The Oscar nominations have been announced, and it looks like this year’s ceremony should be much less of a pleasant surprise to music fans.
Trent Reznor and musical co-conspirator Atticus Ross, who last year picked up their first Academy Award for their score to The Social Network, will be watching from home this year, despite their Girl With the Dragon Tattoo score receiving a Golden Globe nod and making it to the Oscar shortlist. Instead, five-time Oscar winner John Williams, with two nominations (The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse), will face off against Ludovic Bource (The Artist), Howard Shore (Hugo), and Alberto Iglesias (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and a longtime composer for the films of acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar). Better luck next time, People Not Originally Known for Their Film Scores.
In the category of Best Original Song, the Academy showed a bit more awareness of contemporary music. Not one of the Golden Globe song nominees garnered a nomination, meaning we won’t get to see Lady Gaga and Elton John, Chris Cornell, Sinead O’Connor, or Mary J. Blige (Madonna was already disqualified from the Oscar noms shortlist due to a technicality).Though up to five songs could have been nominated, only two — the bare minimum, both from animated films —received high enough scores from Academy voters: “Man or Muppet,” a song by Flight of the Conchords half Bret McKenzie from The Muppets, and “Real in Rio,” a song by Brazilian luminaries Sérgio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown for Rio, with lyrics by Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” co-songwriter Siedah Garrett. The Rio track features vocal contributions from will.i.am, which could’ve paved the way for another Three 6 Mafia-style surprise if Black Eyed Peas hadn’t long since gone respectable. Hear the nominees below.
Other Oscar-shortlisted songs missing the cut for the nominations include entries by Brooklyn indie rockers the National, Icelandic falsetto man Jónsi, indie-folk duo She & Him, and Elvis Costello. So while Arcade Fire and Bon Iver might be storming the Grammy Awards in recent years, the Oscars, after a brief lapse last year in giving an award to the Nine Inch Nails maestro, appear to be set on remaining stubbornly resistant to evolving musical tastes. Then again, we can now accurately type the words “Oscar-nominated actor Jonah Hill,” which just feels weird.