Oscar Potential for Best Original Song

Mary J. Blige performing
"The Living Proof" from The Help
This past year, 97 original scores were eligible for the Academy Award. The nominations will be announced on Tuesday, January 24, and, based on early buzz, previous winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will hear their names again for their music in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Five-time Oscar-winner John Williams will likely be nominated for War Horse, yet another collaboration with Steven Spielberg. Three-time Oscar-winner Howard Shore is a front-runner for his work on Martin Scorsese's Hugo. But, two first-time Oscar-nominees could be called on that Tuesday. One could be French composer Ludovic Bource for The Artist and the other could be former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Cliff Martinez for Drive.

In mid-December, the Academy listed all the tracks that were eligible for the other music category, Best Original Song. That list included 39 titles. All of them, except for about 10, are by well-known artists.

But, a lot of the eligible songs for the Oscar come from independent movies that haven't pervaded the consciousness of people, at least not in the way that movie songs of the past did. I don't listen to the radio or watch much of MTV, so maybe I'm in no position to judge, but where is this year's "My Heart Will Go On" or "I Will Always Love You" or "The Circle of Life"?

I suppose if you're looking for the diva songs, the obvious choice, which might win over the Academy is "The Living Proof" by Mary J. Blige from the summer hit The Help. Another diva song could be Elton John's "Hello Hello" from Gnomeo & Juliet. He did a duet version with Lady Gaga. It's cute, but hardly Oscar-worthy, which is why Madonna's "Masterpiece," a song from her unreleased W.E. beat it at the Golden Globes.

Of those 39 eligible, original songs though, here are the half-dozen that I think have the most potential and should get an Oscar nomination. Here are my favorites of those songs.

1. "Think You Can Wait" by The National from Win Win

2. "Life's a Happy Song" by Jason Segel, Peter Linz, and Amy Adams from The Muppets

3. "Bridge of Light" by Pink from Happy Feet Two

4. "Where the River Goes" by Zac Brown from Footloose

5. "Taking You With Me" by Mindy Smith from Our Idiot Brother

6. "Real in Rio" by Various Artists from Rio


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