This year, the category features a big Justin Timberlake hit… but is that enough to win? Let’s take a closer look at the five Original Song nominees:
La La Land – This wonderful musical has two songs in the category. Personally, I think the score is at its best flowing freely through the film; standing on their own, the songs aren’t quite as strong. But these two, “City of Stars” and “Audition” (written by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul), are indeed very good examples.
Trolls – Justin Timberlake, Shellback and Max Martin are behind this infectious song, which oddly enough is featured in an animated film about trolls. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” is the category’s biggest chart climber.
Moana – “Hamilton” sensation Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote this song for the animated Disney movie. Sung in the movie by Auli’i Cravalho, the title character’s voice talent, but it was also recorded by Canadian singer Alessia Cara. Good but not great.
Jim: The James Foley Story – This documentary about a war correspondent who was murdered by ISIS in 2014 was accompanied by a song called “The Empty Chair”, composed by Sting and J. Ralph. In the clip above, Sting performs the song at Bataclan last November as the theater reopened on the first anniversary of the terror attack in Paris. A somber song, but unmemorable.
So, let’s answer that initial question. Timberlake is the number one rival… but I believe that “City of Stars” will take the Oscar.