Critical Confabulations

a theatre, film & pop culture review

Oscars 2011: Best Original Song

Last minute change (2/27/11, 3:50 pm EST):

My prediction (despite my back-and-forth with Aaron
in the comments section; he, I’m sure now, is right) is that
“We Belong Together” (TS3) will be the winner.

~ ~ ~

Note: This is my personal ranking, listed in order from best to worst, with #1 being my favorite. Prediction for the actual winner is in orange.


1. Coming Home (Country Strong)

2. If I Rise (127 Hours)

3. We Belong Together (Toy Story 3)  

4. I See the Light (Tangled)

Missing: any song from Burlesque

I’ve never cared much for country music. I can’t ever seem to get past the nasal twang that overwhelms most of it; and so, admittedly, I miss some of the greatest musical storytelling there is, and some of the most startlingly emotionally honest lyrics out there. Unfortunately, unlike last year’s perfect “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart, Country Strong‘s Coming Home is, well, just not that strong. Considering there were no less than four folks writing it, you’d think we’d get better lyrics than “It’s an alter, it’s a shelter / One place you’re always welcome /a pink flamingo, double wide / One bedroom in a high rise.” But it’s the only nominee from a film about music — never mind that the year’s sole live-action movie musical didn’t receive nary a nod here (c’mon, it’s Cher:  how did a Burlesque song not get nominated?) — and considering this year’s competition, that seems to be all it’ll take to grab that gold guy.

If I Rise from 127 Hours is quintessential A.R. Rahman, but a little too “easy-listening” to garner much attention (it’s no “Jai-Ho”). We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 is like every other Randy-Newman-Disney-animated-feature song — cute and catchy, but not terribly exciting. However, it is more exciting than the other Disney offering on hand here: I See the Light from Tangled is a generic — ok, let’s face it, bland — ballad that tries its best to twinkle, but like the rest of the film, falls short of being truly magical. Alan Menken — The Little Mermaid, Newsies, Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc — what happened?

As much as it hurts my musical-lovin’-heart to say it…. Country Strong is going to take home an Oscar.


4 comments on “Oscars 2011: Best Original Song

  1. Aaron
    February 11, 2011

    Hmmm. See I think you are wrong here. I am betting on Toy Story 3 even though “Coming Home” is my favorite of the four.

    Actually, I am baffled by this category as usual. First of all: four nominees? Why four? So arbitrary, especially when there were like 60-something entries. Secondly, Why “Coming Home” from Country Strong when it is not the strongest (pardon me) song from the film. I think “A Little Bit Stronger” and the title song are both better songs than “Coming Home,” which is frankly (as you astutely point out) a sentimental mess.

    You’ve got the number on these other songs, it’s true, but I am wagering that the fact that “We Belong Together” “is like every other Randy-Newman-Disney-animated-feature song” will not be a drawback to an Academy that was fundamentally disinterested in Country Strong.


  2. Julie
    February 11, 2011

    You can say I’m wrong all you want, but that doesn’t make it so 🙂

    Your the Academy-loves-Randy notion holds up in that yes, they love nominating him, but they don’t love awarding him. He has only won the Oscar once(for Monsters Inc.), but failed to win for THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG (even though 2 of his songs were nominated), CARS, A BUG’S LIFE, TOY STORY (he didn’t win for “You’ve Got a Friend”! Though, to be fair, he was up against “Colors of the Wind” by Academy fave Alan Menken), or TOY STORY 2 (and I actually really love “She Loved Me” — much more than Phil Collins’s winning “You’ll Be in My Heart”). Honestly, I think Menken’s entry has a better shot at winning than Newman’s, simply because he’s had much better luck with the Academy so far.

    And I know you own the COUNTRY STRONG soundtrack, so you’ve listened to it multiple times and thus remember the songs, but let me tell you that after seeing the film (just a few days ago) and hearing the songs only once…none of them are memorable. I think the closest one to memorability is “Give in to Me” and that’s only because they reprise it what seems like 10x throughout the course of the film (and even for that one, I had to look up the title just now).

    As you can tell, I’m highly disappointed by the nominations this year. There have GOT to have been better songs out there than these.


  3. Aaron
    February 11, 2011

    Oh I think there are. This selection is pretty shameful.
    I have re-listened to all of these songs a couple of times and, well, I am bored by the lot. I actually think the Newman one is the WORST of the four. It is a real snorer.

    I am mostly staying anti Country Strong because I am intuiting that the Academy hates it.

    That 127 Hours song isn’t so bad until the children start singing. I kind of love A.R. Rahman’s voice…


  4. andrea
    February 18, 2011

    I see The Light ..!!! esa deveria ganr es la mejor..!!! alan menken siempre a hecho la musica hermosa i este es uno de sus mejores trabajos… I see the light..!!


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This entry was posted on February 10, 2011 by in Award Predictions, Oscar-Nominated.



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