The Food and Wine Hedonist

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A Breakdown of the 2014 Oscar Songs

The 84th Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday and once again I’ve failed to watch ANY of the films nominated for Best Picture. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE movies. It’s just that we can never agree on the same movie to see.

Wait, that’s not right… The family always agrees to not see movies I pick out. Of the Best Picture nominees, I really wanted to see Her, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street. Instead, I got to see this:



In 2012, the Academy was only able to scrounge up TWO songs to nominate for an Oscar, so I came up with Five Oscars-Inspired Songs. Last year, they came up with five songs but they were horrible. So I offered songs that they should’ve used in those movies that were considerably better. This year, they got it right – enough songs and they’re all pretty good.

But the first thing they got right was they took away a nomination for a song from Alone Yet Not Alone.  Speaking of not being alone – don’t worry, no one else ever heard of the movie.  It was some strongly Evangelical Christian movie that was out for a week or two in September.  It was a major miracle that the theme, sung by a quadriplegic, beat out the likes of Taylor Swift and Coldplay for the nomination. And that miracle had a name – Bruce Broughton. He was the former head of the Academy’s music branch and it seems that he emailed a bunch of the Academy members during the nomination period.  Ooops.  Nomination gone.


Here are the remaining songs –

“Let it Go” from Frozen
I probably enjoyed the Disney princess movies as much as my daughters did because of my love of musical theater. I’m a big fan of Broadway star Idina Menzel, who sang the version in the movie, and I kinda like the Demi Lovato take on the song. But here’s the best version, sung by a 4-year-old.

“Happy” from Despicable Me 2

I desperately want this to win. It has catchy lyrics and infectious beat that makes you feel, well, happy. Hearing it, you can easily envision the movie’s minions dancing around.

“The Moon Song” from Her
Every review I’ve read from professional critics and heard from friends says that this is hands-down one of the best movies made in the last several years. I can’t wait to get this on my Netflix queue, only to have it pushed down the list by the kids’ Japanese anime movies. This song was written by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and, although I haven’t seen the movie, seems to capture the smart, intimate, and sweet mood of the movie. It’s a terrific song.


“Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

I like U2 and this is the first song they’ve released in a few years. They were asked to contribute a song for the movie and they jumped at the opportunity to pay homage to their friend Nelson Mandela.

So who’s going to win?
I guess you can’t go wrong with any of them – they are all great songs that fit with their movies. We’ve been listening to “Happy” quite a bit and am dying to see if Pharrell Williams wears his Hogwarts Sorting Hat onstage to accept the award.

Oscars 2014 pharrell hat

Can one of the four people who saw the Mandela movie tell me when the U2 tune is played in the movie? I think it’s only over the closing credits, which is a cheap way to get a song nominated.  I like it when a song is actually part of a movie.  On that note, “The Moon Song” or “Let it Go” should win because they were actually sung by characters in their respective movies.

But the Oscar’s probably going to be U2. The others are either too indie, too pop, or too Disney to win.  And, at the risk of sounding crass, an ode to Nelson Mandela released weeks before his death is too good of a story to pass up.

Are you going to watch the Oscars? Which of the movies should I see first?



About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

17 comments on “A Breakdown of the 2014 Oscar Songs

  1. Yinzerella
    February 28, 2014

    I thought that Wolf of Wall Street was pretty good. It was the only Oscar movie I saw this year. I never go to the movies anymore. Sad face.

  2. the drunken cyclist
    February 28, 2014

    I have not been to a non-animated movie in the theater in about 11 years. I play “Happy” everyday at 4:55–no joke. I hope it wins as well.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 28, 2014

      Be prepared to start watching Action Movies with your boys. I don’t mind them, but it’s weird – as soon as my son turned 10 a switch turned on in his head and can’t get enough of them.

  3. Shirley Marquez
    February 28, 2014

    I won’t be watching the Oscars. I like to find out what wins but I find the award show excruciating. For many years I said that watching the Oscars was like watching paint dry. Then I repainted my bedroom a few years ago and got to watch paint dry, and I discovered that what I had said was a grave injustice… to the paint. Wet paint and dry paint are slightly different colors, and as the paint dries you get interesting subtle patterns. (Watching old fashioned oil based paint dry would have been dull; it dried too slowly. And the color gradients in white paint would probably be TOO subtle.)

    I can understand why you didn’t get to see a lot of the Oscar winners with the family; this year’s crop isn’t very family-friendly. Six of the nine are rated R, though unusually for Hollywood it’s more about sex than violence this year. (And one nominee, Nebraska, evidently got its R just for language.) Gravity is the only one of the nine that I would take pre-teens to see. (I haven’t yet seen Captain Phillips.) The content of Philomena isn’t the problem for the younger ones, though there is occasional salty language; the real problem is that they would be bored silly.

    The Wolf Of Wall Street is perhaps the epitome of non-family-friendly filmmaking. There is lots of sex with prostitutes, rampant drug use, and a record-shattering number of F-bombs. And all of that pales compared to the fact that the main character is an immoral swindler. Honestly, I’d show a young child Shortbus before I’d show the kid The Wolf Of Wall Street. But it’s a good film for adults, kept from greatness by insufficient editing.

    12 Years A Slave is a classic watch-once movie; a powerful experience that you will have no interest in repeating. Too much graphic violence for the young ones, but teens probably should see it.

    Of the ones that I have seen so far, it’s a toss-up between Dallas Buyers Club (which wasn’t on your list of the films you wanted to see) and Gravity. But I haven’t yet seen Her, which as a geek who worked in an AI-related company many years ago is likely to speak to me. I will be seeing that tomorrow as part of AMC’s (the theater chain, not the cable channel) Best Picture Showcase, so by midnight tomorrow I will have seen all nine nominees.

    Final note: I’d take Frozen as my favorite film of the year rather than any of the Best Picture nominees. But animated films are rarely nominated for Best Picture (there have only been three: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Up, and Toy Story 3) and none has ever won. Beauty and the Beast should have; I didn’t love Silence of the Lambs and it was a see-once for me. Whether Up or Avatar should have been the 2009 winner is a hard call, but it’s clear that The Hurt Locker, the least successful Best Picture of all time, should not have been. (Avatar lost for two reasons: the Academy hates James Cameron and they hate science fiction.) Toy Story 3 is another hard call, but my pick that year would have been The Kids Are All Right. (The King’s Speech won; not my first pick but not an egregiously bad one like the previous year.)

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 28, 2014

      Thanks for the comment! My kids are fine with most content, but it often comes down to preferences for them – like you mentioned with Philomena. They’d rather see a rom-com than that. Or fantasy stuff like Hobbit and Catching Fire (which I felt got snubbed on a lot of the technical categories). They do want to see 12 Years, Gravity, and Her though…

  4. The List Love
    February 28, 2014

    I love Let it Go. Probably one of the best songs for an animated movie in a long, long time.

    Nice article.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 28, 2014

      Thank you! I wanted to see Frozen, but had other commitments when the kids saw it – both times.

  5. Duff's Wines
    February 28, 2014

    This is the first year that I’ve seen more than one of the nominated movies/actors, etc. I’ve seen Her, Dallas Buyers Club, Blue Jasmine, Philomena. All great. Liked DBC because of the subject matter and the acting. Philomena because, well Judi Dench is Judi. Her was the most thoughtful of them all – very well done, quite troubling actually. And, Blue Jasmine – great dialogue and flawed characters a la Woody. You can’t go wrong.
    And, what is with all the animation? There seems to be more and more of them with no end in sight. Kids can handle real people. they don;’t need every book to be about witches, vampires and the future or every movie to be animated. But, I don’t have to go or read them, do I?

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 28, 2014

      Animation is great because it allows for just about anything in storytelling – like with Avatar. But what I like about full animation is that you’ll never have those moments when you look at something and think “that’s fake” or “wow, I wonder how they did that.” By buying the ticket you’ve already suspended disbelief.

      How was Her? I just read another glowing write-up about it this morning.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      February 28, 2014

      one more thing – animated movies are cheaper to make. And profit is a bigger driver than artistry…

      • Shirley Marquez
        February 28, 2014

        Animated movies aren’t always cheaper to make. Estimated budgets for the 2013 Best Animated Feature nominees, plus this year’s Pixar film, according to Wikipedia:

        Monsters University: $200 million
        Frozen: $150 million
        The Croods: $135 million
        Despicable Me 2: $76 million
        The Wind Rises: $30 million
        Ernest & Celestine: $9.6 million

        The two films from outside the US are bargains but the others are not.

      • Duff's Wines
        February 28, 2014

        Her was fabulous. Serious and well done.

  6. Cowboys and Crossbones
    February 28, 2014

    I’m all in with Pharrell winning AND I’m also dying to see if he wears his Smoky the Bear hat. The only Oscar nominated film I’ve seen is American Hustle and I really liked it. That being said, the Academy Awards are like my Super Bowl so I will be watching with snacks, champagne, fabulous pajamas and my cat. Cheers!

  7. ksbeth
    February 28, 2014

    i’m going to go with u2 as well, for many reasons. as for movies, i loved nebraska and american hustle the most )

  8. PinotNinja
    March 3, 2014

    While I love Pharrel and Karen O. and I hate rhyming acceptance speeches, I think the Frozen win was the right call. Seeing how obsessed all the children who I know are with that song, there is something magically outstanding about it. Plus, Adele Dazeem performed the hell out of it.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      March 4, 2014

      Ha! I dvr’d it so I could watch walking dead. But stopped on West Side Story on the way there. Heard about Travolra butchering and it sounded like it may have thrown off her timing? Will check it out.

      It’s was a great win for Frozen. Want to see it…

  9. Pingback: And the 2015 Oscar for Best Original Song Goes to… | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on February 28, 2014 by in Music and tagged , , , , , , .
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