Academy Fight Songs: Oscars 2017

With awards season in full swing, the big kahuna Academy Awards are upon us February 26th.  The movie industry’s biggest night has plenty for music fans to chew on though, as stellar performers have been lined up for Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre.

Nominees for Best Original Song in a motion picture include gems from Sting, Justin Timberlake, and La La Land’s “City of Stars” as well as “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)”, performed in the film by Emma Stone. Composer Justin Hurwitz is honored by 3 nominations for his work on the Hollywood love note La La Land, including for Original Score.

Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” comes to us by way of Trolls. (The film, not the internet bullies). The sugar-poppy number debuted at number one on the Hot 100 and was called by Slate “Timberlake’s ‘lightest confection’ since his boy band days”.  We’ll take it.  And it’s more than just a catchy little tune. It’s made history outta the gate: first week sales reached 379,000 which is strikingly the highest weekly amount for any song last year.  This alongside 15 million first week streams, mind you. Equally notable, “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is only the 26th song in Hot 100 history to debut at number one.

Also, getting a nod is “How Far I’ll Go”, from Disney’s Moana, a 3D computer animated musical comedy.  The song is performed in the film by American actress and singer Auli’i Cravalho , in the role of the film’s namesake. Canadian singer Alessia Cara performed the song on the film’s soundtrack.  “How Far I’ll Go” was written and produced by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Sting enjoys his 4th nomination, for “The Empty Chair” from Jim: The James Foley Story, HBO’s documentary honoring the legacy of the frontline journalist abducted and murdered in Syria in 2014. The song was composed with 2 time academy award winner J. Ralph.  Sting had this to say about the powerful song. “I was celebrating Thanksgiving with family and it dawned on me: leave an empty chair. If this happened to me…  I got my lyric! When you find the metaphor, you have your song, but until you find that metaphor, it’s tricky. This was the guy who told the stories of refugees. I wanted to honor his hope and courage, real American heroism, not the John Wayne kind. This is important because he died to tell the truth.”

All are set to perform at the big event along with the man, the myth, John Legend.

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