12

"Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" is a song by Phil Collins that appears in the movie of the same name. According to the Wikipedia article on the song, it was originally a demo that was cut from Collins' album Face Value, and Collins rewrote the lyrics to allow the song to fit the movie. It ended up winning both the 1984 Academy Awards and Golden Globes for Best Original Song.

However, the rules for the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes state that to be eligible for that category both the song's music and lyrics must have been written for the movie, which leaves me with the impression that "Against All Odds" should not have been eligible, since its music was written independently of the film.

Why was "Against All Odds" considered eligible?

  • Have the rules for Best Original Song changed significantly since 1985?
  • Am I misunderstanding the rules?
  • Were the Academy Awards and Golden Globes deceived about the creative process behind the song?
  • Or was it permitted in the category for some reason I have not thought of?
2
  • 7
    You say that it was cut from the Face Value album .... so the first time it was published was in the movie? Woudn't this make it original? I mean, the process was convoluted, but you can't really codify 'intent' in the rules. I imagine that they would use whether the song has been published in any way or not before the movie.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 17:26
  • 1
    I guess that is part of my confusion. I would imagine if the requirement were that the song hadn't been published prior anywhere, that would just be the in the eligibility rules since as you point out, it would be much easier to determine than intent.
    – 1000000000
    Commented Oct 19, 2023 at 17:33

1 Answer 1

21

Collins cannibalised an unpublished song to make Against All Odds. Although the main melody had been written (with different lyrics), Collins hadn't included it on any of his albums and it's not really clear whether the song was even in a fit state to be added to anything.

We're told that he worked with the Arif Mardin to complete the score (including adding entirely new orchestral parts), as well as writing new lyrics to fit in with the events of the film.

Originally titled "How Can You Just Sit There?", the song's music was written by Collins during sessions for his debut solo album Face Value (1981), but it fell by the wayside as it was his least favourite of the several ballads he wrote at the time. Neither was it included on Hello, I Must Be Going!, as many newer songs were written for it. Eventually, Collins presented the demo to Taylor Hackford when approached to write a song for the Against All Odds movie, which he loved. Then Collins penned the lyrics, which were for the film. Due to lack of time available (as he was on tour with Genesis), he had arranger Arif Mardin produce it, and they worked on it over two days. The piano performance is by New York musician Rob Mounsey. Piano, keyboard bass and a string section arranged and conducted by Mardin were recorded at RCA Studios, New York, while Collins recorded vocals and drums in Los Angeles.

Per Wikipedia

The rules for the 92nd Academy Awards state that a song is eligible if it hasn't been commercially exploited and that it must have been worked on in conjunction with the filmmakers. I think we can reasonably assume that the rules for the 57th Award would be much the same.

A. The work must be created specifically for the eligible feature-length motion picture. - Check

B. The work must be the result of a creative interaction between the filmmaker(s) and the composer(s) and/or songwriter(s) who have been engaged to work directly on the motion picture. - Check

C. The work must be recorded for use in the motion picture prior to any other usage, including public performance or exploitation through any media whatsoever. - Check

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .