U2, Pharrell Williams and Karen O -- names more befitting of Grammy nominations than the
The tune was written by the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Kristen Anderson-
Despite the accolades for "Her," which also received a best picture nomination this morning, this was no sure bet. Collaborations between Jonze and the Yeah Yeah Yeah's frontwoman have been overlooked before (see the whimsical "All Is Love" from
Yet credit academy voters, albeit tentatively, for moving away from songs tacked on to a film's end credits. "Let It Go" is integral to the evolution of "Frozen," a song that's a plot device as much as it is a character study, and "The Moon Song" brings awkwardly harmonious humanity to the most unconventional of love stories. Both films would suffer dearly without them.
Considering that two years ago academy voters could find only two songs worthy of consideration -- the borderline novelty "Man or Muppet" from
Perhaps the argument voters will make for including the namesake song from "Alone Yet Not Alone," a film that's hard to find even with the all-knowing power of
The song from the Christian film, based on a period novel by Tracy Leininger Craven, is composed by Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel. Said to be a recurring theme throughout the film, the song is a spiritual tome that tries to move by simply being reverential.
Why it's nominated and not, say, the more mournful yet communal spiritual from "12 Years a Slave," or Stanfield's aforementioned heart-wrenching rap from "Short Term 12," is puzzling, but it's not impossible to form a plausible theory.
What's more, William Ross, who composed the score for the film, has served as music director for the Academy Awards show now three times. Unfair as it may be, it's hard to overlook such connections when the film virtually came out of nowhere to score an Oscar nomination.
Its inclusion is questionable, and evidence that strides still need to be made when it comes to the Oscar song field. Although "Short Term 12" may not be a household name, one didn't have to dig deep to find unconventional songs worthy of consideration. Take, for instance, M83's
But for every award show there must be a few steps forward along with those that head in the opposite direction, and Williams' "Happy" from "Despicable Me 2" can help cleanse the palate. It's feather-light compared to the other animated number in this category, but it's decorated with a low-key soul groove and understated keyboard shading. It's a buoyant, feel-good summer song at its most chill.
The field is rounded out by U2's "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom." The song won the corresponding category at the Golden Globes, but there's typically zero-to-little overlap in which songs top each ceremony.
Ultimately, when it comes to Oscars and music, those who are still patiently awaiting the Academy Awards to validate this little celebrated art form should heed a piece of advice from the song that will likely and deservedly win this year's Oscar: Let it go.