The Envelope‘s Tom O’Neil is reporting how Fox Searchlight has decided to deliberately under-support M.I.A.’s “O Saya,” one of the two Oscar-nominated songs from Slumdog Millionaire. Fox Searchlight’s overt support (by way of a CD mailing) has gone instead to “Jai Ho,” which, I’ll admit, is the more catchy of the two.
“Fox Searchlight is daring to choose between its Oscar children,” O’Neil writes. “The studio wants voters to focus their Slumdog Millionaire love on one song, fearing that the vote might split otherwise, causing both to lose. So this is good strategy, although poor politics. Inevitably, the studio is inviting a chorus of discontent from the folks behind the song not being hyped.”
Of course, neither song is as power-poppy or soul-stirring as “Chaiyya Chiayya,” the Indian-flavored Inside Man tune that I first heard in late ’06. The song was composed, ironically, by Oscar-nominated Slumdog Millionaire composer A.R. Rahman (who also wrote “O Saya”). “Chaiyya Chaiyya” was used as the opening-credit song for Spike Lee ‘s film as well for — I think, not being 100% sure — Bombay Dreams.
Was Inside Man‘s “Chaiyya Chaiyya” nominated for a Best Song Oscar in early ’07? Of course not. Why? Because it wasn’t written for the film. But it wouldn’t have been nominated anyway because bank-job movies don’t get nominated for anything, in any category.