Ah yes, the Oscars are an annual tradition for all movie lovers. As for we musician’s the show represents another important avenue for using our craft. That’s why at Live Musician Central we will be reviewing the show’s live performances of the songs nominated for Best Original Song.
The four songs nominated for Best Original Song are:
- Coming Home – from the movie Country Strong
- I See The Light – from the movie Tangled
- If I Rise – from the movie 127 Hours
- We Belong Together – from the movie Toy Story 3
In the past the Academy Awards Show has showcased live performances of the Best Original Song nominees throughout the evening. This year they did it in two segments before announcing the winner. The first song performed was “We Belong Together” by Randy Newman who also wrote the song. Randy is getting older but his voice is still good old Randy Newman. I was disappointed with the audio mixing because it was very hard to hear Randy’s singing over the backing track. He didn’t have a live band and I don’t know how much of his piano was really in the mix. I was sorry that the mixing didn’t highlight the vocals and lyrics better because that’s what gives this song it’s power.
The next performance was by Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore singing “I See The Light” from the movie Tangled. Zachary Levi is an actor before a singer of course and his performance was not too bad. Don’t look for him to release an album anytime soon but he sounded okay on this song. Mandy Moore is supposed to be a singer before and actor but I believe her acting may be better than her singing and that’s not saying a lot. They sang pretty well in tune even if the performance wasn’t particularly powerful. The mixing was better in this performance and it sounded pretty much like the movie.
The next performance was of the song “If I Rise” from the movie 127 Hours. It was performed by Florence Welch and A.R. Rahman. Finally we got to hear a great performance! These two are excellent singers and they really sounded fantastic together. The music was mixed perfectly with their voices and they really captured the feel of this song. Florence sounded much better singing “If I Rise” than she did during her Aretha Franklin tribute at the 53rd Annual Grammy Award Show. It just shows that given the right material she has a beautiful voice. A.R. Rahman’s performance was also spectacular and they sounded great together.
The final performance of the night was by Gwyneth Paltrow performing “Coming Home” from the movie Country Strong. She has a pretty decent country voice but again I feel like her acting is far better than her singing. She sang well and was in tune for the most part. They got the mix right on this song as well but her performance didn’t really inspire me. Still, she could really nail it at karaoke night at the local tavern.
So who won the Academy Award for Best Original Song? Well that distinction belongs to Mr. Randy Newman for his song “We Belong Together” from the movie Toy Story 3. It really is an excellent song from an excellent songwriter and it fit the movie perfectly. Even though Randy’s live performance on this night wasn’t as stellar as the song his award acceptance speech was. Most of the speeches were boring read-throughs of thank-you lists but not Randy’s. He got some Thank You’s in there but he sprinkled them in along with some observations and that made his speech much more interesting.
I would also like to mention that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won the Oscar for Best Original Score for their work in the movie The Social Network. I really feel like they deserved that one because the music created the perfect backdrop for this movie.
Check out Randy Newman’s acceptance speech at the 2011 Academy Awards Show.