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There's usually a fair amount of disparity between the Grammy nominations in the 'Visual Media' music categories and the choices of the Academy's music branch -- not least because they work on such different calendars. Still, with the Best Original Song race currently looking so sparse (seriously, just hand the Muppets their Oscar now and skip the formalities), we may as well take what signs we can get.
The Grammy race for Best Song Written for Visual Media highlights three eligible compositions I hadn't really thought to include in my predictions. I highly doubt the Academy will share Grammy voters' enthusiasm for Justin Bieber, and I'm not even sure how concert films would fare under their context-oriented voting system, but nevertheless, chalk up the Diane Warren-written "Born to be Somebody" from "Never Say Never" on the longlist.
Warren is also nominated in the category for Cher's "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque," the song the Academy deemed less integral to its film than something Randy Newman scrawled on the back of a matchbook for "Toy Story 3," but why reopen old wounds?
Perhaps a likelier candidate for Oscar inclusion is "So Long" from "Winnie the Pooh," which is both written and performed in the film by Zooey Deschanel -- it's hard to say whether her relative celebrity is a help or a hindrance with these voters, but it's the kind of mellow, pretty, slightly quirky oddity they frequently respond to. It'd be fun to see Deschanel on stage, if a little curious to see her first Academy recognition comes for her music rather than her acting. (We could call it a make-up nomination for the Best Supporting Actress bid she deserved for "The Good Girl" nine years ago.)
I haven't seen "Footloose" yet, so can't really say how Zac Brown's "Where the River Goes" might figure into things, but perhaps you can enlighten me. (Prominently missing from the Grammys' list: original songs from "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "The Help." Not that that means anything.)
Meanwhile, only one 2011 title makes it into the Grammys' Best Score category, but it's a pertinent one: amid the ubiquitous Alexandre Desplat's umpteen horses in this year's race, I'm wondering if his proficient if not especially striking work on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" might float to the top. He gets a second nod for "The King's Speech," while I'm glad to see the Grammy voters, at least, are sentient enough to recognize the best score of 2010: Daft Punk's epic work on "TRON: Legacy."
They also commendably list Clint Mansell's Oscar-ineligible, Tchaikovsky-interpolating score for "Black Swan" -- but what really intrigues me is the nomination for a 2010 Canadian horror film I've never heard of called "The Shrine." A little help, please? I'm guessing the score must be something else.
Full list of nominees in the relevant categories:
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media
"Black Swan," Clint Mansell
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," Alexandre Desplat
"The King's Speech," Alexandre Desplat
"The Shrine," Ryan Shore
"TRON: Legacy," Daft Punk
Best Song Written For Visual Media
"Born to be Somebody" from "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" (Diane Warren)
"Christmastime is Killing Us" from "Family Guy" (Ron Jones, Seth MacFarlane and Danny Smith)
"I See the Light" from "Tangled" (Alan Menken and Glenn Slater)
"So Long" from "Winnie the Pooh" (Zooey Deschanel)
"Where the River Goes" from "Footloose" (Zac Brown, Wyatt Durrette, Drew Pearson and Anne Preven)
"You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque" (Diane Warren)
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media
"Boardwalk Empire: Vol. 1"
"Glee: The Music, Vol. 4"
"True Blood: Vol. 3"
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