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Oscars 2014: Who Will Win The Academy Award For Best Original Song?

Movie Music
Music and movies go together like macaroni and cheese. Trust us, we’ve done our research. In vats upon vats of Kraft and Velveeta. Movies just wouldn’t be the same without their music. So, of course, we get all worked up when it comes to the movie awards shows honoring amazing music amidst the Amy Adamses and the Meryls of the world (okay, there’s only one Meryl). Today we’re breaking down the Academy Award nominees for you in the category of Best Original Song, ahead of the Oscars this Sunday (March 2). More »

Grammys 2014: Who Will Win Best Song Written For Visual Media?

Music At The Movies
This award has been around since 1988 (when it was called the Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture Or Television) but its name has been changed more than a couple of times to keep up with technology and the changing times. And wouldn’t you know it? This year a song from a visual medium (other than TV or film) is finally nominated! OK, some might call streaming a show through Netflix television, but it is technically an Internet show since Netfilx isn’t a TV network…yet. That being said — and boring Grammy history lesson aside — the remaining five nominees in the category are from traditional motion pictures.

Now back to business: Are you ready for a room full of grandmas? Wait, that’s something else. This is the Grammys, a gathering of musical talents that stretches far beyond the tunes that are solely intended for the nanas and meemaws of the world. Movies, television—and all visual media—wouldn’t be complete without their music, so we’re looking at the songs written specifically for theses channels, and breaking them down to deduce which are the best of bunch. More »

‘Smash’: Katharine McPhee Covers Death Cab For Cutie As Some Comedy Slips Into The Mix

Last week we were served some J-Hud diva realness on Smash, so we’ll let them slide over the fact that this week’s episode was entirely Hudsonless. Yes, there were a few Ronnie (Jennifer Hudson) mentions sprinkled throughout the hour (lest we forget her — never!), but last night was all about introducing some comedy into the proceedings and letting Katharine McPhee back in the spotlight to flex her vocals and look gorgeous (both of which she does rather effortlessly, we must admit). She may not have the star power of that other American Idol alum, but like her character Karen Cartwright, we think McPhee is just ready to bust out of her shell and be a star.

This week’s episode, “The Read-Through,” felt surprisingly fresh, and, who knew it —  Smash can actually be funny? Plus, here’s the rub: it didn’t feel forced. Well, not entirely forced. More »

‘Smash’: Jennifer Hudson Finally Takes Center Stage In “The Song”

J-Hud Finds Her Voice On The Series
After weeks of promos hinting at a whole lot of J-Hud, Smash finally delivered on its promise. The recent Oscars performer was at the center of all things Smash on last night’s episode, and she got to belt it out in the aptly titled “The Song.”

It starts with Veronica (Jennifer Hudson) on stage singing (yay!) and rehearsing for her one-night-only show as Derek watches and winces from the audience. He wants her to break out of her comfort zone and be sexier, but Ronnie’s mom — Veronica has now been renamed Ronnie (just go with it) — shows up and is the mom-ager from Derek’s hell. And as portrayed by the amazing Sheryl Lee Ralph, Cynthia Moore is a full-package diva. More »

Academy Awards: 5 Oscar-Nominated Songs That Should Have Won But Didn’t

These Songs Were All Just Travelin' Thru
It’s happened to so many of us who devote all the days (and evenings) of our lives to watching the litany of awards shows that come our way this time of year: you’re rooting for your favorite to take the statue, but when the winner is announced another guy, gal, song, artist or act wins. And you want to scream, cry or take to drinking (we do all three) because you know in your gut that another song should have secured that prize. Happens all the time, right?

Well, Hollywood’s big movie awards are less than a week away, and we’re still obsessing over the music. As we mull over this year’s Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song, we can’t help but wonder about what should have been from Oscars past. Sure, they may get it right most of the time, but sometimes the Academy misses the mark (as it did often in the early 2000s). Below we look back at the last 15 years and make a case for five of our favorite Oscar-nominated songs that should have landed the little bald dude, but didn’t. More »

‘Smash’: Katharine McPhee, Jennifer Hudson & Missing Music In “The Dramaturg”

Season 2 Can't Seem To Lift Off
Oh, Smash, how we’re waiting for you to be break out of your shell and be that titular smash. Be bold! Be brazen! Be musical! The pacing of this third episode of Season 2 is just slightly snappier than premiere week’s second episode — but that’s not saying much. With its promises of more Jennifer Hudson leaving us mostly unfulfilled, we get the aptly titled “The Dramaturg,” a too-talky and tedious installment for a TV musical.

Throughout the episode, the seemingly endless exposition — with not nearly enough singing — sets up what may be promising for episodes to come (with music, imagine that!). But what about now? And will the wait and the ultimate payoff be worth it? More »

Academy Awards: When New Songs Happen to Established Musicals

Well-Known Musicals, Brand New Songs
It’s Oscar season, and we know that means everyone and their mother is paying more mind to the movies and those attention-whore actors nominated for big awards than the music. Everyone except us, that is — because we can’t stop thinking about the music! Yes, we’re as tired as anybody of short-shorn Anne Hathaway’s endless media crusade for Oscar gold, but the ubiquitous pixie did lead us to ponder more important questions like: When big-screen adaptations of established musicals (like Les Miserables) get new music written specifically for the silver screen, is the new song any good? Is it necessary? Would the film be better served with this addition or without it? (Yes, we ask the important questions. Told you.)

Well, five such songs that were not a part of the source material’s original stage production are our focus today. Each tune was concocted solely for their big screen adaptations. All these were also nominated for a Best Original Song Academy Award (so at least somebody thinks they’re good). But we wonder (and ask and answer!): is this song really good enough to be included, let alone good enough to garner a nomination? More »

‘Smash’ Comes Out Swinging With Season 2 Premiere (And Jennifer Hudson), Loses Punch In Second Hour

Two Idols Meet Up On Broadway
Touting itself as the most award-winning cast on television, Smash was hoping to lure in new viewers for its second season and hold onto those who rode the rocky rollercoaster of its often good, sometimes bad, occasionally awful and only-intermittently-great season one.

So did Smash find its show-stopping legs and avoid a sophomore slump? Well, that depends on what you expect from a soapy song-and-dance dramedy. With a well-paced first hour, it looked like the series was back with a vengeance — diva bitchery, Broadway backstabbing and lots of singing — but the sooooo-sloooow-it-was-painful second hour for the two-hour season premiere dragged the promising start down an octave (or ten) too many. More »