With the 89th Academy Awards nearly upon us, #Oscar predictions are abuzz. While it's pretty evident that #LaLaLand will sweep the coveted "Best Original Song" at the Oscars, here are five songs that should have been nominated for the same category.
1. 'Angel By The Wings' From 'The Eagle Huntress'
Songwriters: Sia Furler and Greg Kurstin
Sia Furler is clearly the unsung hero of 2016. She dominated the charts with songs, such as "Cheap Thrills" and "The Greatest," and was even featured on a few soundtracks. She, for instance, contributed to the soundtracks of Star Trek: Beyond, The Neon Demon, #Zootopia, Lion and The Eagle Huntress. For those of you who don't know, The Eagle Huntress is a documentary film by Otto Bell, which first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. According to the director of the film, Sia wrote the song specifically for the film.
The song is an inspirational ballad with a strong optimistic message, and it allows Sia to actively showcase her powerful pipes. The single was released on December 2nd, 2016, to rave reviews from critics.
2. 'Wish That You Were Here' From 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Kids'
Songwriters: Florence Welch, Andrew Wyatt and Emile Haynie
Performer: Florence & The Machine
This is just like "Young & Beautiful" all over again! You may recall the Academy's 2013 snub, whereby Lana Del Rey's hit song from The Great Gatsby: Music from Baz Luhrmann's Film failed to receive a nomination despite its strong critical and commercial reception. Florence Welch, a longtime Burton fan, wrote "Wish That You Were Here" specifically for the film but admitted that a lot of the lyrics for the song were inspired by constantly touring and being away from loved ones. Likewise, the song is about yearning for people who are out of your reach. The lyrics are a way of admitting that, as Florence Welch sings:
"And I never minded being on my own
Then something broke in me and I wanted to go home
To be where you are
But even closer to you, you seem so very far
And now I'm reaching out with every note I sing
And I hope it gets to you on some pacific wind
Wraps itself around you and whispers in your ear
Tells you that I miss you and I wish that you were here"
Critics expressed their love for the song, with Rolling Stone's Jon Blistein praising "her singing... over the bombastic chorus that's as determined as it is heartbreaking."
3. 'Back To Life' From 'Queen Of Katwe'
Songwriters: Alicia Keys, Illangelo and Billy Walsh
Performer: Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys brought her A-game when she delivered this outstanding addition to the Queen of Katwe Soundtrack. Despite the #Disney movie's dismal box office performance, both the movie and the soundtrack were widely praised by critics. The movie stars the Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong'o, as well as Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo and Martin Kabanza. The song's genre is R&B and soul, and it is an uplifting message, touching on the idea of a person's goal to become the best version of themselves.
4. 'Heathens' From 'Suicide Squad'
Songwriters: Tyler Joseph
Performer: Twenty One Pilots
Unstoppable duo Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun continued their rise to eminence with their Suicide Squad hit, "Heathens." A much darker song than anything they've previously released, "Heathens" is the only song in this list that made it to the top of the charts, peaking at No. 2. The song — despite being written for a movie — is said to be about the fans of the band, and it talks about the importance of community and tolerance towards people who are different than us.
Despite the title, the song does not refer to faith, with Tyler Joseph explaining that the use of the word "heathens" was in the vein of words like "outcasts" and "outsiders." The rap-rock songs preaches sensitivity when dealing with others, with lyrics like:
"All my friends are heathens, take it slow,
Wait for them to ask you who you know,
Please don't make any sudden moves,
You don't know the half of the abuse"
"Heathens," along with their single "Ride" (not from the Suicide Squad album), made them the first rock act in over 47 years to have two of their singles land in the Top 5 of the Billboard Hot 100 consecutively.
5. 'Sledgehammer' From 'Star Trek: Beyond'
Songwriters: Jesse Shatkin, Rihanna, Sia Furler
This song had "Oscars" written all over it. The song, apart from being the first ever music video shot in IMAX, had very little promotion, yet it remains quite a catchy ballad. More importantly, unlike most of the songs that are currently burning up the charts and are packed with cheesy lines (think The Chainsmoker's "Closer" or Zayn and Taylor Swift's "I Don't Wanna Live Forever") — this song actually has solid lyrics. The lyrics of the ballad describe how a person rises to power from their lowest point, and how they defeats their demons in the process.
"I hit a wall, I thought that I would hurt myself
Oh I was sure, your words would leave me unconscious
And on the floor I’d be lying cold, lifeless
But I hit a wall, I hit ’em all, watch the fall
You’re just another brick and I’m a sledgehammer"
Rihanna nails it with her incredible vocals as she shows off her impressive singing chops, but it's the incredibly catchy hook (a Sia signature) that really ties the whole song together. The video is the first to be shot entirely in IMAX and features Rihanna as an alien with supernatural abilities.
Will YOU tune in to see the Oscars air February 26 on ABC?