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The 84th Academy Awards is almost here!  Leading up to the event, we’re going to put all the hours we spent watching these films to good use by giving our thoughts on all the categories, big and small.  We may not be experts on everything, but I daresay that’s never stopped anyone from blogging before.  On the (very remote chance) you disagree with us or the (much more likely chance) you want to applaud our picks, please chime in below.

This time we are going to talk about Song.

Music (Original Song)

The nominees are:

  • “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, Music and Lyrics by Bret McKenzie
  • “Real in Rio” from Rio, Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyrics by Siedah Garnett

JOHN

All right, let’s move on from the travesty of these Original Song nominations. I’ve said my piece so let’s just talk about what should win.

Of course I’m voting for the Muppets. I’m always voting for the Muppets. Not just the movie The Muppets, but the Muppets in pretty much anything they do. I’m sort of in the bag for the Muppets. But while “Man or Muppet” is my choice, I’ll admit I’m not thrilled by the song. It’s part of a fantastic scene in the movie where human Gary imagines himself as a Muppet and Muppet Walter imagines himself as a man. It’s a hilarious scene with a wonderful cameo. I think it was the part of the film that had my screening’s audience in stitches the most. But, if we’re being honest, it’s not that great as a song. The Muppets‘ other two eligible songs, “Pictures in My Head” and “Life’s a Happy Song,” truly are really good songs that stand on their own. “Man or Muppet” just doesn’t have the same strength musically and it has always sounded to me like the lyrics and music don’t quite complement each other well. Regardless, it’s a good enough song and the best of the nominees.

I’ve been ready to dismiss “Real in Rio” as a bland animation tune, but my opinion changed after I saw Rio. Not coincidentally, the song is also part of a really nice scene with birds swooping around and dancing. It’s a colorful delight and I bet it was great in 3D. In that context it’s a fun song. I generally don’t like movie songs that involve each character singing a line, which tends to result in lame lyrics and a choppy rhythm where the need to focus on every character outweighs the need to make a good song. In this case that forces us to hear Jesse Eisenberg sing and that’s not so hot, though, God help me, I like will.i.am’s contribution.

BRIAN

I don’t have much to add to this one except to say that the Academy clearly has no idea what to do with this category and until they figure it out — they should just get rid of it. Not only is the nomination process fakakta, but it also mucks up the telecast too. Do they run the full songs? Do they abridge them? Who performs them? It’s such a train wreck.

I really wish the two other Muppet songs were nominated, but since I’m stuck with “Man or Muppet” — I’m hoping that one wins.

JARED

Well, when there are two nominees in this category and one of them is a Muppet song, I guess there’s not going to be a whole lot to say, huh?  Let me take a second to pimp for the other other other Muppet song: “Me Party”.  It is a fun, groovy, 70s disco song.  But it also is used to great effect in the film, if Amy Adams and Miggy Piggy had simply expressed these emotions in dialogue it would have sounded trite.  Also, the line “Haven’t I seen me here before?” is kind of brilliant.

I’ll pretty much echo John here.  “Real in Rio” is a decent enough tune.  I don’t begrudge it the nomination and it starts to get a little catchy after the third listen or so.  There are year in which it could have been a serious contender.  Not in a Muppet year, though.  My theater was also rolling in the aisles “Man or Muppet”, so I guess props to the Muppets for finding a great cameo.  I didn’t think it was quite that funny, personally.  If I had to critique the song, it feels a little derivative, doesn’t do a great job expressing feelings, and is maybe my fourth favorite song on the soundtrack.  But it is a Muppet song, so that beats just about anything else.

Also, after Zachary Levi’s appearance singing on last year’s nominated “I See the Light”,  and Jesse Eisenberg and Jim Parsons on this year’s songs, I’m wondering if we are seeing some sort of trend of nominating songs featuring actors who play dorky characters.  If so, what an incredibly bizarre trend.

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