Oscar Muzak: Five Nominees Marginally Worth Rooting For

Oscar time is upon us once again, and buried somewhere underneath all the hype over Best Actor and Actress, Best Picture, and Best Nipple Hard-on In a Scene (wait, that last one might not be a real category) are the music nominations.

And buried rightly so, since most Oscar-nominated music is beyond generic and impotent to the point where it's, well, muzak with some schleppy lyrical content strewn about for “depth” . . . or something.

This year, however, there seems to be a change as far as the singing schleps are concerned because the nominees include songs and scores by not-so-schleppy Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow, industrial Goth recluse Trent Reznor and former poor man's Brit-Brit Mandy Moore.

While the degree of musical flatness is pretty much the same as it has been in years past,  there are a few standouts in the mix possibly worth rooting for. Read on for a run-down of the Top 5 Music Nominees Marginally Worth Rooting for Oscar.


1. Film: The Social Network

Nominated for Best Original Score:
by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
By far, the most exciting nominee(s) on the list since they're known for making good music outside of Hollywood.

Never mind that it's been a while since Reznor wanted to fuck us like an animal or that it seldom works out when dark, industrial-Gothic types sell out to mainstream Hollywood; the “Breakfast Club on Bath Salts” sound he created for The Social Network provided the perfect angsty undertone for this film–and we bought it.

In fact, Reznor did such a great job that the mainstream actually suits him here, so he can take that to the bank–or to Bela Lugosi's dungeon vault, or wherever the hell his spooky ass keeps his money.

2. Film: Country Strong

Nominated for Best Original Song: “Coming Home” by Gwyneth Paltrow
This is what happens when Miley Cyrus gets too busy hitting the bong to sing nauseating country-pop ballads; Gwyneth Paltrow gets flung into the mix to sing the obligatory sappy country track to her own film.

The good news is that it sounds like all the making babies with rock-star husband Chris Martin and karaoke with Huey Lewis is paying off for Paltrow because her vocals are pretty, err, strong on this track (no pun intended).

This is good news for everyone, since singing will likely provide Paltrow less time to work on her Goop site, leaving the blogging up to those of us who don't have an Oscar-winning career to fall back on.

3. Film: 127 Hours

Nominated for Best Original Song: “If I Rise” by A.R. Rahman and Dido
Did you hear that? That's the sound of Danny Boyle's mouth puckering into a frown as he realizes he could have gotten Enya to do this song not only better, but also for much cheaper.

Yes, it's true this is a good movie and the song and score work for it in the context of the film, but the song itself kicks up nostalgia for the Friends series finale, and that can't be good. It's not that this song can't win; it's just that it probably won't. And that's fine, of course, unless you're Danny Boyle.

4. Film: Tangled

Nominated for Best Original Song: “I See the Light” by Mandy Moore
Okay, blockbuster Disney songs are all good for Oscar nominations considering that many Disney films are actually better candidates for Best Picture than the non-animated nominees, but WTF, why is this song nominated?!

More dry and boring than sex with Ann Coulter likely is, the only nods this song deserves are of the neck-cramp-inducing, saliva-on-the-shoulder kind.

But we won't blame Mandy for this since she did what any B-grade actress who started out as a pop singer would do in her situation: sell her soul to Disney for the bucks and (now) possibly some Oscar glory. Don't even try to pretend you wouldn't do the same.

5. Film: Inception

Nominated for Best Original Score:
by Hans Zimmer
He's the only veteran to Oscar music here, and for that reason, he's last on this list. Sure, Zimmer won the Academy Award for his score for The Lion King, and he is responsible for the sinister score for The Dark Knight, but now it's time to see if the Academy agrees that Zimmer's work kept us glued into the acid trip that was Inception and honor him again.

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