American comedy trio The Lonely Island was commissioned to write a song for the 90th Academy Awards. However, their final product could not materialise, because the demo was “financially and logistically impossible”, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences supposedly told the group.
So, the trio – Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone – made a makeshift video of their song, Why Not Me? using film stills. The group shared the video on YouTube on March 5, a day after the Oscars ceremony.
The song examines the timeless question: why do the previous year’s biggest blockbuster rarely make it to the list of Best Oscar nominees? This year, for instance, only two of the nine Best Picture nominees – Dunkirk and Get Out – crossed the $100 million mark at the American box office.
Pondering over this are the heroes (or villains) of 2017’s biggest films. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) wonder why they did not make it to the Oscars despite saving the world while Daniel Day-Lewis only had to learn to sew ( a reference to Phantom Thread) and Lady Bird’s titular character had to to get into a New York college. Meanwhile, underwater superhero Aquaman (Jason Momoa) from Justice League (2017) yearns to be America’s favourite “fishman”, but the spot was given by the Academy to Doug Jones’s amphibian creature from Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, which won Best Picture.
The video also includes appearances from Pennywise, the evil child-killing clown from It and Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), among others.
The song sums it up when Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto from the Fast and the Furious franchise asks: “If popcorn movies are bad, how come popcorn’s so delicious?”