Alphabetical Movie – The Lion King
I’ve often stated that the worst category in the Academy Awards is best song because the people voting for the award don’t know the slightest thing about music. The Lion King is the perfect example of my thesis.
Three different songs from the film were nominated for an Oscar. One was “Circle of Life,” which is one of the best songs written for film ever. It is so good, and the animation that accompanies it is so stunning, that the rest of the film can’t quite live up to the promise of the first five minutes.
The second was “Hakuna Matata” which Disney plays incessantly throughout it’s parks to the point that any time I see Timon or Pumba, I try to find ear plugs. The song is fun, though, and has the distinction of being one of the only Oscar nominated songs ever to contain a fart joke. Just about every kid of a certain age loves the song. Probably because of the fart joke.
The third is the love ballad “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” which was written to be a prom theme. When you watch the movie, it simply stops dead for the love ballad. It’s a bad song. A boring song.
From a plot perspective, it doesn’t mean a damn thing. Simba and Nala are falling in love. Yeah – so what? Nala showing up reminds Simba of his responsibilities. He didn’t need to fall in love with her to do that.
She’s not the one who inspires him to go back and fight scar. It’s his cloud dad/jedi spirit guide.
So why the heck would you plug that idiotic song in there?
In the stage version, it’s even worse. After a whole bunch of amazing puppetry, they decide to go all Cirque to soleil and have Simba and Nala dance an ariel ballet. It’s as if the director couldn’t figure out why the song was there so she just decided to throw in some crazy ass shit in hopes the audience wouldn’t notice the song.
Not only is the song the worst of the three songs nominated, it is the worst song in the film period. The two songs that weren’t nominated were the peppy and fun “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and the creepy “Be Prepared,” which included goose stepping hyenas.
Think about that for a moment. A Disney film for kids features a series of visuals lifted right out of Triumph of the Will.
Talk about a ballsy move. They copied Triumph of the Will for a kids movie. And it works.
That song doesn’t get nominated.
Here’s the thing, though, part of the problem with the category is that nobody is considering the song in context. If a shitty movie has a good song to cover the closing credits, it can win an Oscar.
That means the filmmakers can call it an “Oscar Winning” film even though the song had nothing at all to do with the movie. What they are effectively saying is “our movie won an Oscar because (insert famous musician here) wrote a song for the closing credits!”
In context, “Circle of Life” is clearly the superior song. Context isn’t required to figure that out, actually. If you stop for a moment to consider the context, however, there can be no question which song is superior. Using that yardstick, “Be Prepared” is also nominated.
With or without context, though, “Can you Feel the Love Tonight” is a dorky song.
So guess which song won the Academy Award?