Best Song Written For Visual Media nominees
(L-R) Justin Hurwitz, Common, Sia, Taylor Swift, Lin Manuel-Miranda
2018 GRAMMY Nominations: Best Song Written For Visual Media Roundup
While films are no doubt all about the visuals, there's no denying the power of music in cinema.
Sometimes, the perfect song can punctuate a film scene perfectly, or, if the composer's lucky, result in an iconic Hollywood moment. Think Audrey Hepburn crooning "Moon River" in Breakfast At Tiffany's or John Travolta's strut to the tune of "Stayin' Alive" in Saturday Night Fever, just to name a couple.
The five nominees for Best Song Written For Visual Media for the 60th GRAMMY Awards are all songs written for the silver screen. Each offers a modern example of a vital auditory companion to a film. In other words, when you sing along, you can probably picture the movie instantly.
Have a closer listen to this year's nominated songs and learn more about the songwriters behind them.
(Editor's Note: Best Song Written For Visual Media is awarded to the songwriters of a song written specifically for a motion picture, television, video game or other visual media. Artist names appear in parentheses.)
"City Of Stars"
Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, songwriters (Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone)
Track from La La Land
The romantic musical La La Land had a fairy-tale ending in becoming the most decorated film of 2016 with six Oscars. The film's title song, "City Of Stars," featuring vocals shared by cast members Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, netted Best Original Song.
The affable tune, which impeccably bottles the tone of the film, forms the basis of multiple scenes, including when Sebastian (Gosling) sings and dances on the Hermosa Beach pier. "['City Of Stars'] started at the piano with me just working on demos," said co-writer Justin Hurwitz. "I would say the tone is hopeful, but melancholy at the same time."
This nod is one of four La La Land-related nominations for Hurwitz. His collaborators Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are each up for Best Musical Theater Album for Dear Evan Hansen. All three are seeking their first GRAMMY win. Should "City Of Stars" prevail, it would become the latest in a lineage of songs to win both a GRAMMY and an Oscar.
"How Far I'll Go"
Lin-Manuel Miranda, songwriter (Auli'i Cravalho)
Track from Moana: The Songs
Lin-Manuel Miranda is seeking his third taste of GRAMMY gold with this song from the hit Disney animated motion picture, Moana. With its "I can do it" theme, the platinum tune, performed by actress/singer Auli'i Cravalho (Moana), was in the running for Best Original Song at the 2017 Oscars, but ending up losing to fellow nominee "City Of Stars."
As it turns out, Miranda employed a form of "acting" to compose the uplifting song. The GRAMMY winner returned to his parents' home and actually locked himself in his childhood bedroom in a bid to get in the creative mindset of a 16-year-old, the same age of the main character, Moana. "I kind of went method for it," said Miranda. "I like, locked myself up in my bedroom and it was like, 'All right, you're 16 years old.'"
Miranda is also up for Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media for his co-producer role on the soundtrack to Moana: The Songs. He has two prior wins for Best Musical Theater Album for In The Heights and Hamilton.
"I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)"
Jack Antonoff, Sam Dew & Taylor Swift, songwriters (ZAYN & Taylor Swift)
Track from Fifty Shades Darker
Ripe with sexy falsettos and mesmerizing instrumentation, "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" is arguably as electric as the steamy film itself. The combustible chemistry of the unlikely pairing of Taylor Swift and ZAYN make for the perfect aural backdrop to Fifty Shades Darker's sailing scene between Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). And upon its release, the song sailed all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Not bad for a song that "came together very quickly," according to Jack Antonoff, who also revealed via Twitter that it was produced "at home mostly on paper sounds."
i don't wanna live forever came together very quickly. wrote it with taylor and sam dew and produced it at home mostly on paper sounds
— jackantonoff (@jackantonoff) December 9, 2016
The 10-time GRAMMY winner Swift is a past winner in the category, earning the honor for "Safe And Sound (From The Hunger Games)" at the 55th GRAMMY Awards. She is up for another songwriter award this year, Best Country Song, for writing Little Big Town's "Better Man."
Anotnoff, a three-time past winner, is also up for Album Of The Year for his production and songwriting roles on Lorde's Melodrama. Sam Dew is a first-time nominee.
"Never Give Up"
Sia Furler & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Sia)
Track from Lion
Featured in Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, the music in "Never Give Up" perfectly matches the film's storyline about a young Indian boy who searches for his Indian birth family 25 years after being adopted by Australians. The song's message mixes an inspirational message on top of Bollywood-style music flourishes, with Sia declaring, "I won't let you get me down/I'll keep getting up when I hit the ground/Oh, never give up, no."
Sia, who was nominated in this category last year for "Try Everything" from Zootopia, is in search of her first GRAMMY win. Four-time GRAMMY winner Kurstin is also nominated for Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical, which he won last year.
"Stand Up For Something"
Common, Andra Day & Diane Warren, songwriters (Andra Day Featuring Common)
Track from Marshall
The potent combination of Andra Day's powerhouse vocals and Common's insightful rhymes form the centerpiece of this anthem. Featured in Marshall, a biopic on African-American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Common and film music songwriter par excellence Diane Warren focused on the timeless sentiment of standing one's moral ground.
"It could have taken place in the '60s or '70s, but it's relevant to today," Common told "Good Morning America" about Marshall. "Unfortunately, we have to encounter these issues, but we have to take them head-on. … We've got to stand up for whatever it may be, whether it's animal rights, the environment, women's rights, and standing up against the injustices."
Common and Warren are each prior winners in the category. The three-time GRAMMY-winning rapper won the honor for "Glory" from Selma at the 58th GRAMMY Awards. Warren has 10 prior nominations in the category, including a win for "Because You Loved Me" from Up Close & Personal at the 39th GRAMMY Awards. Day is seeking her first GRAMMY win.
The 60th GRAMMY Awards will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York on Jan. 28, 2018, airing live on CBS from 7:30–11 p.m. ET/4:30–8 p.m. PT.