Saturday, June 16, 2007

Once: the soundtrack, the Oscar odds

OK. So I've done some research on Wikipedia, and I think I've figured out which songs are eligible. I've been wondering about this a lot lately, and actually asked about it on Once's IMDB board. But then I realized: I'm a smart guy; why don't I just look it up myself? So I did.

Here are the 13 tracks on the Once soundtrack. Non-originals are scratched out. My favorite songs are in bold. Comments about each track, and it's Oscar likeliness, are to the side:

1) "Falling Slowly" (f**k. coulda won the oscar)
2) "If You Want Me" (maybe? I could see this happening)
3) "Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy" (not even really a song)
4) "When Your Mind's Made Up" (dammit. this might've had a shot)
5) "Lies" (great song, but wouldn't have been nominated anyway)
6) "Gold" (I wish... too lyrical, and too unassuming)
7) "The Hill" (too sad, too tiny, too personal)
8) "Fallen From The Sky" (nope)
9) "Leave" (not a huge loss)
10) "Trying to Pull Myself Away" (not happening)
11) "All The Way Down" (good song, but no)
12) "Once" (I don't see this happening, but it is the title song...)
13) "Say It To Me Now" (I love the song, but it's just not oscary)

A quick glance at this list shows that there's only one real possibility for oscar play. That'd be "If You Want Me," a dreamy little number from the middle of the film, one of only two songs with Markéta Irglová on lead vocals (the other is "The Hill"). It's also distinctive in that it's the only musical sequence in the film that's not entirely realistic; it's the only time the film touches on the kind of "out of nowhere" Hollywood musical abandon that it otherwise eschews for stark naturalism. Judging from the IMDB boards, many people truly love this song, and while it's not my personal favorite, it is ONE of my favorites, and definitely one of the stronger ones. I could definitely see it being performed on the Oscar telecast, which is more than I can say for most Once songs (at least the originals). That said, it's not really their kinda song - too dark and moody - and if nominated, it'd have no chance of winning.

Then, of course, there's "Once." This song is played over the credits at the end, REALLY at the end, after other songs have played over the credits. It kind of has a tone of winding down, and there's no real climax. I think it's one of the weakest songs on the album. It's still great, don't get me wrong, but next to the rest of the stuff, it's not that special. So I hope they don't go campaigning this one, expecting it to be "THE ONE" that gets the film a nomination. Cause it's just not that great of a song. But it is the title song, so I'm thinking they might try to get it noticed.

My personal favorite original song is "Say It To Me Now," the last one on the album and first in the film. It's a lovely little song about longing, sung by Glen Hansard right at the beginning, and admired by Markéta Irglova. It's a part sad, part confused, part angry, part cathartic. And kind of awesome. But it's also very "man on the street with his guitar." Just not an Oscar song at all.

And unfortunately for "Falling Slowly," the film's centerpiece song, it's already been featured on two albums. I'm guessing that means a big "NO" on Oscar elegibility (ditto "When Your Mind's Made Up," the other big highlight of the film). It's really a shame, too, cause when you see Glen and Markéta's characters arrange this song then perform it, you just wanna throw awards at them. Except you're too busy welling up. It's THAT wonderful... especially in context. There was something magical about watching the genesis of that song, watching them come up with it right there in the music store, and play it together for the first time (of course that wasn't REALLY the first time, but they made me believe it was). From that moment on, I was hooked.

Anyway, I'm putting my favorite Once songs on the "Box" tool, so you can check them out in the sidebar. Though you might not want to if you haven't the film. Part of the magic of it is just hearing that music for the first time. I didn't even know Once was a musical, so when I heard "Falling Slowly," I was floored. Total surprise. And I LOVED that.

So, to the uninitiated: SPOILERS!!!

Listen at your own risk. You've been warned.

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Blogger Colin said...

I may be wrong, but isn't only the first credits song eligible for nominations?

11:55 PM  
Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

Haven't seen the movie, obviously, it's not out here until September I believe, but "Once" would be disqualified I believe. It is only played during the closing credits and isn't the first song played then I think that disqualifies them.

I think that's why Alanis Morissette's Golden Globe nommed Chronicals of Narnia song wasn't eligible but Imogen Heap's was. Heap's was played first over the closing credits and Morissette's was second.

...that's all.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

Okay, that's crazy. Colin's comment wasn't there when I typed mine out.

But two people are saying it so it may be true.

11:58 PM  
Blogger adam k. said...

Whoa, there's a rule about not being able to only play over the credits unless you're the FIRST song to play over the credits? That's bizarre, I've never heard of that.

Is it eligible if it's the first song to actually BEGIN over the credits? Cause I know the credits started in the middle of a reprise of "Falling Slowly," and it's possible that the song immediately after was "Once." It just felt like it was a long ways into the credits already.

That's so weird and technical, but I guess it makes sense. If a song can't be bothered to be anywhere in the actual movie, the least it could do is play sometime before most of the audience has left. If it starts right as the credits roll, it still has at least SOME tangible connection to the experience of the film as a whole.

But still, weird rule.

2:12 AM  
Blogger Kamikaze Camel said...

Totally valid though I reckon. I mean, 90% of the audience won't even know it exists! It's like the rule where if the song isn't clearly audible for a minute (is it a minute?) then it too is ineligible. Like "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" from Brokeback.

8:22 AM  
Blogger adam k. said...

Rufus Wainwright's The Maker Makes also must've been ineligible for this reason (it played last over the credits). I wonder if the people in charge of campaigning Brokeback knew these rules. But it's kind of refreshing that it obviously wasn't made strictly with awards in mind, since they didn't bother to follow rules like that.

Anyway, I assume then that the Once people are gunning for "If You Want Me" if anything. It's really the only song that has a chance.

10:44 AM  
Blogger Colin said...

Indeed, Brokeback Mountain was the reason I recalled the "first credits song" rule. Its heartbreaking songs weren't eligible for Oscar nomination, because:

1) A Love That Will Never Grow Old was too short, and barely audible;

2) The Maker Makes wasn't the first credits song; and

3) He Was A Friend of Mine, which was the first credits song, was a cover of a Bob Dylan song.

7:57 AM  
Anonymous rural juror said...

That's the best movie I've seen so far in 2007...and I want 'If You Want Me' to win best song SO BADLY. I know they'll probably give it to some mediocre song written for the credits of Hairspray or Sweeney Todd (otherwise, songs like 'Kiss at the End of the Rainbow' from 'A Mighty Wind' would have won Oscars and not songs like that Annie Lennox drivel that I can barely remember), but I can still dream

5:14 PM  
Blogger adam k. said...

I'm torn between Once and The Host for best film so far. After seeing both twice, I think The Host edges it out, but Once is a very close second.

"If You Want Me" can't win best song (it's just not the kind of song that wins), but I think it has a good chance of being nominated.

Thanks for commenting!

5:43 PM  

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