress), Mother and Child (nope)
  • 2011: The Music Never Stopped (nada)
  • 2012: Intouchables (Golden Globe nod for foreign-language film; Oscar shut it out)
  • 2013: Mud (love from the critics; no Oscar cigar)
  • 2014: Snowpiercer (huge with critics and year-end kudos; nothing from Oscar)

So, is I’ll See You in My Dreams a contender or a pretender? If nothing else, maybe the film’s title tune gets an original-song bid?

Soundtrack Scene: Jem and the Holograms

2015 has been a massive year for Universal Pictures. Not only are their films killing it at the box office; they also boast an Oscar hopeful in Straight Outta Compton and possible awards plays with By the Sea, Crimson Peak, Venice Film Festival opener Everest, Legend, New York Film Festival centerpiece Steve Jobs, and The Visit.

Universal also has Jem and the Holograms, the live-action adaptation of the animated television series from the 1980s, hitting on Oct. 23. The film, like the show, focuses on a music group, so it’s only fitting that we get some new music, yes?

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Looking Ahead: Disney, La La Land, Operation ChromiteSully

A new thing I’m trying out for the blog: looking ahead to what may happen in next year’s Oscar race. Hey, it’s never too early to speculate… even though it really is. Expect posts like this to appear every week or so.

moana_picConcept art for Disney’s Moana (via Legion of Leia)

Zootopia and Moana get music updates

Shakira will perform a new track for the Disney release Zootopia, titled “Try Everything.” The film hits theaters on Mar. 4, 2016. Meanwhile, Tarzan (1999) and Brother Bear (2003) composer Mark Mancina will collaborate with Te Vaka guitarist Opetaia Foa’I and In the Heights and Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda to compose new music for Disney’s Moana, out Nov. 23, 2016.

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