The Best Songs Snubbed by This Year’s Oscars


The Academy Awards are basically the Annual Disappointment Awards, because logistically they can’t please everyone. Plus, whoever picks the nominees tends to lean further against the grain than someone trying to shave their face in horizontal strokes.

One of the few categories that gives commercial films a chance for an Oscar is Best Original Song, which awards the tunes on movie soundtracks that don’t qualify as scores. This year’s Oscars, which will be given out on Sunday, have some interesting picks — such as Lady Gaga and BloodPop’s “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick and Tems and Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. But 2022 was a stellar year for movies of all kinds.

Here are some films that should’ve made the list if the Oscars bothered to leave more room in the category for other nominees.
“Nobody Like U” from Turning Red
One genre that the Academy tends to ignore more than most are comedies of any kind. Sure, Everything Everywhere All At One is leading the nominations this year, but it’s taken a long time for any kind of comedy to get that much notice on Oscar night. And it’s not even a straight-up comedy, either. Disney-Pixar’s absolutely perfect coming-of-age animated comedy Turning Red, about a teenage girl who turns into a bright red panda (a “werepanda,” if you will), had a really great song from a fictional boy band called “Nobody Like U” that manages to be a satire of a tired musical genre without being as mean as a National Lampoon feature. It sounds as good as if not better than any mainstream, bubble gum pop boy group, but the lyrics are clever and call out the genre by making a song that’s actually good.
“Vegas” from ELVIS
The ELVIS biopic was the most divisive film of 2022 among movie buffs who like to argue the merits of their favorite films. Doja Cat came up with a really catchy tune that has a mean hook from Big Mama Thornton, but it’s that hook that prevented it from even being considered for a nomination. As we learned just now, the Oscars will not consider any work containing samples, which explains why there are hardly any hip-hop songs ever. The song works brilliantly when subbed for Elvis Presley’s “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog,” but the snippet of Mama Thornton singing “You Ain’t Nothing But a …” took the song out of the running, even though it’s the only part that’s not technically original. May we suggest a new hashtag: #Oscarssodumb?
“Still Holding My Hand” from Roald Dahl’s Matilda
When Bret McKenzie from Flight of the Conchords won a Best Song Oscar for “Man or Muppet” in 2012, it felt as if comedies would start getting their shot at being real Oscar contenders. I’m still waiting for that to happen more than 10 years later. I really hoped that musical comedic genius Tim Minchin would’ve at least gotten nominated for this clever and moving tune from Netflix’s big-screen adaptation of the hit Broadway musical but, nope, hope fails me yet again.
“(Nothing Like the Coffee) At the Automat” from The Automat
There will never be another Mel Brooks. He’s multitalented on a level that humanity may never see again. He’s got a boundless energy that shines through every movie he’s written (yes, even Dracula: Dead and Loving It). He can write, direct, make you laugh, make you think and sing. The tune he did for the documentary The Automat isn’t played for laughs, but it’s still so good. It’s like a cross between Tony Bennett in his prime with a jazz undertone that’s subdued, surprisingly moving and heartfelt — just like the man behind the mic.
“New Body Rhumba” from White Noise
Noah Baumbach’s first feature for the Netflix streaming machine gave the perpetual cash eater some serious Oscar credibility. And LCD Soundsystem’s closing number set the mood just perfectly for a family running from an air contamination outbreak. It’s a little silly with a seriously catchy beat backing it up, and it had us racing to our Apple Music accounts the second it started.
“Sunny Side Up Summer” from The Bob’s Burgers Movie
The big screen adventure of the Belcher family is everything a Bob’s Burgers fan could hope for. It’s silly and frantic and breaks out into clever, witty songs at a moment’s notice. The song that Bob and Linda sing in the restaurant made the whole experience that much more enjoyable — something that most intentional musicals can’t do because it feels like they need a song only to fill space. Also, it would make having to watch the Oscars a little more tolerable with a musical performance of a song that contains multiple uses of the word “diarrhea.”
“Now You Know” from Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Weird Al Yankovic’s takedown of the music biopic movie genre also wouldn’t have been able to be considered because it’s on the Roku streaming network, which the Academy considers to be a TV channel — a rule that they conveniently ignored when they gave Netflix nine nominations for six of its original films. Weird had a high bar to jump over with the brilliant music biopic satire Walk Hard, which also should’ve gotten an Oscar song nod. The song that closes out the whole thing has unabashed fun with the very concept of writing an original song for a movie that’s about music. It weaves in all sorts of hilarious and surprising ways and … oh right, it’s a comedy. It never had a chance in the first place. Does laughing make Oscar voters cry or something? They must snort really loud when they laugh.


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