87th Academy Awards and Best Original Song

Keira Knightley and Adam Levine
in a scene from 'Begin Again'
On December 12, 2014, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced 79 tracks that were eligible for Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards. Like Steve Pond from TheWrap, I listened to all of them. Of the 79 songs, I only enjoyed initially 20. When I whittled those 20 titles down to the ones that I really liked or loved, my absolute favorites that I wished got an Oscar nomination, I had 7 songs. On January 15, 2015, the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were read. Of my 7, only one actually got nominated.

That one song was "Lost Stars," written by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois, from Begin Again and performed in the film by Keira Knightley and Adam Levine. The other nominees included "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," written and performed by Glen Campbell, and co-written and produced by Julian Raymond. The most popular choice was "Everything Is Awesome," written by Shawn Patterson, Joshua Bartholomew, Lisa Harriton, Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone, and performed by Tegan and Sara. The other songs nominated were "Glory," written and performed by Common and John Legend, as well as "Grateful," written by Diane Warren and performed by Rita Ora.

All of these people are first-time Oscar nominees. With all the talk about the lack of diversity among this year's Academy Awards, it is noteworthy that this group of nominees do have somewhat of a diverse background. For example, Common and John Legend who made "Glory" from the film Selma are both African-American. Common whose real name is Lonnie Lynn is 42-years-old, a hip hop artist and actor who has conversely done television and films like American Gangster (2007) opposite Denzel Washington. John Legend aka John Stephens is 36 who attended the University of Pennsylvania and who has won nine Grammy Awards.

Diane Warren wrote "Grateful," which is featured in the film Beyond the Lights, a romantic movie about two black people. Rita Ora who performs it isn't black, but she is a British singer of Albanian descent. Ora is also reportedly a Muslim. That's some diversity. The rest of the nominees are less so.

Gregg Alexander is the former front-man for the alt-rock band New Radicals, a one-hit wonder. Alexander stopped performing and started writing for other artists. Danielle Brisebois is a former child actress on All in the Family and Archie Bunker's Place who was also a member of New Radicals.

Glen Campbell is a country singer who had a CBS variety show in the 1960's. He has 12 gold albums, 4 platinum albums and 1 double-platinum album. He also had nine #1 songs, including "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights." Campbell has won many awards, including the 2012 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Interestingly, Campbell performed at the 42nd Academy Awards or 45 years ago, singing the then-nominated "True Grit." Now, he'll be back possibly to perform nearly a half-century later for his documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me.

Shawn Patterson started out as a production assistant and sound editor for The Ren & Stimpy Show in 1994. He's now been the composer for Robot Chicken since 2010. He teamed with Joshua Bartholomew, Lisa Harriton and the three guys known as The Lonely Island, a musical comedy group popularized on Saturday Night Live with digital shorts, in order to craft the theme song for The Lego Movie.

Yet, I wasn't taken with any of these other songs, except "Lost Stars." I hope "Glory" wins the Oscar as it recently won the Golden Globe for Common and John Legend because it's probably the only real recognition that Selma will get on Oscar night. Selma is in my opinion the best drama of the year. However, here is my list of the six songs that I thought were better.

"The Only Thing" by Moby from Third Person.
"Heavenly Father" by Bon Iver from Wish I Was Here.
"Not About Angels" by Birdy from The Fault in Our Stars.
"Ordinary Human" by OneRepublic from The Giver.
"Way Back When" by Grizfolk from Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
"Miracles" by Coldplay from Unbroken.


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