David Lang on His Best Original Song Oscar Nom: 'I Spilled Coffee All Over Myself'

Michael Tran/FilmMagic
David Lang arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of Fox Searchlight Pictures' "Youth" held at DGA Theater on Nov. 17, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. 

David Lang woke up to some incredible news today (Jan. 14): "Simple Song #3," which he wrote for the Michael Caine film Youth, was nominated for an Academy Award in the best original song category.

Lang, who also composed the score for the Paolo Sorrentino-directed film, described his morning to Billboard. “I poured a big cup of coffee, turned on the Internet and watched the [nominations],” he says. After hearing his name, he admits, “I spilled coffee all over myself.”

The first-time nominee wrote the operatic song before the script was finished. “I would have early copies of the script and dream about the emotional arc of the [Michael Caine] character and what was going on in his life at the end. I would ask Paolo a specific question and he’d go, ‘Oh I need to cry.’ He just wanted to feel at the end as if some emotional barrier had been crossed. I felt like the music was revealing something about this character that the script or acting couldn’t get to. I think all the praise has to go to Paolo. He build this world and he decided that composers are interesting enough to make a movie about.”

Chris Rock will host this year's Oscars on Feb. 28. The full list of best original song nominees is below.

Best Original Song

“Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
Music and Lyric by Abel Tesfaye, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Daheala Quenneville and Stephan Moccio
“Manta Ray” from Racing Extinction
Music by J. Ralph and Lyric by Antony Hegarty
“Simple Song #3” from Youth
Music and Lyric by David Lang
“Til It Happens To You” from The Hunting Ground
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga
“Writing’s On The Wall” from Spectre
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

Oscars 2016


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