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Home » Culture and Criticism

MASTAS Episode 46: Oscar-Winning Songs We Love (And Loathe)

Submitted by on February 23, 2017 – 12:05 PM2 Comments


Mark and Sarah take home Oscar gold!

Okay, okay. We haven't actually had reason to thank the Academy, but we've sure as hell listened to the Academy's favorite songs. This week, we're choosing the all-time best Oscar-winning tunes…and the legendary stinkers.

But one episode of MASTAS cannot contain all of our awards-y fun facts! So take a moment to consider these tidbits about this year's nominated songs and songwriters…

If you're studying the Oscar odds, then you've probably noticed that La La Land is poised to win almost everything. And if it wins the prize for Best Song, it'll be breaking a curse. See…it's got two nominations in that category, and recently, that has spelled doom. The last FOUR films to gets multiple nods — The Princess And The Frog, Enchanted, Dreamgirls, and Cold Mountain — failed to win the award. Will La La Land get skunked as well, or will it roll like The Lion King, which is the most recent multiple song nominee to actually win?

This year, TWO nominated songs are written by Broadway superstars: Lin-Manuel Miranda is nominated for his track from Moana, and he also wrote Hamilton. And Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, lyricists for both La La Land tracks, seem primed to win Tonys for their score to this year's blockbuster musical, Dear Evan Hansen. Here's that show's signature tune.

You may not have heard of J. Ralph, but Oscar certainly has. He's nominated this year for a song from the documentary Jim, which he co-wrote with Sting. Remarkably, this is his third nomination in five years, and they've all been for little-seen docs. Odds are slim that he'll win, but a documentary has nabbed this prize before. That was when Melissa Etheridge got the trophy for "I Need to Wake Up" from An Inconvenient Truth. Here's the official video for that hit, but maybe don't watch if you're feeling sad about the environment today.

Now that he's been tapped for "Can't Stop The Feeling!" (from Trolls), Justin Timberlake has joined the ranks of Oscar-nominated artists who can also boast a number one hit on the Hot 100. Recent inductees to this particular club include Adele and John Legend, who both won Oscars when they were nominated. Maybe J.T. will join them! But if not, at least he still has an Emmy for this modern masterpiece.

Speaking of, here's the video for one of our favorite Oscar-winning songs:

Here's a full list to date of all the Academy Award winners for Best Song.

Read SPIN's oral history of Purple Rain, which netted Prince an Oscar for Best Original Score.

My thoughts on ze original Fronche Beauty And The Beast.

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  • attica says:

    I am not proud I know this, but: it was Tarzan's Gorilla Mom who told her wee human charge that he'd be in her heart. Always. Gorilla Mom was voiced by Glenn Close, who, in delicious Hollywood coincidence, also dubbed all the dialogue for an earlier Tarzan's Jane, Andie MacDowell, after the studio haaaaated her performance.

    The more you know…

    If I were nominating songs from BatB, I really couldn't have any besides "Gaston." As Mark singles out "Let it Go" for its use of fractals, I will defend to the death the use of "I'm especially good at exPECTorating! Ptui!" as lyricsmithing of the highest order.

  • bluesabriel says:

    Wow, I didn't remember that Beauty and the Beast and Lion King had THREE song nominations each.

    The Academy loves a Disney ballad and I wish they would start thinking outside the box a little. There a ton of better songs that have missed nominations over the years at the expense of, say, your "Let it Go"'s. I know you had that complaint with Tangled, Sars.

    Best Song was the only category I really had Strong Feelings about this year and it unfortunately went down exactly how I expected. Being a lover of all things musical, I was shocked at how underwhelmed I was by the songs in LLL. I don't think they were actively bad, I just didn't find them all that special.

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