Check to make sure the rivers haven’t turned to blood and all first-borns aren’t suddenly afflicted with pox, because the impossible has happened: Taylor Swift was not nominated for an award.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ passing on Swift’s “Sweeter Than Fiction” (from the film One Chance) is easily one of the most high-profile snubs from this morning’s Oscar nominations announcement. The song was nominated for a Golden Globe and seemed like an obvious pick for an invite on Oscar night, if only because people love giving Taylor Swift gold trophies (and also because it would have brought some much-needed youth to the Oscar party).
Instead, the contenders in the Best Original Song category are U2’s “Ordinary Love” (from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom), Karen O’s “The Moon Song” (Her), Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” (Despicable Me 2), Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel’s “Alone But Not Alone” (from the deeply obscure Christian film of the same name), and the song “Let It Go” from the Disney blockbuster Frozen, which is performed by Idina Menzel and written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. (It’s the writers, not the performers, who take home the gold.)
The race seems to be down to the Golden Globe winner and sentimental favorite “Ordinary Love” (which would be as much an award for the late Nelson Mandela as it would be for U2) and the sales juggernaut “Let It Go” (which has propelled the Frozen soundtrack to the top of the mainstream album chart and elevated it to gold status). “Happy” and “The Moon Song” are much longer shots, but both are both cool choices crafted by deeply respected members of the music world.
Of course, that leaves “Alone But Not Alone,” one of the most inexplicable Oscar nominations in the history of the awards. The film barely exists, and the song itself is a dreary dirge of a hymn that sounds like it should be played in the midst of a sleepy Sunday morning mass. It has virtually no chance of winning, and its legacy will be as a bizarre curiosity in a category notorious for them.
It would be a less shocking inclusion if the Oscar nomination shortlist (75 songs in all) didn’t contain so many markedly stronger options.
In addition to Swift’s song (which is an excellent entry into an already well-appointed catalog), there’s Coldplay’s “Atlas” (their atmospheric meditation from the soundtrack to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and was also nominated for a Golden Globe), Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” (easily the best justification for the otherwise dreary Great Gatsby’s existence), Ed Sheeran’s quietly explosive “I See Fire” (from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug), two spectacular Edie Brickell songs that appeared in The Way, Way Back, and the awesomely spooky Emily Wells jam “Becomes The Color” (from the deeply underrated Stoker).
Heck, even if the Academy wanted to go with something that had a little Jesus in it, why not get behind Jennifer Hudson and Angela Bassett’s sweet duet “He Loves Me Still” from Black Nativity?
Perhaps the most enraging element of this year’s Best Original Song category is that one of the most important songs in any film this year, “Please Mr. Kennedy” from Inside Llewyn Davis, was not even eligible for a nomination because it incorporated too many elements from older folks songs (though when you hear T. Bone Burnett talk about its construction, it’s clearly an original work).
What other original songs got snubbed from the Oscars? Who would you have kicked out to make room for your favorite? Let us know below.