|Single by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová|
|from the album Once soundtrack|
|Released||April 21, 2006 (The Swell Season)|
September 22, 2006 (The Cost)
May 22, 2007 (Once soundtrack)
February 2008 (radio single)
|Length||4:50 (Album Version)|
4:04 (Soundtrack Version)
4:35 (The Frames Version)
"Falling Slowly" is a song in the indie folk and indie rock genres that was written, composed and performed by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. The song was featured on the soundtrack of the 2007 Irish musical romance film Once, which starred Hansard and Irglová, and for which it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 80th Academy Awards. The song was also recorded by Hansard's band The Frames.
The song was written and composed while Once was in production. The film's director and screenwriter, John Carney, developed the script around songs which Hansard and Irglová had provided to him. In the movie, the duo play the song in Walton's music shop in Dublin, with Hansard on guitar and Irglová on piano. The couple performed it at gigs in various European venues over the next two years. Versions appeared in 2006 on two albums: The Cost, which Hansard's band The Frames recorded and released, and The Swell Season, an album on which Hansard and Irglová collaborated. According to the "First Showing" article:
After almost getting her acceptance speech skipped and almost not getting to say a word for her acceptance at the 2008 ceremony after their Oscar win, Irglova made a speech about the song in which at the end of the speech she says, "This song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are..."
The song charted at #16 in the Irish Singles Chart when The Frames first released it. The Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová version charted at #28 in December 2007, before peaking at #2 in March 2008, following the song's Oscar win. It sold 944,000 digital downloads in the United States.
|Irish Singles Chart||2|
|Canadian Hot 100||8|
|US Billboard Hot 100||61|
"Falling Slowly" was nominated for a 2008 Grammy, for Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media; it lost to "Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls.
The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song on 24 February 2008, beating out the choral gospel song "Raise It Up" from August Rush and three songs from the modern Disney musical Enchanted. The win marked the fourth year in a row that the Oscar-winning song had not been nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.
Earlier the song's eligibility for an Oscar was in dispute because it had been performed and recorded prior to the release of Once. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ruled, however, that because the song had been written and composed for the movie, and because the prior public exposure during the long period that the movie took to produce had been minimal, it remained eligible. The Academy had ruled likewise on a similar controversy involving 2004 Best Original Song nominee "In the Deep." According to the Academy rules, that song was disqualified because there was some dispute over whether or not it was written originally for the film.
In April 2015, as a one-time promotional event for the Toronto stage production of Once, Mirvish Productions invited local guitarists to perform the song with the cast. Producers predicted about a hundred participants; ultimately 926 guitarists performed in the event.
Episode 29 (season 2) of Last Man on Earth was titled "Falling Slowly", in which the song was sung several times by characters Mike and Tandy, as well as featuring prominently in the plot of the next three episodes.
The song was covered by husband and wife duo, actors Nathan West (who performs under the name East of Eli) and Chyler Leigh, who released the song, under the name "Westleigh", to their production studio, Modern Machine's Soundcloud.
Response to "Falling Slowly" was generally positive. Glen Hansard's and Marketa Irglova's performances of "Falling Slowly" on screen and on stage amazed so many people that even Bob Dylan wanted them to be his opening act on his World Tour.
In popular culture
After Kris Allen's performance of "Falling Slowly" on American Idol, the song went from the 33rd most popular and downloaded song on iTunes to the 29th most popular and downloaded song. Though Allen's appearance was not one of American Idol judge Randy Jackson's favorite performances, it clearly moved the live studio audience before whom the installment of the show was being taped.
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