“Coming Home” from “Country Strong”
Music & lyrics: Tom Douglas, Troy Verges, Hillary Lindsey
Oscar pedigree: First nom for all three
Momentum: Golden Globe nom
Style: Country western
Where in film: Film’s climax, as singer (Gwyneth Paltrow) makes big comeback.
Aesthetic/dramatic approach: “We knew it was going to be a tragic ending (so) we wanted it to be a great dramatic moment,” says Douglas. “We tried to visualize what that would be like — her career’s on the skids, her marriage is falling apart, a young girl coming up to take her place. We really wanted to reflect that.”
“I See the Light” from “Tangled”
Music: Alan Menken
Lyrics: Glenn Slater
Oscar pedigree: Menken: eight wins, 10 other noms; first nom for Slater
Momentum: Golden Globe, Broadcast Film Critics noms
Style: Tender romantic ballad
Where in film: Rapunzel and Flynn realize their love in a boat near the castle where lanterns fill the night sky.
Aesthetic/dramatic approach: “It’s that classic moment when the love story is completed or acknowledged for the first time. It was harder than I’d imagined because this kind of ballad carries with it so much of the expectations of everyone involved.”
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3” Music & lyrics: Randy Newman
Oscar pedigree: One win, 18 other noms
Momentum: Broadcast Film Critics, Grammy noms
Style: Bouncy, fun love-and-friendship song
Where in film: Under end titles, as we watch the toys in their new homes.
Aesthetic/dramatic approach: “It’s an affirmation of friendship and affection, sort of a love song, in a way. There’s a final feeling that everyone knew where they belonged.”
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours”
Music: A.R. Rahman
Lyrics: Dido and Rollo Armstrong
Oscar pedigree: Rahman: Two wins, one more nom; first noms for Dido, Armstrong
Momentum: Broadcast Film Criticswin
Style: Uplifting, ethereal piece with children’s choir
Where in film: Climactic moment when Aron (James Franco), trapped for days in a Utah canyon, is near death.
Aesthetic/dramatic approach: “It’s a lullaby for an unborn child — and of course Aron is a child in a way,” says Rahman, “so it’s a very interesting kind of take. It’s very soothing and healing. We (originally) tried to have no audible words in it; we wanted to create just a serene feel.”
Tradition faces new guard | Nominees for Best Song | Nominees for Best Score