Editor’s note: This is part of a 32-part series dissecting the 85th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Every day leading up to the Oscars, a new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category of the Oscars. To read the other posts regarding this event, please click here. Thank you, and enjoy!
By Nicole Ayers of The Madlab Post
Of all five Oscar nominees for Best Original Song, I saw two of the accompanying films — Skyfall and Life of Pi. Since few of the remaining movies are still playing in Philadelphia, I made a short set of criteria to play and review each tune on its own merits without needing to spend several hours in a theater or in front of a Netflix screen. Here is how I determined if the Best Original Song nominees are Oscar worthy.
– Does it compliment the film?
– Is it nice to listen to?
– Am I willing to buy it?
– Would I vote for the song?
The results of asking myself these four questions were surprising, given that I started this mission expecting to prove how nothing released in 2012 measures up to Skyfall. Boy was I wrong. “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice has a beautiful arrangement but is rather boring when accompanied by the viewing of one of the least popular genres of film — documentary — with a subject matter that does not exactly scream box office draw: the environment. This song can make the running time of Chasing Ice seem longer than it actually is, which is not a good feature for something combined with elements that are already boring to the average audience.
“Before My Time” lacks excitement, which does not make viewers with short attention spans want to watch the movie it represents. On the flip side, this song does help add an emotional element to Chasing Ice, forcing you to care about climate change — a topic that does not usually have people lining up at theaters on Friday night, anxious to see what’s going to go down on screen. It also has a soothing nature that is nice to listen to, making it worth buying. So, I would vote for this song because it makes me feel like I’m floating on air.
“Everybody Needs a Friend” from Ted is a cute song that appears to compliment what looks like an even cuter movie. Enough said on that front. The lyrics seem to lend to Norah Jones’ style of storytelling in her own music. The folks behind this tune really knew how to play to each other’s strengths, which makes it an appealing listen. Unfortunately, I would be on the fence about buying this song — and even if it did, my buying decision would be based on me being a Norah Jones fan, not the movie nor its soundtrack, so “Everybody Needs a Friend” falls short for the nature of this Oscars review. This tune, although cute and upbeat, does not blow me away so I would not vote for it because I’ve heard better — both from the performer and from other films.
“Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi provides a nice background for the main character’s exploration of cultural and spiritual traditions. It’s foundation for Pi’s fascinating, life-changing voyage is fitting enough without overpowering other elements of the movie such as scenery, special effects and stunts. Needless to say, “Pi’s Lullaby” is so nice to listen to that you could play it while riding on a train or bus or — sailing in a boat during your own journey. In fact, it makes me want to travel overseas or at least across town so I can stare out of the window and experience a fantasy trip in my head. Despite not knowing what Bombay Jayashri is saying, I would probably buy this song because of its peaceful flow. I would not, however, vote for the tune because it’s not as special as expected when we’re talking the Oscars here. Having watched Life of Pi, I should remember this song but it did not stand out when I saw the movie. In fact, I don’t remember much, if any, of the music played during the film.
“Skyfall” from Skyfall gets a YES in all four areas of criteria because it plays a pivotal role in the movie. This song sets an appropriate tone for the latest edition in the James Bond franchise but has enough power to stand on its own. Even when played separately from the movie, it is an enjoyable tune to listen to, which is why I made my case for Adele’s “Skyfall” before the Oscar nominations were released. It’s retarded that this song is not included on the Skyfall soundtrack and thus, has to be purchased as an individual track. That hasn’t deterred me from buying it — the tune is too good to pass up!
“Suddenly” from Les Miserables compliments the movie pretty well and I’m not surprised given the historical success of the big screen as well as the Broadway counterparts. I doubt that any song would be included in this particular movie if it did not suit the story or production in some manner. Speaking of story, this tune tells one with so much conviction that makes me feel like I can close my eyes and picture the movie scenes playing out in my head — and I haven’t even seen Les Miserables! “Suddenly” is quick and succinct, doesn’t drag on longer than it should and plays just enough to get the point across — making for an overall nice listening experience.
As much as I am fond of the song, there is no reason to play it in a casual listening session, so I would not buy it. I would, however, vote for it because the movie already has like seven Oscar nominations on other categories, so I figure the song deserves a bid in its favor for the music category as well.
It’s a tough sell figuring out which song is likely to win, as the nominations seem to be all over the place this year. None of the Oscar nominees were in line for a Golden Globe except “Skyfall” and “Suddenly,” which shared a ballot with Taylor Swift’s “Safe & Sound” from The Hunger Games, John Bon Jovi’s “Not Running Anywhere” from Stand Up Guys and Keith Urban’s “For You” from Act of Valor. If the Globes are historically good indications of which direction the Oscars turn in, then 2013 might be a golden year for Adele. This British songstress beat Bon Jovi, for crying out loud — but let’s still not count out strong contenders such as Hugh Jackman’s “Suddenly” nor Bombay Jayashri “Pi’s Lullaby” just yet!