Could Grammy champs Adele or Arcade Fire soon be adding an Oscar to their awards collection? Perhaps Grammy also-rans Mumford and Sons or Katy Perry will win an Academy Award first. All four acts are among the 75 contenders for Best Original Song this year.
Last year's winner was "Man or Muppet" from "The Muppets," written by Bret McKenzie. There were only two nominees in the field, prompting yet another change in the process this time around.
Recent rules dictated that a song had to receive a minimum score from voters in order to be nominated. That has been amended this year, and the Academy will once again nominate the top five vote-getters.
Songs from children's films have done well in this category. In 2010, "Toy Story 3" won for Randy Newman's theme "We Belong Together." Songs from animated flicks "Monsters Inc." ("If I Didn't Have You"), "Tarzan" ("You'll Be in My Heart"), and "The Prince of Egypt" ("When You Believe") have also prevailed.
But a variety of styles and genres have also reigned in recent years, from hip-hop ("Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile," "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from "Hustle & Flow"), to country ("The Weary Kind" from "Crazy Heart"), to Indian ("Jai Ho" from "Slumdog Millionaire"), to folk ("Falling Slowly" from "Once").
According to exclusive Gold Derby statistics, the frontrunner for this year at 17/10 odds is "Suddenly" from "Les Miserables." The song was written by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer and is performed by Hugh Jackman.
Multiple Grammy winner Adele is currently in third place at 3/1 for the title song from "Skyfall," which is co-written by Paul Epworth.
"Touch the Sky," another song from "Brave," is in fourth position at 20/1. It is performed by Julie Fowlis and written by Alex Mandel and Mark Andrews.
Paul Williams won this race in 1977 for penning "Evergreen" with Barbra Streisand; he wrote the title song for the documentary about his life, "Still Alive." He holds down the fifth slot at 33/1 and is tied with upcoming Oscar host Seth MacFarlane for the song "Everybody Needs a Best Friend." It is co-written by Walter Murphy and performed by Norah Jones.
Other famous folk among the contenders include:
"For You" from "Act of Valor" (Keith Urban and Monty Powell)
"Ancora Qui" from "Django Unchained" (Ennio Morricone)
"Abraham's Daughter" from "The Hunger Games" (Arcade Fire's Win Butler, Regine Chassagne, and T-Bone Burnett)
"From Here to the Moon and Back" and "He's Everything" from "Joyful Noise" (Dolly Parton)
"Wide Awake" from "Katy Perry: Part of Me" (Katy Perry)
"Cosmonaut" from "Lawless" (Nick Cave and Warren Ellis)
"Ladies of Tampa" from "Magic Mike" (Matthew McConaughey, Martin Blasick, and Frankie Pine)
"This Gift" from "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova)
"Breath of Life" from "Snow White and the Hunstman" (Florence Welch and Isabella Summers)
"One Wing" from "Sparkle" (R. Kelly)
"Not Running Anymore" from "Stand Up Guys" (Jon Bon Jovi)
"Dull Tool" from "This is 40" (Fiona Apple)
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