She's a truly cross-platform sensation — a TV star, platinum recording artist and a burgeoning big-screen playmaker — but you'll never guess what Miley Cyrus is potentially poised to do next: win an Academy Award?
For the song "I Thought I Lost You," which Cyrus wrote with Jeffrey Steele and performs with John Travolta in the movie "Bolt," the 15-year-old "Hannah Montana" star is listed as a presumptive favorite in the category of Best Original Song by several Oscar handicappers, most notably The Los Angeles Times.
Surprised? Never thought it could happen? Don't worry, neither did John Travolta.
"I knew she was writing it with her partner, and I thought, 'Well, it will be a cute song, whatever it is. I'd agreed to sing it, so whatever it is I'm going to sing it, ' " Travolta recalled of early trepidation when he heard Cyrus herself was penning the song, which plays over the end credits of the new Disney animated movie. "Well, it was something great. I mean, those lyrics, the melody, those choruses are A-plus stuff, you know? She's really gifted at writing, and she really wanted to write something good for me as the character Bolt, so she went out of her way with her writing partner to come up with something good, and I really think they pulled it off. I know something about music, and I'm telling ya, I was blown away."
The movie follows a Hollywood dog who finds himself in New York after escaping from his padlocked trailer. Desperate to reunite with his owner, the dog joins forces with a cat and hamster team to make his way across the country and find his way home.
For Cyrus, capturing that cross-country journey was the key to making the song work, she said, and it was the reason she chose Nashville songwriter Steele as her collaborator.
"Because this isn't just a movie that takes place in L.A. — it takes place all across the country — so, I think it's a really cool way that we could get that feeling, not just make it something that sounds from Hollywood and really produced, but we could add a little country twang to it," she said. "I thought it was fun."
The lyrics and melody evoke a somewhat melancholy notion of getting lost and getting found, with an overarching theme of loyalty, Cyrus explained.
"Like how you wish so badly that someone won't change, and not only do you lose them physically, you know, he gets lost cross-country, but he feels like he's lost his little puppy-ness," she said of Bolt — who, thanks to being the star of his own TV show, actually thinks he has superpowers. "Like, he really doesn't feel like a dog anymore. [He] feels more just like an actor."
But is it enough to lead Cyrus to the red carpet at the Kodak Theatre as a nominee in a year full of strong contenders, which also include songs from other Disney films like "WALL-E" and "High School Musical 3: Senior Year"?
It wouldn't surprise executive producer John Lasseter in the least.
"[The song] so sums up the theme of this film. You know, a dog and its owner and they both were separated, but they love each other so much — there's such an emotional payoff when these characters get reunited, and I think that's what this song's about," he said. "When [Miley and John] sang it, it just really, really works. I mean, it's a great song unto itself, but it really works in the movie."
You can judge for yourself when "Bolt" opens Friday.
Check out everything we've got on "Bolt."
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