Sunday, March 2, 2014

U2 Set to Help Make This Year's Oscars a Rocking Event

In all of the 80-something years that the Oscars have been handed out, Sunday night's ceremony -- the 86th Annual Academy Awards -- promises to be one of the few that will actually rock.  U2's "Ordinary Love," from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, is among the nominees for Best Original Song from a Motion Picture, and the band will be performing the tune on the big show.
Also hitting the stage at the ceremony will be Karen O of the modern-rock act Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who received a Best Original Song nod for "The Moon Song," from the film Her.  In addition, William Butler of alt-rock act Arcade Fire and his collaborator Owen Pallett have been nominated for Best Original Score for their work on the same movie.
U2 and Karen O's competition for Best Original Song includes Pharrell Williams for "Happy" from Despicable Me 2, and "Let It Go," sung by Idina Menzel, from the smash animated film Frozen.  Movie critic Peter Travers tells ABC News Radio that this year's contenders stand out because most years, the nominees don't include critically acclaimed rock stars and chart-topping songs.  "Usually, we go, 'What?!  There was a song in that movie?!  I don't know it, and I don't know who any of these composers are,'" he says with a laugh.  "And now, you have four nominees that we actually know who these musicians are.  We know who U2 is!"
And that recognition, according to Travers, makes for a great Oscar matchup.  "Happy" is the #1 song in the country right now, while "Let It Go" is from the #1 album in the country.  He adds, "U2's song from Mandela isn't necessarily that kind of a hit, but it's U2.  And then you have Karen O doing her 'Moon Song' from Her: These are contemporary musicians with some validity."
However, Travers believes U2 fans hoping for an Oscar win will be disappointed.  He predicts that while Academy voters might be tempted to simply check off Bono and the boys on the ballot, they won't this year.
"They could just sometimes look at it and say, 'U2, I like them,' and never have heard that song, at all, and just say, 'I'm gonna vote for them for that reason,'" he notes.  "But right now, I think the favorite is definitely 'Let It Go' from Frozen."
Tune in to find out who wins Sunday night, when ABC airs the Academy Awards live, starting at 8 p.m. ET.

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