Encanto charmed audiences with its heartfelt story and magic realism, but it was its memorable soundtrack that garnered the most buzz. In particular, the toe-tapping “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” skyrocketed to the number one slot on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, a feat that’s only been accomplished by one other Disney song — “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. But when this year’s Academy Award nominations rolled out, fans were surprised to see that “We Don't Talk About Bruno” wasn't nominated for Best Original Song.

Instead, it was the the mellower, emotionally-charged track “Dos Oruguitas” that scored the nom. Speaking with Variety on their Awards Circuit Podcast, songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda defended the process behind his song selection for awards season. The deadline for submitting songs was November 1, 2021, just days before the film had its premiere at the El Capitan Theater. The soundtrack wouldn’t get released for several weeks; it didn’t reach the top of the charts until January. Miranda says his decision was based on which song captured the essence of the film.

“I’m still proud of ‘Dos Oruguitas’ as the submission,” Miranda said. “When those are the parameters, you have to pick the thing that best exemplifies the spirit of the movie, and it contains all of it inside this song – as opposed to a journey of a particular character. It’s the foundational story, but I’m not going to say it wasn’t hard [to choose].”

This is similar to the reasoning behind Miranda’s choice to submit “How Far I’ll Go” from the 2016 film Moana for Academy Award consideration instead of the upbeat crowd-pleaser “You're Welcome,” sung by Dwayne Johnson. As Miranda puts it, the former is Moana’s “heart song,” which exemplifies the core message of the movie.

Besides Best Original Song, Encanto also received nominations for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. Encanto is currently streaming on Disney+ If you don’t have a subscription yet, you can sign up here.

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