Oscar 2014: Best Original Song Categpry

“Of course, we’re disappointed that the movie wasn’t nominated, but at least we got in through the side door with a song,” says Julian Raymon, who’s nominated for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” his song in the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.

But it could be almost any of the other writers up for the Best Original Song Oscar, since each song is its film’s best or only chance for a win.

The Lego Movie and Beyond the Lights had vastly different commercial results ($468 million globally versus $15 million), but they’re both in the same position.  A performance on the telecast is a great advertisement.

Beyond the Lights “was a quality movie that had 83 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, but it wasn’t marketed correctly and was out for a weekend,” says Diane Warren, who picked up her seventh nomination.

“The good news: It’ll just have to come out on iTunes and Amazon” when Rita Ora sings “Grateful” on the Oscar broadcast.

Warren just wishes Ora had made a video or sung it on any previous TV show. “I can’t remember a more competitive year for best song, ever, and I thought I didn’t have a chance because there was no promotion from the artist who sang it. But it’s the little song that could.”

Begin Again

Gregg Alexander, up for Begin Again’s “Lost Stars,” sees the nomination as “a reminder to people that maybe saw the trailer but didn’t have the opportunity to see the film.” Says co-writer Danielle Brisebois, “We’re happy to be the vehicle for this film to get more eyes on it because films about music are rare nowadays, and we need more Purple Rains and The Roses. It’s good to get nominated for a music film and not just an end-credits song.” Take that, contenders whose finest moment heralded the gaffer!

The Lego Movie

Shawn Patterson is the only nominee to admit his honored work is “annoying.” That would be The Lego Movie’s “Everything Is Awesome,” which was not hurt by “countless people saying their kids will not stop singing it,” notes Patterson. “I was a little shocked that the film didn’t get the animated feature nomination.” Still, Patterson feels awesome that the Academy understood the song’s anti-conformity satire — and especially that its adjudicators gave him sole writing credit after the Critics’ Choice Awards credited the track to Tegan and Sara (who sang the end-credits pop remix) and The Lonely Island (which added a rap to that same reprise).

The hooks of the Lego anthem may have a hard time going up against socially conscious songs that are being made to represent not just for their respective movies but also for Alzheimer’s awareness and racial reckoning. Raymond naturally hoped that theGlen Campbell film would be recognized as a documentary, but “that category is insane,” he says. So, in some ways, has been the spotty, city-by-city rollout for I’ll Be Me, so the filmmakers are counting on Tim McGraw’s Oscar-night performance of its song — and whatever visual accompaniment is screened — to draw attention to both an impending home-video release and the ravaging disease itself.

Selma: Glory

By all counts, the Oscar frontrunner is “Glory” from Selma.  Patterson knows there would be upheaval if “Awesome” beat an anthem about racial injustice that links Martin Luther King Jr. to Ferguson– “especially when you stop and consider that the Academy asked The Lonely Island to rap on my song that night.”

Common, who co-wrote and performed “Glory” with John Legend, doesn’t think his loss would provoke a literal melee. “We don’t want a riot, I’ll say that.  Since the film is based on nonviolence, we’re gonna keep it nonviolent,” he quips.

The artist says about Selma coming up short in nominations: “We obviously were disappointed that Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo didn’t receive nominations. But we did a film about getting voting rights, and it would be the opposite of what the movie was about and people stood for if I said, ‘The Academy should’ve did this,’ when people gave their vote,” says the hip-hop champion. “Ava is a household name now, and she and all of the people involved will continue to be a part of Oscar talk and maybe Oscar wins.”