Hollywood was the talk of the town on Thursday (January 14) when the nominations for the forthcoming 2016 Academy Awards were announced, and they included a very diverse batch of contenders in the Best Original Song category.
Not only did expected Top 40 chart-toppers like Lady Gaga and Sam Smith score nods, but The Weeknd, David Lang, J. Ralph and Antony also appeared on the list. This year marks a new wave for many of the nominated acts (and creators behind the tracks) since it's their first recognition from the Academy.
You have more than a month to place your bets for the show, which will air on February 28 at 7 p.m. EST on ABC. In the meantime, you can take a few additional listens to some of the most cinematic anthems of the last year. Check out the nominations below!
Song: "Earned It," by The Weeknd
Film: Fifty Shades of Grey
As you might have guessed, Fifty Shades of Grey didn't receive any Oscar love for filmmaking, but The Weeknd did score his very first nomination from the committee for one of the many anthems on the soundtrack. Considering this sensual song helped him make his pop debut shortly before the release of "Can't Feel My Face," it marks a very important tune in his catalogue and transition into the Top 40 realm.
Song: "Manta Ray" by J. Ralph and Antony
Film: Racing Extinction
Composer J. Ralph thought that Antony would be a fitting vocalist for the somber "Manta Ray," which explores the destruction of wildlife, and he was right. Just listen to the song. While it's a virtual unknown, the five minute tune could be a dark horse in the race. It's also just as sad as it sounds, but that's to be expected from a Discovery channel documentary about the negative impact that humanity has on nature.
Song: "Simple Song #3," by David Lang
Here's another one that you might not have heard of from composer David Lang, who perfected an emotional track from a film about the struggle to digest life's curveballs. This also marks David's first very nomination in the Best Original Song category.
Song: "Til It Happens to You," by Lady Gaga
Film: The Hunting Ground
Diane Warren and Mother Monster teamed up for this confessional track, which prompts listeners to try and understand the turmoil that rape victims experience. Off the exploratory campus rape doc, The Hunting Ground, the cut finds a balance walking the line of simplicity with Gaga, a piano and some strings. If she lands the award, Mother Monster will be just one accolade away from the coveted EGOT circle.
Song: "Writing's on the Wall," by Sam Smith
While Sam and Jimmy Napes' 007 anthem already nabbed the Golden Globe win, Adele's "Skyfall" is the only Bond song to actually score an Oscar. Still, you never know what could happen on the big day. In the meantime, just know that Sam is "freaking out" over the recognition for his majestic ballad.
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