By Jackson Murphy
This year’s Oscar voters, particularly the nominating committee, will have a more difficult time than ever evaluating the many performances in the four acting categories and narrowing them down to just five. The same amount of frustration will surely go into Best Director, Best Animated Feature, Best Picture and several others. But I’ve got a slam-dunk idea that would take the pressure off of determining one category.
Over the past few years, the Oscars have been so gung-ho about star-power, especially with the musical performances, that live versions of these nominees for Best Original Song would certainly create interest and attract viewers. So here is my “Dream Playlist” for Oscar Night. (Members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and Hollywood Foreign Press Association should also take note for their respective Original Song categories):
“Feel the Light” is an emotional tune from the DreamWorks Animation comedy alien space “Home”. Sung by superstar Jennifer Lopez, she (and all the visuals) would absolutely light-up the stage.
Similarly, there’s “Flashlight”, a hit finale from “Pitch Perfect 2”. It’s performed by 18-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, an Oscar nominee for 2010’s “True Grit”, so she’s already well-established with The Academy. Young people would tune-in for this.
Spotify has already unveiled the latest James Bond theme, for “Spectre”, titled “Writing’s on the Wall”. While it doesn’t have anywhere near the power-punch of Adele’s “Skyfall”, Sam Smith has millions of fans, and he’d deliver live on Oscar night.
“See You Again” is, surprisingly and yet not surprisingly, the early frontrunner for the trophy. This tribute number to “Furious 7” ‘s Paul Walker from Wiz Kahlifa and Charlie Puth has been on the radio (and stuck in our heads) for months. It’s moving and perfectly fits with the film’s final scenes.
And finally – the voting members simply have to answer this question: “Wouldn’t you love to see three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep and music legend Rick Springfield rock-out on the Oscars stage?” If so then “Cold One”, from the music dramedy “Ricki and the Flash” (they perform the uptempo version during the closing credits), needs to get a nomination. It’s unlikely Streep will be up for Best Actress for “Ricki”, and her Supporting Actress chances for a small role in “Suffragette” are, at this point, pretty slim. A year without Meryl as part of the Academy Awards just wouldn’t feel right. Put her on live with a guitar in her hands? Now, that’s an Oscars-worthy moment.
Jackson Murphy (a.k.a. Lights-Camera-Jackson) has been a film critic/entertainment reporter on TV and radio since the age of 7 1/2. He currently appears weekly on WFLY radio (Albany, NY) and his reviews appear in The Record (Troy, NY) newspaper.
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