Two songs from “La La Land” — “City of Stars” and “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” — were among the five songs nominated for the Academy Award on Tuesday as Best Original Song. Is this a good situation in projecting a victory for the songwriters. Does it help or hurts its winning chances to have another song from the same film nominated as well??
The pair from “La La Land,” both of which feature music by Justin Hurwitz and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, were joined as nominees by “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” with music and lyrics by “Hamilton’s” Lin-Manuel Miranda; “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from “Trolls” with music and lyrics by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Shellback; and in a surprise, “The Empty Chair” from the documentary “Jim: The James Foley Story” with music and lyrics by J. Ralph and Sting. This category boasts a starry group of nominees indeed. But does having a well-known composer help a song’s chances? It certainly doesn’t hurt as long as the song delivers the goods. What about whether the song has been on the pop charts? Again, familiarity with a song before you see the film could help.
The phenomenon of multiple song nominees from the same film is a relatively new development in Oscar history. The first time it happened was in 1980 when “Fame” won the Oscar for its title song over stablemate “Out Here On My Own.” Since then and including “La La Land’s” double nod today, a total of 16 films have had two or even three songs nominated for the Oscar (although in 2008, the Academy ruled that no more than two songs from a film could be submitted for consideration).
But what’s the answer? Does a double nomination help or hurt the songs involved? The answer is neither. Oscar history shows that, of the 15 films with double song nominations prior to “La La Land,” nine (slightly over half) have contained songs that went on to win the Oscar: “Fame,” “Flashdance…What a Feeling,” “Say You, Say Me,” “Under the Sea,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World,” “Streets of Philadelphia,” “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and “Jai Ho.” (Updated to include “Say You, Say Me.”)
Do you think that either “City of Stars” or “Audition” deserves to stand beside those winning songs? You have until February 26 to make your call.
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