What To Watch For in 2012: Oscar’s 2012 Best Original Song

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A lot of criticism has been made on the interwebs about this years Oscar’s. It’s either complaints about Drive’s measly Sound Editing nom or Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close sneaking its way into a Best Picture nom. The real travesty is the depressing category of “Best Original Song”. This is a category that at one time truly meant something to America, and to the music industry as a whole. Those days seem to be somewhere over the rainbow now, as with this year’s 84thAcademy Awards there stands only two contestants.

First up:

Rio– “Real in Rio” Music: Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown. Lyrics: Siedah Garrett

While I have not seen the film Rio, I have heard the soundtrack is primarily the highlight of the film; the lively and vibrant colors of the tropical cast are brought to life by the equally as energetic music. “Real in Rio” is a hot island track that’s sure to melt even the coldest of hearts, featuring the entire A-List cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, and will.i.am. Other than the very eclectic mix of celebrities featured in the song, the musicians and writers of the song are the source of the track’s samba and bossa nova feel. Sergio Mendes, from Brazil himself, has been in the music industry for over 50 years, and has worked with will.i.am’s Black Eyed Peas earlier in 2006.

Second on our list:
The Muppets– “Man or Muppet” Music & Lyrics: Bret McKenzie

As a personal favorite, I will attempt to remain unbiased. The Muppets revival this past year was a risky endeavor, but it has shown through commercial and critical success that Kermit and friends are far from retired. The songs throughout the film draw from earlier Muppets films, often with silly wordplay, meta-references, and boisterous Broadway-like choreography. Sung by the two leading men (or are they Muppets?) Jason Segel and Peter Linz, the song’s lyrics deal with the complicated and existential crisis of a personal identity. And it’s pretty dang funny. Written by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords, the soundtrack is heavily influenced by the band’s tongue and cheek lyrics, while still helping the story progress.

Now we have these two great songs, very different from each other, yet both great representations of the light-hearted cinematic world. While the ambience and dynamic tunes of “Real in Rio” are qualities to take into consideration, the storytelling and cleverness of “Man or Muppet” as well as it’s musicality convince me it’s deserving of the little golden man. See who wins 7pm|et Sunday, Feb 26th on ABC.

-Graham Barkley

PS: I find it funny that one of the villains in Rio is voiced by Jemaine Clement, the other half of McKenzie’s Flight of the Conchords.

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