Lana Del Rey Becomes Last-Minute Oscar Hopeful With Two Big Eyes Songs

Tim Burton’s new Amy Adams-starring movie Big Eyes opens on Christmas, and according to The Hollywood Reporter it will feature two new songs by Lana Del Rey, “Big Eyes” and “I Can Fly.” The songs weren’t announced until Big Eyes started screening for critics a few days ago. Some details from THR:

Whether the languid songstress is doubling her chances for an Oscar nomination by contributing two tunes remains to be seen. A rep from The Weinstein Co. says the studio hasn’t made any Oscar-season determination about whether to emphasize “Big Eyes,” the title tune that prominently appears mid-movie, or “I Can Fly,” which runs over the end credits. Both songs were clearly written from the psychologically evolving viewpoint of the movie’s heroine, Margaret Keane — a possible plus for voters who, as Time magazine put it, “brutally snubbed” Del Rey’s less obviously endemic contribution to The Great Gatsby, “Young and Beautiful,” early this year.

“Tim showed her the film and she fell in love with it,” says Larry Karaszewski, a producer on Big Eyes, as well as its co-writer. If the film’s tone strikes a tricky balance between comic satire and prototypical “women’s picture,” Del Rey’s contributions are very much in tune with its more dramatic, feminist inclinations. “Women in particular seem to get the movie, and Lana really got the movie,” Karaszewski says. “The whole thing is about a woman who can’t find her voice,” and when the title song — with its “big eyes, big lies” refrain — plays at a critical juncture, “it almost becomes a musical. Lana’s song expresses what Margaret is feeling so perfectly, it’s like a soliloquy of her inner thoughts.”

“Big Eyes” wasn’t originally slated for a prominent mid-movie slot. Del Rey and the song’s co-writer, Daniel Heath, had conceived it as an end-credits number, but there was no mistaking that it felt too defeated for a film that means to send audiences out on an upbeat note. Then — sorry, scorer Danny Elfman! — the filmmakers discovered Del Rey’s ballad fit perfectly as what Karaszewski calls “a centerpiece number” over two mostly dialogue-free scenes that in earlier cuts sported Elfman’s orchestration. The number begins as an instrumental when Adams spots her paintings being sold in a supermarket, then turns to a vocal piece with a big, pronounced beat as the character returns home determined to develop a new style of painting; it slips back out of the vocals as Christoph Waltz’s character returns and confronts his artistically straying spouse.

THR speculates that “Big Eyes” will get the big push, pitting Del Rey against contenders such as Coldplay (Unbroken) and Common (Selma). Read more here.

[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images.]