So I usually avoid this category for a while, just to see which contenders will emerge. Of course, once the elgibility list is released, that will probably shuffle around some contenders, but for now here are my predictions:
Best Original Song
Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez "Frozen - Let it Go"
Lana Del Rey and Rick Howels "The Great Gatsby - Young and Beautiful"
Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T-Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen "Inside Llewyn Davis - Please Mr. Kennedy"
Lenny Kravitz "Lee Daniel's The Butler - You and I Ain't Nothin' No More"
Keith McMasters, Fantasia Barrino, Kassim VonRico Washington, and Abel Terry "Lee Daniel's The Butler" - In the Middle of the Night"
All is Lost - Amen
Anchorman 2 - Doby
August: Osage County - Last Mile Home
The Croods - Shine Your Way
Despicable Me 2 - Happy
Despicable Me 2 - Just a Cloud Away
Epic - Rise Up
Ernest & Celestine - Ernest and Celestine's Song
The Great Gatsby - Over the Love
Her - The Moon Song
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Atlas
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom - Ordinary Love
Oz The Great and Powerful - Almost Home
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - Stay Alive
Short Term 12 - So You Know What It's Like
Stoker - Becomes the Color
The Way Way Back - Go Where the Love Is
The Way Way Back - For the Time Being
Commentary - There don't seem to be an incredible amount of strong entries this year, and so far there doesn't seem to be a Skyfall-esque frontrunner that will dominate the season. Right now, I am going with more obvious choices based on past history, and the names involved. Other big contenders on the blogosphere right now each seem to have a handicap. Amen from All is Lost is played over the final credits and doesn't seem to have that quality the music branch looks for. The Moon Song is quirky, in my opinion, but may be too far from the norm for voters. And Short Term 12's So You Know What It's Like would be a great nominee, but the film has to hit enough Academy voters to be considered in any categories. Also, there are a LOT of contenders from animated films, which tend to do well in this category. Frozen's Idina Menzel led Let it Go has Disney behind it, so expect it to be nominated, but the others will have to distinguish themselves somehow in order to make the cut. Films have always been able to get more than one nominee in, and Lee Daniel's The Butler, which is getting buzz across several categories, has two big opportunties. One is sung by Grammy winner Fantasia, who is also a writer, and the other is crafted by one of the stars of the film Lenny Kravitz, and performed by the legendary Gladys Knight. The film is chocked full of music, new and old, that helps capture the theme of the scene they are playing in. This really helps in this category where they have moved more towards songs that actually have impact on the film's story or characters. A recent winner T Bone Burnett is looking to return to the race with his song, along with Justin Timberlake, and several other writers, entitled Please Mr. Kennedy. It is definitely a big moment in a music-themed film, so it could definitely be a contender, although some of those writers will probably be dropped. Finally, the Lana Del Rey tune from The Great Gatsby is getting a lot of push. I think her style may factor against her, but it definitely has the buzz.