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Miracles shortlisted for Oscars best original song

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Lorde, Lana Del Rey, Coldplay, Glen Campbell, Patti Smith Among Oscar Song Contenders


79 songs qualify for Oscars, four more than last year


Coldplay, singer-songwriter Lorde and Lana Del Rey, country icon Glen Campbell and punk priestess Patti Smith are among the contenders for the Oscar for Best Original Song, the Academy announced on Friday.


Their songs were part of a list of 79 eligible songs that was released by the Academy, four more/less than last year's total of 75.


Coldplay is eligible for “Miracles,” a song from the Angelina Jolie film “Unbroken.” Lorde wrote and performs “Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part One.” Del Rey wrote and performed the title track from “Big Eyes.” Campbell co-wrote and sings the lament “I'm Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I'll Be Me,” a documentary about his fight against Alzheimer's. And Smith wrote “Mercy Is,” a lullaby sung by Russell Crowe in “Noah” and repeated in a closing-credits version by Smith.


Other songs include a new tune written for the musical “Annie” by Sia, and two songs from Richard Linklater‘s “Boyhood.”


Only one song was submitted from “Begin Again,” the music-filled movie directed by John Carney. His last film, “Once,” contained the Oscar-winner “Falling Slowly,” and his new one had a number of songs that could have qualified. But only “Lost Stars,” sung in the film in different versions by Adam Levine and Keira Knightley, was submitted.


The animated film “Rio 2” qualified four songs, while “If I Stay,” “Million Dollar Arm,” “Muppets Most Wanted” and “Rudderless” each qualified three.


Members of the music branch will be sent a DVD containing the scenes in which all of the eligible songs are used, and will vote for their favorites after viewing that compilation. (Or presumably viewing it – they're on the honor system.)


Nominations will be announced on Jan. 15.


see the full list here

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"Miracles" On Short List for Academy Award Nomination for "Unbroken"


Coldplay's "Miracles" on the short list for nomination for Best Original Song for the Academy Awards.



Things We've Learned About the Oscar Song and Score Races (Watch Chris Martin Perform Live)


By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! December 15, 2014 at 3:32PM

Over the weekend, the Best Original Score and Best Original Song races lit up in Los Angeles. Here's what we learned.



Chris Martin performing the 'Unbroken' theme in LA



On Sunday, Universal feted "Unbroken" with a starry luncheon at Fig & Olive in West Hollywood, where director Angelina Jolie, plagued by the chicken pox, was not in attendance. Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, however, did take the stage to play his Best Original Song contender "Miracles" for an intimate industry and Academy crowd. In the audience were "Unbroken" stars Jack O'Connell and Miyavi (who, along with the film, were snubbed across-the-board by the SAG Awards and Globes last week) and cinematographer Roger Deakins, who is in the running for his 12th Oscar nomination. (TOH! interview here.)


Though this rather overwrought, modern-sounding tune closes the otherwise period-based "Unbroken" with a bit of a thud, Martin effectively wooed the audience with his charming stage banter and heartfelt performance. (He was later joined by "Unbroken" star Garrett Hedlund to sing a rocky, but well-meaning and sincere rendition of "White Christmas." THR's Scott Feinberg posted a clip on YouTube, below.)


Araya Diaz/Getty Images Trent Reznor and Michael Keaton


Afterward, we hit up Soho House, where "Gone Girl" Best Original Score contenders Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross were touted by Jimmy Iovine, pictured. These two Oscar winners for 2012's "The Social Network," also directed by Fincher, are currently toward the front of the Oscar-running. Their menacing, electro-based "Gone Girl" score is not only a great film soundtrack, but a great album on its own. (Among attendees at the "Gone Girl" mixer were legendary composer Diane Warren, who penned a song for underappreciated "Beyond the Lights," and cult hermit Vincent Gallo, looking like Rasputin with a long gray beard.)

So who else is building steam in this race?

WATCH Exclusive Video Interview: How Reznor Collaborates with Fincher on 'Gone Girl'

While the critics' favorite this year has perennially been Mica Levi's haunting, European Film Award-winning "Under the Skin" arrangements—winning LA and Boston prizes and a British Independent Film nomination—it's unlikely to end up in the Oscar heap.

Well overdue, six-time Oscar nominee Alexandre Desplat ("Philomena," "Argo," "The King's Speech") is in the running for both "The Imitation Game," whose propulsive chamber score has more momentum, and Globes shutout "Unbroken." While neither score is the lauded French film composer's best work, the music branch may want to give him career-tipping honors—or will Desplat cancel himself out? He'll be hard-pressed to land nods for both films. (But his stellar, more-deserving "Grand Budapest Hotel" score is now a Grammy nominee, as are Reznor and Ross for "Gone Girl.")

READ: How Composer Alexandre Desplat Captures Different WWII Vibes for "Imitation Game" and "Unbroken"


Alexandre Desplat


Several erstwhile Oscar score contenders fell out of the race this weekend. On Friday, the Academy dropped its list of eligible scores, excluding Golden Globe nominee Antonio Sanchez's drum soundtrack for "Birdman," which contains snatches of "found" classical music, as well as the also drum-heavy classic "Whiplash" score. Fox Searchlight will cotinue to push Sanchez for a Golden Globe win, however.

Watch: How "Birdman" Composer Antonio Sanchez Drummed the Score

The other Globe nominees are Desplat for "The Imitation Game," Johan Johanson for "Theory of Everything," the "Gone Girl" duo and Hans Zimmer, whose "Interstellar" score could use a boost and may prove too heavy-handed for Oscar voters who lean toward the melody and overall tunefulness of an original score. Though snubbed by the HFPA, watch out for "How to Train Your Dragon 2" composer John Powell, who we think could sneak into the final Oscar five for Best Original Score.

In terms of the Best Original Song race, most shockingly ousted by the Globes was Gregg Alexander's lovely, acoustic-based "Begin Again" theme song "Lost Stars," as well as the Mark Mothersbaugh-produced "Everything Is Awesome" from "The Lego Movie," performed by indie pop sister duo Tegan and Sara.

Gregg Alexander, New Radicals Frontman Turned Oscar Contender, Talks "Begin Again"

Six-time nominee Diane Warren penned "Grateful" for indie sleeper "Beyond the Lights," which Relativity is putting little weight behind this Oscar season. While hobnobbing at Soho House, Warren revealed that she feels so strongly about the song, and the film, that she's considering campaigning independently. (Anne Thompson put the film on her 2014 ten best list.)

Another Best Original Song sleeper could be "A Most Violent Year" composer Alex Ebert, whose intense theme "America For Me" reflects the tormented inner life of Oscar Isaac's immigrant turned guilt-ridden oil tycoon Abel. (Read our interview with Ebert here.)



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Article From The New York Times:

[h=3]Awards Season[/h] [h=2]Hearing Oscar Buzz In Genre-Busting Scores[/h] [h=1]Patti Smith, Trent Reznor and Others on Writing Film Music[/h] By CARA BUCKLEYJAN. 7, 2015



Continue reading the main story Video carpetbagger-patti-smith-videoSixteenByNine540.jpg [h=5]Play Video|3:02[/h]



Patti Smith, the “godmother of punk,” crossed a new frontier when she wrote an original song for the movie “Noah,” based on the biblical flood.

Video by Samantha Stark on Publish Date January 7, 2015.




The musical tastes of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have rarely been synonymous with cutting edge. For every Oscar doled out to the likes of Eminem and Three 6 Mafia, who in the last dozen years became the first rap and hip-hop acts to win best song, umpteen more have landed in the hands of such syrupy crooners as Phil Collins, Celine Dion, or, God bless him, the inarguably talented, sardonically chipper Randy Newman.

Still, as others have noted before, the Academy has broadened its music palette, giving nods to world and folk music along with hip-hop. The best score race took a delectable swerve four years ago, when Trent Reznor, the dark prince behind the industrial band Nine Inch Nails, and Atticus Ross beat out the stalwarts Hans Zimmer and Alexandre Desplat with their tense, pixelating soundtrack for “The Social Network.”

This year, perhaps as a sign of the times, an increased number of less sanguine artists have found their way into the Oscar conversation. Mr. Reznor and Mr. Ross are back again, having scored “Gone Girl,” their third collaboration with the director David Fincher. Patti Smith, rock poet and godmother of punk, has earned a Golden Globe nomination, her first, for her lullaby “Mercy Is” from “Noah.” Also nominated for their first Golden Globes — being handed out on Sunday — are the drowsily downbeat songstress Lana Del Rey (for the titular track from “Big Eyes”) and Lorde (for “Yellow Flicker Beat” from “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1”).

Photo jpbagger1-articleLarge.jpg


Trent Reznor, pictured, scored “Gone Girl” with Atticus Ross. “We fooled them all,” Mr. Reznor told the Bagger, with a wink, during a recent joint interview with Mr. Ross.

Not all genre-busting music scores have been embraced. The percussive soundtracks to both “Whiplash” and “Birdman” were deemed ineligible by the Academy, which in its rule book bars “scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music.” The “Birdman” composer, Antonio Sanchez, and director, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, filed protests arguing for its inclusion — unsuccessfully.

The Bagger chatted with a few of this year’s potential Academy musical nominees about how they found their way into film, among them Mr. Reznor; Ms. Smith; Chris Martin, who wrote “Miracles” for “Unbroken”; and Common, who is a co-writer of “Glory,” for “Selma.”


For even the most established musician, writing music for the big screen evoked a muted terror.

“There’s nothing worse than when you’re watching a movie and one of the characters takes you out and you no longer believe the atmosphere,” said Ms. Smith, who recorded “Mercy Is” with the Kronos Quartet. “The same thing can happen with the wrong piece of music, so I felt a responsibility.”

Her involvement with “Noah” started by happenstance; she bumped into its director, Darren Aronofsky, at the Venice Film Festival. He told her he needed a lullaby for Russell Crowe to sing in “Noah,” about the Old Testament flood, and that the song would play a crucial role in the film’s narrative. Ms. Smith, who was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness and steeped in the Bible, quickly offered herself. “I aggressively volunteered to write the lullaby because I like lullabies,” she said. “I have a strong relationship with the text.” Mr. Aronofsky was thrilled. “I tried to act as cool as possible and be as nonchalant as I could,” he said.


Ms. Smith, however, was nervous. Recording the song with the Kronos Quartet was, she said, “more daunting than playing at the Vatican.” (She has performed at the Vatican Christmas Concert for the past two years.) “They have such a beautiful, dissonant way of playing,” she said of the quartet, “and I had to find my way live into their world.”

And while she had written a song for “The Hunger Games” soundtrack and allowed her compositions to be used in movies, she had never penned one upon which a key plot point would depend.

Photo bagger-articleLarge.jpg


Patti Smith received a Golden Globe nomination for her song “Mercy Is” from “Noah.” Credit Gregorio Borgia/Associated Press Mr. Reznor faced performance anxiety of his own when it came to composing scores. While Mr. Fincher directed Nine Inch Nails’ 2005 video “Only” — and used a remix of the band’s hit “Closer” in the film “Seven,” Mr. Reznor had never thought much about music in movies. “A lot of it I think is not exciting to me,” he said.

After Mr. Fincher asked Mr. Reznor and Mr. Ross to write music for “The Social Network,” the two were immediately fearful of “ruining his movie,” Mr. Reznor said. But the exact opposite happened — they won the Oscar. They also hatched a way of working that they would also use for Mr. Fincher’s next two films, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and “Gone Girl”: After homing in on the film’s emotional world, they sent a dozen or so five-minute compositions to Mr. Fincher, and then spent ages sculpting and tweaking. Both men said they felt they had Mr. Fincher’s unalloyed support as well as his protection should studio heads dissent.

“There are points in the score which are very kind of experimental and weird,” Mr. Ross said. “You need a director who has that level of sophistication musically speaking to allow you to go there.”

Mr. Reznor said the work also offered a fresh alternative to a rock musician’s often cyclical life of recording and touring, without making him feel as if he and Mr. Ross had sold out.

“To be able to put out something that I think is very subversive and smart to a mainstream audience, and to see it be financially successful, that feels good,” Mr. Reznor said.

Mr. Reznor may have paid little attention to film soundtracks before intersecting with Mr. Fincher, but Mr. Martin, of Coldplay, said he and his mates spent a good part of their teenage years writing James Bond-like music. Yet for ages after becoming successful, Coldplay did not write original songs for movies. “For a long time, we were holding out to do a Bond theme,” Mr. Martin joshed. When it became clear that wasn’t happening, the band agreed to write “Atlas” for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013), earning Grammy and Golden Globe nominations. Then Angelina Jolie came calling, asking for a song for “Unbroken.” Mr. Martin said the band members found the books on which “Unbroken” and “Hunger Games” were based to be deeply inspiring, ergo their decision in both cases to say yes.

“Anything that opens up fresh parts of your imagination is to be encouraged,” he said, “but you can only really do it if you respond to the subject.”

In “Selma,” Common, the rapper and actor, played the civil rights activist James Bevel; the director Ava DuVernay was already deep in editing when she asked him about doing a song as well. He immediately thought of working with John Legend, who quickly agreed, and three days later sent Common “Glory,” a piece with soaring vocals over an original piano.

“When I received it, I felt a joy,” Common said. He laid down his vocals, and played it for Ms. DuVernay over the phone. “She was so happy,” he said. “She told me that before I played it she was thinking, ‘How can I tell him if I don’t like this?’ ” The song quickly won accolades, and Common said that he knew they had hit the right note when both his mother and 17-year-old daughter teared up after hearing it.

“I really felt that we had created something that felt right,” he said.

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