Justin Bieber In The Oscar Running With ‘Never Say Never’

Justin Bieber‘s “Never Say Never” promises to be one of the biggest film events of the early part of 2011, but the 16-year-old Canadian singer could get quite a big boost from another piece of culture that shares the same name. The shortlist for the Academy Award for Best Original Song just got released, and Bieber’s “Never Say Never” (his duet with Jaden Smith that was the theme song of the summer smash “The Karate Kid”) is on that list.

There are a total of 41 tracks included on the short list, and from that massive batch, as many as five finalists will be named when the rest of the nominations are announced on January 25. It’s not a guarantee that Bieber could be nominated for gold, as he is up against favorites like Cher’s “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” (from “Burlesque”), John Legend’s “Shine” (from “Waiting for ‘Superman’”), Gwyneth Paltrow’s “Coming Home” (from “Country Strong”) and Oscar regular Randy Newman’s “We Belong Together” (from “Toy Story 3″). Still, he has the fact that he is a recognizable name and was associated with a big hit going for him. He also has youth on his side (the rest of the favorites skew pretty old). Plus, the nominations will be coming out right before the release of Bieber’s film “Never Say Never,” which would make for some nice marketing synergy.

Among the more esoteric selections on the short list include Metric’s “Eclipse (All Yours)” (from “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse”), Eddie Vedder’s “Better Days” (from “Eat Pray Love”), Avril Lavigne’s “Alice” (from “Alice in Wonderland”) and Colbie Caillat’s “What If” (from “Letters to Juliet”).

Who do you think should be nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song? Let us know in the comments!