The Nominees: Song


Singer-songwriters: Adam Duritz, Charles Gillingham, Jim Bogios, David Immergluck, Matthew Malley, David Bryson (music); Duritz, Daniel Vickrey (lyrics)
Oscar pedigree: None
Other awards: Golden Globes, Grammy, Critics Choice Awards noms
In their words: “At the time, I was really in love with someone and it was very difficult,” says Duritz. “It was causing me a lot of heartache, but I was thrilled to be in love. The song is about the fact that you can’t always control the situation when you’re falling in love. Often it’s terribly wrong. I just happened to be living a parallel situation at the time.”
Also of note: Seven nominees for the same song is a new record for the category; four was the previous high.


Singer-songwriter: Jorge Drexler (music, lyrics)
Oscar pedigree: None
Other awards: None
In their words: “I felt a strong identification with the character (the young Che Guevara) in the film because I myself studied medicine,” says Drexler. “I come from Uruguay, a country right next to Argentina, and I also traveled through South America when I was that age. I was very moved by the fact that it didn’t speak about epic and heroic things, but really talked about everyday life.”
Also of note: Now based in Spain, Drexler is a former Latin Grammy nominee and has written other songs for Spanish and Argentinian films. Song title means “To the Other Side of the River.”


Songwriters: Alan Silvestri, Glen Ballard (music, lyrics)
Oscar pedigree: second nom for Silvestri, first for Ballard
Other awards: Golden Globes, Critics Choice noms
In their words: “It was in the 11th hour,” says Silvestri. “We had been working on all these songs … but as time went on what we didn’t have was some kind of central theme that really held the movie together. Bob (Zemeckis, the director) made this brilliant observation: ‘You know, Al, it’s really the theme of the bell.’ The bell is the symbol of belief in the film. Glen and I sat for four days and put the song together.”
Also of note: Silvestri’s 11th collaboration with Zemeckis (including “Forrest Gump,” “Cast Away”); he and Grammy-winner Ballard wrote “Believe” for singer Josh Groban.


Songwriters: Andrew Lloyd Webber (music), Charles Hart (lyrics)
Oscar pedigree: two previous noms, one win for Lloyd Webber; first nom for Hart
Other awards: Golden Globes nom
In their words: “We wanted to have a theme, that we did not have in the theater production, to show the bond between the Phantom and Christine,” says Lloyd Webber. “Specifically, it’s the moment after the masquerade sequence where the Phantom tears the necklace (holding Raoul’s ring) from Christine’s neck. We did think about using it as a song for the Phantom within the film, but we didn’t feel at the end of the day that it was quite justified.”
Also of note: Minnie Driver, whose voice as Carlotta is dubbed in the film, gets to sing “Lonely” over the end credits (“a delicious irony,” says Lloyd Webber).


Songwriters: Bruno Coulais (music), Christophe Barratier (lyrics)
Oscar pedigree: first nom for both
Other awards: BAFTA nom for Coulais’ score
Quote: “In the script,” says Barratier, “I had planned each song very precisely according to the dramatic situation. This song is supposed to symbolize the real beginning of the choir, and the lyrics are a reflection of (music teacher) Clement Mathieu’s state of mind. Bruno Coulais gave me this melody two months before the shooting and I wrote the lyrics in an afternoon.”
Also of note: Foreign-language film contender about postwar French boys choir was big hit; soundtrack sold more than 1 million units in France.

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