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BY MAX ASAYESH-BROWN, St. Petersburg High
Life isn’t getting easier for the category of Best Original Song in the Academy Awards — last year a mere two nominations were announced, and three in 2008. But this year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has deemed a full five original songs up to scratch, and at the same time snubbing a handful of more-deserving candidates.
I must call attention to the absence of three terrifically impressive numbers, each of which could have easily won the award. It would not surprise me if many attributed my opinion to a bias in favor of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
But the category of original song can be judged by both its contribution to the film and its quality as a song. The former facet withstanding, 100 Black Coffins (Rick Ross? The Oscars? As if.), Ancora Qui by Elisa Toffoli and Freedom by Anthony Hamilton could easily reign supreme over Norah Jones’ bouncy number from Ted. Tarantino has left his comfort zone in the use of original music, and the result is absolutely stellar. That said, I’ll proceed.
1. Skyfall, Adele
The song you’ve undoubtedly heard in the waiting room of your dentist’s office or somewhere like that. While I question whether the name “Skyfall” wasn’t the absolute first aspect of the new Bond movie to be created, followed by an Adele song/intense animated title sequence, and then some relevance shimmied into the screenplay, there is no denying that she’s got style.
2. Pi’s Lullaby, Mychael Danna
The silky Indian vocals of this song from Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, previously deemed unfilmable, bring something special to the Oscar table.
3. Before My Time, J. Ralph feat. Scarlett Johansson and Joshua Bell
A beautifully mellow bit that I imagine fits perfectly with an arctic time lapse film (Chasing Ice), though Johansson’s dexterity still lies in acting.
4. Suddenly, Hugh Jackman
Kudos to the artist for being the Hugh Jackman of all trades, but the last thing Les Misérables needed was more music.
5. Everybody Needs a Best Friend, Norah Jones
Unlike the norm for Jones, this song (from Ted) is nothing special.
Max Asayesh-Brown is music critic for tb-two*.
The 85th Academy Awards: Sunday, 7 p.m., ABC. tb-two* will be tweeting live @tbtwo #oscars
Best Picture: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Bradley Cooper, Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix, Denzel Washington
Best Actress in a Leading Role: Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Emmanuelle Riva, Quvenzhané Wallis, Naomi Watts