Thanks to a recent change in the rules, there will be at least five nominees for the Academy Award for Best Original Song this year--unlike the previous Oscars, which had only two. And as announced last week, those final five contenders will be selected from a list of 75 tunes written specifically for a film released in 2012. Among the songwriters who might have a shot at the little gold man are Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Adele, R.Kelly, Karen O., Beck, Fiona Apple, Clint Black, Jon Bon Jovi and Liz Phair.
The question now is whether they will get to perform their nominated work at the Oscars (or if anyone will sing the original songs at all). Some years the ceremony completely excludes live renditions, or has a different singer perform the songs, which can be a shame if you’re a fan of the original artists' versions. Some of the bands we’d prefer perform their own tracks include Arcade Fire, Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons and the Black Keys.
One thing in the Original Song category's favor is that the 2013 Academy Awards will be hosted by Seth MacFarlane, who has shown a real love for show tunes in his TV and film work and actually co-wrote one of the songs eligible for the Oscar (the Norah Jones-performed "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" from Ted). It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if he even did a medley combining the nominees himself. Another idea that could be fun is to have the cast of Pitch Perfect do a capella covers of them all.
But this year's crop of potential finalists includes a number of songs originally performed by Hollywood actors and actresses, whom audiences might enjoy seeing perform on the Oscar stage. These include Scarlett Johansson, Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Jackman, Ed Helms, Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah, and Paul Williams. Giving songwriting legend Williams his first Academy Awards spotlight in 23 years would even be appropriate, as his eligible song deals with his comeback as documented in the nonfiction film Paul Williams Still Alive.
If the Golden Globe nominations for Best Original Song provide any sign for what the Oscar nominees will be (note: they rarely do), we could see the Adele, Bon Jovi and Urban tunes performed on the Academy Awards telecast, while the Jackman-sung Les Miserables track will most definitely be a strong contender. Most award blog pundits expect the songs from Williams, Mumford & Sons and possibly one from Django Unchained.
While we still have 75 to choose from, including tunes originally performed by superstars like Christina Aguilera, John Legend, Jennifer Lopez, Martha Reeves and Jordin Sparks, let us know who you’d like to see perform their song at the Oscars.
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