Oscar's playlist: Listen to Best Song nominees, then vote in our poll

Joaquin Phoenix plays "The Moon Song" in "Her."
Warner Brothers

Pharrell Williams, U2, and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are among the songwriters up for an Academy Award this year for Best Original Song.

Also among the nominees is a power ballad from the co-creator of the Broadway smash, "The Book of Mormon."

In an exceedingly rare move, a fifth nomination for Best Song, to "Alone Yet Not Alone," was rescinded by a vote by the Academy's Board of Governors after it was determined that the song's composer, Bruce Broughton -- a former Academy Governor -- had sent an email to music branch members during the nomination voting period alerting them to his submission.

Check out each of the four nominated songs by clicking through the embedded players in this post. Then, be sure to vote in our poll on which you think should win!

"Happy" (from "Despicable Me 2")
Music and Lyrics by Pharrell Williams

The singer Pharrell Williams was featured in two of the year's most repeatable songs, Daft Punk's "Get Lucky," and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines," and that same breezy spirit is heard in "Happy."

"It might seem crazy what I'm 'bout to say.
Sunshine she's here, you can take a break.
Mama, hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air like I don't care, baby, by the way.

Because I'm happy,
[Come along if you feel like a room without a roof]
Because I'm happy,
[Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth]
Because I'm happy,
[Clap along if you know what happiness is to you]
Because I'm happy,
[Clap along if you feel like that's what you want to do]."

And if a single play of this song isn’t enough for you, you can click onto Pharrell Williams' website, 24hoursofhappy.com, billed as the world's first 24-hour music video, with lots of people exuding happiness.

"Let It Go" (from "Frozen")
Music and Lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

The Disney animated film "Frozen" features a power ballad sung by Idina Menzel (a Tony Award winner for "Wicked") as Elsa, a Disney princess who is just coming to grips with her supernatural powers as a Snow Queen.

The song is by the husband-and-wife team Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the latter of whom was a co-creator of "Avenue Q" and "The Book of Mormon."

"It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all.
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I'm free!

Let it go, let it go,
I am one with the wind and sky.
Let it go, let it go,
You'll never see me cry."

"The Moon Song" (from "Her")
Music by Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs); Lyrics by Karen O and Spike Jonze


In writer-director Spike Jonze's futuristic romance, "Her," "The Moon Song" is composed by Samantha, accompanied by Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) on ukulele.  The lyrics are particularly poignant given that Samantha is a computer operating program (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) for whom physical space, starlight, distance, shadows, and the comfort of being with a loved one are entirely new and novel concepts.  What do these words mean to her?

"I'm lying on the moon.
My dear, I'll be there soon.
It's a quiet and starry place.
Time's we're swallowed up in space,
We're here a million miles away.

There's things I wish I knew.
There's no thing I'd keep from you.
It's a dark and shiny place.
But with you, my dear, I'm safe,
And we're a million miles away.

We're lying on the moon.
It's a perfect afternoon.
Your shadow follows me all day
Making sure that I'm okay,
And we're a million miles away."

By the end of the film we realize these words mean everything to her -- physical dimensions are merely a metaphor for the emotional dimensions that draw Samantha and Theodore together (and then throw their relationship for a loop).

"Ordinary Love" (from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom")
Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

The Irish rock group U2 was previously nominated for a Best Song Oscar for the 2002 Martin Scorsese film, "Gangs of New York," "The Hands That Built America."

For the biopic "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," Paul Hewson (a.k.a. Bono), Dave Evans (The Edge), Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen composed "Ordinary Love" as a tribute to the anti-apartheid leader who was anything but ordinary.

The song won the Golden Globe earlier this month.

"The sea throws rocks together
But time leaves us polished stones.

We can't fall any further
If we can't feel ordinary love.
We cannot reach any higher,
If we can't deal with ordinary love."

The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 2.

Oscars 2014: Best Song

Which Academy Award-nominee would YOU vote for?


  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.