If you want the gravy…

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Longlists to Nominees: Original Song

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Here’s a nice easy one. Unlike Original Score, where you have a feature-length score to consider, here you’ve got a (typically) 2-5 minute song to worry about. And since there wasn’t an overflow of great movie songs this year, I think I can knock this one out pretty quickly. But let’s do it right.

  • “In Summer” – Frozen
  • “Let It Go” – Frozen
  • “Love is an Open Door” – Frozen
  • “The Moon Song” – Her
  • “Supersymmetry” – Her
  • “Ordinary Love” – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
  • “After Party” – Short Term 12
  • “So You Know What It’s Like” – Short Term 12
  • “The Money Chant” – The Wolf of Wall Street

While I don’t have a strict “one film, one song” rule, I think Her and Short Term 12 don’t need two songs apiece. “The Moon Song” is an integral part of the film; “Supersymmetry” is just played over the end credits. Two fine songs, but “The Moon Song” is easily the better one.

As for Short Term 12, “So You Know What It’s Like” is not just a song, but a pretty important piece of character development (written, you might notice, by Keith Stanfield, who performs it in the film). “After Party” is nice, but it too is just an end-credits song. So that’s two songs off.

The trickier question is…do I stick with one song from Frozen, or let it get away with two? (Apologies for not putting “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” on here. I forgot, and life is complex enough without putting it on last-minute.) Let’s look the three contenders over:

  • “In Summer”: It’s a fun little song. I really loved it in the film. But it’s really just an extended joke. So I should probably…let it go.
  • “Love Is an Open Door”: Yes, I’m saving the big one for last. I was afraid this wouldn’t hold up either, but…I really do like this song. Maybe I’d prefer if it were more of an actual song than a duet scene with a score, but the chorus is truly delightful.
  • “Let It Go”: The one everyone loves. And yet…it’s a good song, and Idina Menzel does a hell of a job with it, but…to me, it’s not that much better than most other Disney power ballads.

So “Love Is an Open Door” it is. And if you can’t understand it, just tell yourself I’m a contrarian.

So we’ve got three spots accounted for. That leaves two slots. And two songs. Both of which are good (“The Money Chant” might not be the greatest song, but it’s so much a part of the film that I think it’s worth including).

So we’ve got our category:

  • “Love Is an Open Door” – Frozen
  • “The Moon Song” – Her
  • “Ordinary Love” – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
  • “So You Know What It’s Like” – Short Term 12
  • “The Money Chant” – The Wolf of Wall Street

And here are the songs, for your listening pleasure:


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