All 5 Best Song OSCAR nominees on one page

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning.  Here are the five Best Song nominees, three very much expected – the “La La Land” and “Moana” songs, one pretty much expected, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from “Trolls”, and, as is customary in this category, one unexpected addition: “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: the James Foley Story”.  But as Sting co-wrote and sings it, perhaps it should have always been more widely considered to be in the running, alongside songs like “Faith” by Stevie Wonder from “Sing”, “Running” by Pharell from “Hidden Figures”, “Drive it Like You Stole It” from “Sing Street”, which were three songs that had been much discussed as having good chances but ultimately didn’t get nominated.

  • “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land”

    Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

The first of two songs nominated from “La La Land”, the original movie musical, which received a record 14 nominations today (sharing that record with “All about Eve” and “Titanic”, two films that also went on to win Best Picture at the ceremony, which it seems will the very likely happy fate of “La La Land” too).


  • “Can’t Stop The Feeling” from “Trolls”

    Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster

The “Happy” of this year.  Kinda hard not to smile and shimmy when listening to the song from the first of two animated features represented in this category.  Animated features tend to be consistently represented in this category.  They also tend to win…


  • “City Of Stars” from “La La Land”

    Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

…Except I believe that this will be the winner of the Oscar this year.  The second song from “La La Land” to be nominated, it also functions as the movie’s main theme.  And it has a melody that is immediately memorable as well as slinks and undulates in idiosyncratically appealing ways.  The most distinctive song in this category of strong choices, in my view.

City of Stars – longer version – Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone


  • “The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story”

    Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

From the Documentary that looks at the life of journalist James Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria in 2012 and became the first American citizen to be killed by the terrorist group ISIS.  This is now the fourth documentary in Oscar history to receive a Best Song nomination. Melissa Etheridge’s song “I Need to Wake Up” from “An Inconvenient Truth” was the first, and won the 2006 Best Song Oscar in a surprise upset.


  • “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana”

    Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda

The second nominated song from an animated movie was written by none other than Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, and fits perfectly in the “Dream” song tradition of Disney heroines.  Should Miranda win, he will be that rare thing, an EGOT winner, having already received a Tony, Emmy and Grammy (as well as a Pulitzer – wait, would that make him a PEGOT, or a GOTPE?  Nope, not a good way to go.  Let’s stick with EGOT and keep the Pulitzer separate).

About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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