My final two Variety stories for this Oscar season not only recap the nominees but look at the races in historical terms. Four of the five nominees in each music category (song and score) are first-timers to the competition. And in the score category, most of the composers didn’t go the traditional route of simply recording live musicians — they added electronics, processed and modified the score, or otherwise used avant-garde recording or post-production techniques. It’s a big change from the old days of Steiner, Korngold and the classic Hollywood sound. And for the song story, I investigated what Academy voters consider when voting. What is a “best song,” anyway?
On Tuesday, I chatted with Jeremy Hobson on NPR’s daily newsmagazine Here & Now about this year’s Oscar song nominees. We got to play all five — two from the musical La La Land, one from Moana, the big Justin Timberlake hit from Trolls, and the Sting song from the documentary Jim: The James Foley Story — and discuss the pros and cons of 6,600 Academy voters trying to choose a “best song” from among five worthy nominees. Here is the link to that 11-minute piece.