The competition: "The Empty Chair" – Jim: The James Foley Story (J. Ralph & Sting), "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)" – La La Land (Justin Hurwitz and Pasek & Paul), "City of Stars" – La La Land (Justin Hurwitz and Pasek & Paul), "How Far I'll Go" – Moana (Lin-Manuel Miranda), "Can't Stop the Feeling!" – Trolls (Max Martin, Shellback, and Justin Timberlake)
Previous winners: Writing’s on the Wall (Spectre), Selma (Glory), Let It Go (Frozen), Skyfall (Skyfall), Man or Muppet (The Muppets), We Belong Together (Toy Story 3), The Weary Kind (Crazy Heart), Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire), Falling Slowly (Once), I Need To Wake Up (An Inconvenient Truth)
My winner: To be announced soon
The facts: This is the fourth nomination for Sting, the third for J. Ralph, and the first time they’re contending together. “City of Stars” won the Golden Globe. The good news for that particular nominee is that, while there used to be a trend where the Globe winner wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar, three out of the past four years the Globe winner has taken home the Oscar.
Who should win: I just listened again to all of these. “How Far I’ll Go” is okay but doesn’t match other animated tunes from previous years. “The Empty Chair” is decent but slow, and not my favorite from the bunch. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” is undeniably catchy, just like “Happy” was a few years ago. I’d actually go with “Audition” over “City of Stars,” but both are great choices.
Who will win: It could be Lin-Manuel, but I think that City of Stars is way ahead.