Oscars news: Common and John Legend to perform ‘Selma’ song, ‘Let It Go’ team penning tune for Neil Patrick Harris

Common and John Legend will perform their Oscar-nominated song “Glory” from “Selma” on this year’s Feb. 22 kudocast. Common, a two-time Grammy champ (2002: Best R&B Song, “Love Of My Life”; 2007: Best Rap Duo/Group,“Southside” with Kanye West), plays civil rights leader James Bevel in the Best Picture nominee. Legend, a singer/songwriter, has won nine Grammys including Best New Artist in 2006. He contends this year for Best Solo Pop Performance for his smash hit “All of Me.” Oscars

NEW: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

As Glenn Whipp observes “pundits are jumping off the ‘Boyhood‘ bandwagon, and not without reason. ‘Birdman”s SAG/PGA victories make it a formidable contender. While only about 500 of the PGA’s 6,500 voters also belong to the academy, the guild uses the same preferential balloting system as the Oscars. And since the group shifted to that system, mirroring the academy in 2009, every PGA winner has gone on to win the best picture Oscar. The fact that actors, who make up one-fifth of the academy’s membership, also like ‘Birdman’ obviously bodes well for its chances. And while you could (and some have) dismiss the ‘Birdman’ acclaim as an act of movie industry self-love, the film’s themes — battling ego, aspiring to a better self — are universal.” Los Angeles Times

Robert Lopez became the youngest EGOT champ last year when he won an Oscar for co-writing the tune “Let It Go” from the Disney hit “Frozen” with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The pair are sure to be back at this year’s ceremony, following the announcement that they are penning a song for host Neil Patrick Harris. “We love the Oscars and have always been huge Neil Patrick Harris fans, so when he asked us to write him a song for this year’s show we said, ‘Yes!’ before he could finish the sentence – it’s possible he may have been asking us for something else,” said the Lopezes. “We are having so much fun collaborating, and have even enjoyed weaving our experience as Oscar nominees into the song.” Oscars

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Carolyn Giardina reports, “With his 12th nomination, a record for a living cinematographer, will Roger Deakins finally prevail and win his first Oscar for ‘Unbroken‘? Can Emmanuel Lubezki — last year’s cinematography winner for ‘Gravity’ — repeat with ‘Birdman‘? Or does this year’s lineup open the door for another nominee? Those are the questions Academy members must answer as they ponder their Oscar ballots. Deakins, one of the most respected cinematographers of his generation, is overdue for his first win. But Angelina Jolie‘s ‘Unbroken,’ the story of Louis Zamperini, received just three craft noms — and Deakins missed out on a BAFTA nom — so he faces long odds.” THR

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will kick off its “31 Days of Oscar,” the network’s annual month-long celebration of the Academy Awards, on February 1 at 8pm with a screening of “And the Oscar Goes To…,” a documentary tracing the history of the Academy Awards, which premiered on the network last year. Programming each night, starting February 1 and running through March 3, will feature a chronological “History of the Oscars” through Academy Award-nominated films highlighting at least one Best Picture winner. Additionally, daytime programming will focus on distinguished films of a particular genre, from adventure to comedy, drama to romance, westerns to musicals. TCM

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