The Academy released its list of eligible songs for the Best Original Song award this year. Among the usual suspects (hey, Frozen) were a surprising number of films we had no idea were actually films.
This isn't an entirely unprecedented decision. As the Academy has gotten more and more strict with their eligibility requirements for Original Songs—and as the film and recording industries have backed away from big event soundtracks and movie songs—this category has more and more often dipped into the obscure, leading to nomination-morning scrambles to IMDb to look up Paris 36 or Chasing Ice. (Sometimes this is a good thing; Chasing Ice was one of the best documentaries of 2012, and the only way most people heard about it was via a nod for the Scarlett Johansson-sung "Before My Time.")
This year's list has its share of under-the-radar films, and rather than be caught unawares on nomination morning, it might be best to familiarize ourselves with these contenders now.
Alone Yet Not Alone: Seemingly a story of the brave colonial settlers in North America and how they endured capture and cruelty at the hands of the Native Americans. But they had their faith! And were not "enslaved"! Eligible song: "Alone Yet Not Alone"
Cleaver's Destiny: Suuuuper indie-looking thing about a young girl searching for her presumed-crazy soldier father. Eligible song: "Lullaby Song"
Kamasutra 3D: A whopping FIVE songs are eligible from this 3D rendering of the lovemaking classic.
Live at the Foxes Den: Twilight's Jackson Rathbone plays a lounge singer at a seriously divey establishment, so it would seem that the three eligible songs come from his performances.
Murph: The Protector: While the title sounds like it would be a perfect fit for, say, a Vince Vaughn comedy about an adult who befriends a bullied grade-schooler, this is instead a documentary about a Navy SEAL lost in battle. Eligible song: "Sacrifice (I Am Here)"
The Muslims Are Coming!: While that title might sound reactionary, that appears to be the whole point in this documentary about taking Muslim comedy to the heartland in order to ease tensions. Eligible song: "The Muslims Are Coming"
Somm: The competitive world of wine-making had a breakthrough year with both this film and Red Obsession hitting theaters. Could this be the Chasing Ice style surprise documentary nomination? Eligible song: "There Is No Black or White"
3 Geezers!: Foul-mouthed, ill-behaved old people! Starring JK Simmons and Tim Allen. How did this one escape notice? Eligible song: "Younger Every Day"
The Ultimate Life: James Garner and Peter Fonda starred in this decidedly inspirational tale about learning lessons and living one's best life and discovering what truly matters in life. Eligible song: "One Life"