And The Best Song Oscar Nominees Should Be....

Bright and early on Jan. 22, the Oscar nominations will be announced, including the category for best original song. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences narrowed it down to 49 songs in contention for a nomination this year.

From there, we've made our picks for the five songs that will be nominated -- and the five songs that should be nominated. (Let's just say that while we anticipate the Academy will prove to be as Disney-obsessed as it has been in years past, we don't necessarily feel the same way.)



1. "The Wrestler" from "The Wrestler"
Performer: Bruce Springsteen
Songwriter: Bruce Springsteen

As Springsteen revealed in his acceptance speech when he won the Golden Globe for this song, he wrote it after Mickey Rourke called him up and asked him to contribute a tune to the soundtrack. The result is classic Springsteen -- hardscrabble lyrics over a haunting melody. It's the perfect mix of artist, actor and movie.

2. "O Saya" from "Slumdog Millionaire"
Performers: A.R. Rahman, M.I.A.
Songwriters: A.R. Rahman, M.I.A.

Rahman and M.I.A. teamed up for this propulsive track that backs the scene in the film where the audience is first introduced to the scope of life in the Mumbai slums. It enhances the scene in the movie in a visceral way; it would be a lesser moment without the song.

3. "The Little Things" from "Wanted"
Performer: Danny Elfman
Songwriter: Danny Elfman

It's time for a true blue, electric guitar, drums and bass rock song to get a nomination--the last time anything close was nominated was Aerosmith in 1999 for Diane Warren's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing," (and obviously we're even hedging there because it was a ballad by a rock band.) Oingo Boingo fans also will appreciate the Elfman's vocal are still as skritchy and crazy as ever.

4. "The Call" from "Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"
Performer: Regina Spektor
Songwriter: Regina Spektor

Spektor's sweet, haunting voice is the perfect accompaniment to a children's fantasy film --
what may keep it from actually getting a nomination is that it's played over the closing credits, and songs that are embedded in the narrative of the film generally win more favor from the Academy.

5. "Sweet Ballad" from "Yes Man"
Performer: Zooey Deschanel and Von Iva performing as Munchausen by Proxy
Songwriters: Becky Kupersmith, Jillian Iva Meador, Kelly Harris Yep, call it the "Blame

Canada" spot in honor of the song nominated from "South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut" -- going for the laughs is a winning strategy. Deschanel and Von Iva appear in the film as Deschanel's character's band -- Munchausen by Proxy -- and it's probably the tenderest love song where the most frequently used word is "whore."

Next Page: Songs That Will Be Nominated


"The Wrestler" from "The Wrestler"
Performer: Bruce Springsteen
Songwriter: Bruce Springsteen

It's a lock: the Academy loves big names -- and they don't come bigger than Bruce. He already won the Golden Globe for the song, he's in the middle of a huge promotional campaign for "Working on a Dream" and he's going to play the Super Bowl. But be wary, Springsteen fans -- a nomination doesn't guarantee a win. While he won for best song for "Streets of Philadelphia" in 1993, he lost in 1996 for the title song from "Dead Man Walking."

"Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire"
Performer: Sukhwinder Singh
Songwriter: A.R. Rahman

Want to escape the curse where songs over the closing credits get dissed for a nomination? Simple -- turn the closing credits into a Bollywood dance number. Relentlessy catchy "Jai Ho" also could benefit from the Academy's willingness to nominate songs not performed in English; in 2005 Jorge Drexler won the Oscar for his song "Al Otro Lado Del Rio" from "The Motorcycle Diaries."

"I Want It All" from "High School Musical 3: Senior Year"
Performer: Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel
Songwriters: Matthew Gerrard, Robbie Nevil

Knowing that each of the nominated songs will be performed during the Oscar ceremony, the Academy inevitably nominates a tune that's a big production number. "I Want It All" is the most theatrical of the 11 songs in contention from "HSM3" -- the most from any film in 2008 -- and Tisdale's character Sharpay even name-checks that she wants to win an Oscar in the lyrics.

"I Thought I Lost You" from "Bolt"
Performer: Miley Cyrus and John Travolta
Songwriters: Miley Cyrus, Jeffrey Steele

After the above par box office returns for Cyrus's concert film in 2008, and with the anticipation for her "Hannah Montana" in 2009, look for the Academy to throw a nomination her way to appease the kids. And Travolta -- who has been nominated twice for best actor, but has never won -- is a Hollywood sentimental favorite, and the Academy would love to have him attend the ceremony to perform.

"Down to Earth" from "Wall-E"
Performer: Peter Gabriel
Songwriters: Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman

Another subversion of the closing credits, where "Down to Earth" plays over a credit sequence that takes the story of the "Wall-E" gang into the future. It would be film music stalwart Gabriel's first Oscar nomination -- he did the score for "The Last Temptation of Christ" and "Rabbit-Proof Fence," among others --and he and Newman are already up for a Grammy for "Down to Earth" in the best song written for motion picture, television or other visual media category.


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