Since the introduction of the Best Original Song category at the 7th Oscars in 1934, many toons have been recognized for their tunes. Indeed, the first appearance by an animated film in the category came just six years later at the 13th Academy Awards ceremony, when the timeless “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio” won. Songs from an additional dozen animated or animated/live-action films have prevailed since, including “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from “Song of the South” (1947) and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins” (1964).
The other 10 wins date back to 1989 and the start of the Disney Renaissance: “Under the Sea” from “The Little Mermaid” (1989); “Beauty and the Beast” from “Beauty and the Beast” (1991); “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin” (1992); “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King” (1994); “Colors of the Wind” from “Pocahontas” (1995); “When You Believe” from “The Prince of Egypt” (1998); “You’ll Be in My Heart” from “Tarzan” (1999); “If I Didn’t Have You” from “Monsters, Inc.” (2001); “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3” (2010); and “Let It Go” from “Frozen” (2013).
This year, there is no shortage of contenders vying to be the 14th animated film to take home the Best Original Song Oscar.
Heavily favored for an appearance is “Remember Me” from “Coco,” a song written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the same duo that triumphed for “Let It Go” earlier in the decade. The song is performed by Grammy winners Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade. It just reaped a Golden Globes nomination as did these two tunes from animated films.
Music superstar Mariah Carey is looking for her first Oscar nomination with the Globe-nominated title track from “The Star,” a song she composed with Thom Fennessey and five-time Oscar nominee Marc Shaiman. Also in the hunt is pop star Nick Jonas, who composed “Home” for the film “Ferdinand.” He co-wrote the Globe-nominated tune alongside Nick Monson and Justin Tranter.
“The Lego Batman Movie” enters the race with a pair of original tunes, “Friends and Family” and “Who’s the (Bat)Man,” both hoping to achieve the same success as “Everything Is Awesome,” the Oscar-nominated track from “The Lego Movie” (2014). “Friends Are Family” is composed by the team of Hovey Benjamin, Jeff Lewis, Madison Love, Chris Miller and Chris Sernel, while “Who’s the (Bat)Man” has the team of Brayden Deskins, Colton Fisher, Jason Lamot, Jason Rabinowitz, Barry Pointer and Mansa Wakii behind it.
Not to be underestimated is “There’s Something Special” from “Despicable Me 3,” composed by Pharrell Williams, whose “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2” (2013) was a Best Original Song nominee.
Also seeking Oscar consideration are “Ride,” composed by Dave Bassett, Evan Bogart and ZZ Ward for “Cars 3,” and “Open Up My Eyes,” a piece by Daniel Ingram, Meghan McCarthy and Michael Vogel, with vocals from Emily Blunt, for “My Little Pony: The Movie.”
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.