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Pics with lots to sing about: tune hopefuls cover the spectrum from pop stars to novelties in everything from toons to docs.

TAKING AN EARLY glimpse at the Oscar's best original song race, two film titles stand out above the rest: Disney's "Moana," with original music from Lin-Manuel Miranda, and "La La Land," which taps into the sort of classic Hollywood musical tropes that could well be Academy catnip.

But the category looks to be a particularly rich and varied one this year, with contending songs from a wide swath of newcomers and returning veterans. The song category is often unpredictable, with room for chart hits and off-the-wall novelty numbers alongside musical theater showstoppers and songs from little-known documentaries, and this season has plenty from every column. Here are 15 songs that merit a close ear, though as ever, contending tunes could come from just about anywhere.

Angel by the Wings

"Eagle Huntress"

Written by Sia Furler, Greg Kurstin; performed by Sia.

Back to Life (1)

"Queen of Katwe"

Written by Alicia Keys, Carlo Montagnese, Billy Walsh; performed by Keys.

Can't Stop the Feeling!

"Trolls"

Written by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback; performed by Timberlake.

The Empty Chair

"Jim: The James Foley Story"

Written and performed by Sting (three Oscar nominations), J. Ralph (one Oscar nomination).

Go Now

"Sing Street"

Written and performed by Adam Levine.

The Great Beyond

"Sausage Party"

Written by Alan Menken (eight Oscar wins, 19 nominations); performed by the "Sausage Party" cast.

Faith

"Sing"

Written by Ryan Tedder and Benny Blanco; performed by Ariana Grande and Stevie Wonder.

Flicker

"Audrie & Daisy"

Written and performed by Tori Amos.

Just Like Fire

"Alice Through the Looking Glass"

Written and performed Pink.

I See a Victory

"Hidden Figures"

Written and performed by Pharrell Williams (one Oscar nomination).

The Veil (2)

"Snowden"

Written and performed by Peter Gabriel (one Oscar nomination).

Try Everything

"Zootopia"

Written by Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Sia Furler, Tor Erik Hermansen; performed by Shakira.

Wish That You Were Here

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children"

Written by Andrew Wyatt, Emile Haynie, Florence Welch; performed by Florence and the Machine.

A Letter to the Free

"13th"

Written by Robert Glasper, Lonnie Lynn, Emmanuel Riggins; performed by Common (one Oscar win).

Take Me Down (3)

"Deepwater Horizon"

Written and performed by Gary Clark Jr.

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Title Annotation:CONTENDERS: OSCAR MUSIC
Author:Barker, Andrew
Publication:Variety
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2016
Words:363
Previous Article:'Moana' offered Miranda a break from 'Hamilton': Broadway star collaborated with Opetaia Tavita Foa'i and Mark Mancina for Disney's South Pacific-set...
Next Article:Under a good old-fashioned musical umbrella: 'La La Land' composer Justin Hurwitz took his time to get tunes right.
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