Let’s be real: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga should have nabbed at least a nomination for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. How can I say this with such confidence? Just look at the performance of “Húsavík,” the Eurovision song that earned a nomination for Best Original Song.
As a part of this year’s socially distanced Oscars ceremony, the nominees for Best Original Song all performed before the actual show (an insulting choice, but we’ll get to that later). “Húsavík,” actually performed in the Icelandic town of Húsavík, was easily the best of the bunch, not just because it’s a great song but because singer Molly Sandén was joined by a chorus of children, all dressed in perfectly Icelandic sweaters that have sent my friend group into an Etsy sweater-searching frenzy. It was cheesy, sure, but cheesy in the same way that the entire movie is, i.e. unapologetically, appealingly so. It was also nothing if not a show-stopper, with Sandén and her tiny back-up singers framed by majestic boats, and fireworks lighting up the skies in the song’s final moments. And when Sanden hit that high note? My word.
It feels like a crime that such a triumphant performance should be treated like an afterthought (pre-thought) rather than serve its true purpose as a highlight of a ceremony that otherwise seems to be primed for chaos. (Remember the Golden Globes?) The songs have regularly been high points during the Oscars ceremony—they’re assured to be better than the banter and bits that hosts often try to make work between awards—and “Húsavík” is particularly great. I admit that I began crying as soon as the choir of children began singing—maybe that makes me an easy mark, but all of Eurovision does nothing if not tug on the heartstrings, and I love it for that.
Of course, it’s also particularly heartwarming as the culmination of the actual town of Húsavík’s campaign to bring home an Oscar, “An Óskar for Húsavík,” which is perhaps the cutest For Your Consideration campaign since that time David Lynch just sat by the side of the road with a live cow and a giant poster touting Laura Dern’s performance in Inland Empire. Then again, David Lynch didn’t have an adorable gaggle of children singing like angels, so I’d say Eurovision has the high ground.
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