When Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg conceived of “Sausage Party” — a raunchy, R-rated animated comedy that ponders questions as disparate as “Is there a God?” and “How would food fornicate?” — they looked no further than 8-time Oscar-winning songwriter Alan Menken (“The Little Mermaid,” “Aladdin”) and Grammy winner Glenn Slater (“Tangled”) for an opening number that would set the tone.
But there are a pair of tones to be set by “Sausage Party.” There is the sweeping musical ‘toon vibe captured by many a Disney hit over the years, as well as the wash-your-mouth-out irreverence on display. The result is “The Great Beyond,” a ditty (that’s DITTY) so brazen as to feature a chorus line of olives promising, “We’ll shove pimentos up our a—, by Zeus,” with a jar of sauerkraut rhyming back, “Und ve’ll exterminate ze juice!”
It’s a far cry from wholesome tunes like “Under the Sea” and “Be Our Guest,” but it speaks to the overall themes of the film, which is concerned with belief systems and tolerance. (Seriously!) Rogen spoke to his desire to tackle that kind of subject matter — not just with “Sausage Party” but with “This Is the End” and TV’s “Preacher,” too — on an episode of Variety‘s “Playback” podcast.
“It was always a part of our lives and as we got older we really became fascinated with analyzing it,” Rogen said. “You want to make movies about what you’re thinking about. What’s shocking, though, is how few other people seem to make movies about it. Smarter people should be doing this!”
Sony, meanwhile, has mounted an Oscar campaign around the film. The studio has an eye on penetrating an animated feature race that already features a record number of contenders, and could maybe catch the ear of Menken and Slater’s fellow music branch members with an off-the-beaten-path song like “The Great Beyond.”
Check out the full clip that was submitted to the branch above. Songs like “The Great Beyond,” which figure into the visual narrative in some way rather than merely serving as credits accompaniment, sometimes have a leg up.
The full list of songs eligible for original song Oscar consideration will be revealed in the coming weeks.