Two songs that provide the musical backbone of their respective films will be competing for the 87th annual Academy Awards’ best original song Oscar, along with Golden Globe winner “Glory,” the final recording from Glen Campbell, and a Diane Warren song.
The two songs — Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois’ “Lost Stars” from Begin Again, and Shawn Patterson’s “Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie — are performed multiple times in their films. “Lost Stars” has renditions by Keira Knightley and Adam Levine; “Everything Is Awesome” worms its way into the score, appears in the body of the film and concludes with a version by Tegan & Sara and The Lonely Island. “Everything Is Awesome” was a notable snub at the 2015 Golden Globes.
Campbell and Julian Raymond’s song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” appears late in James Keach’s documentary on the singer’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me. Like most Oscar nominees, the song is a performance; in his case, in the recording studio.
Diane Warren’s “Grateful,” performed by Rita Ora in Beyond the Lights, is Warren’s first nomination since “There You’ll Be” from Pearl Harbor in 2001.
Lorde‘s “Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which was nominated at the Golden Globes, did not receive an Oscar nod.
In the score category, Alexandre Desplat was nominated twice, for The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Imitation Game. He’s up against Oscar winner Hans Zimmer (Interstellar), Gary Yershon (Mr. Turner) and this year’s Golden Globe winner Johann Johannsson (The Theory of Everything).
For nominees Alexander, Common and Campbell, this is not only their first nominations — these are the first songs they have ever written for films.
Unlike last year’s race that included the hit songs “Happy” and “Let it Go,” a superstar act in U2 and and indie rock darling in Karen O, this year’s nominees have had more limited commercial success.
Common and John Legend’s “Glory” sold 10,000 copies between Jan. 5 and 11, enjoying a spike of 665 percent, which coincided with the film’s nationwide release on Jan. 9 and the Golden Globes, according to Nielsen Music. It debuted at No. 28 on the current R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs.
“Everything Is Awesome” is the biggest seller among the nominees. Tegan & Sara’s version has sold 549,000 copies, peaking at No. 57 on the Billboard Hot 100. The version from the film, credited to Jo Li, has sold 69,000, and the rendition by composer Mark Mothersbaugh has moved 10,000.
Levine’s version of “Lost Stars” has sold 133,000 downloads; Knightley’s is at 24,000.
The music branch of the Academy Awards determines the nominees by watching clips of each song as they appear in the film, a process that favors songs in the body of a film or those accompanied by visuals. Generally speaking, the process works against end credits tracks such as Lorde’s “Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and Coldplay’s “Miracles” from Unbroken.
Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Best Original Song)
“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
Music and Lyric by Shawn Patterson
“Glory” from Selma
Music and Lyric by John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
Music and Lyric by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again
Music and Lyric by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Best Original Score)
The Grand Budapest Hotel Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar Hans Zimmer
Mr. Turner Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything Jóhann Jóhannsson