The Academy Awards are known for the odd Best Song stumble or snub (shutting out Bruce Springsteen entirely for 2008’s widely acclaimed “The Wrestler,” even after it won the Golden Globe, for example). Though they’ve made some admirable choices, too: See the triumph of Three 6 Mafia’s “Hard Out Here for a Pimp” for Hustle and Flow in 2005, and Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard’s Once theme “Falling Slowly” in ’07.
But this year, Ryan Bingham’s lovely and eminently worthy “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart aside, the nominations are decidedly underwhelming. No offense to Randy Newman, the Susan Lucci of Oscar Song noms, who gets two this year for his work on Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, but seriously, he needed two?
And as for Marion Cotillard’s speakeasy shimmy “Take It All” from the star-studded dud Nine, and the boppy piano ditty “Loin de Paname” from hardly-seen French musical Paris 36? All we can say is, sacre bleu. Surely, the Academy could have dug a little deeper? (Though speaking of blue, points to them for passing on Leona Lewis’ Celine-style Avatar fail, “I See You.”)
If there were justice in the ranks, we might have seen a nod for Karen O’s organic and sweetly childlike Where The Wild Things Are work, specifically “All Is Love,” or Ed Helms’ Dada goof “Stu’s Song” from The Hangover. Neither would likely have won, but they deserved a chance, as did Mary J. Blige’s “I Can See In Color” for Precious, Duffy’s “Smoke Without Fire” from An Education, and Sad Brad Smith’s Up in the Air elegy
Also absent? Anything at all from the Twilight: New Moon soundtrack. No matter what you think of the film (to recap: rainforest, sparkle, mope, werewolf, mope, kiss), its music was almost uniformly excellent. Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Lykke Li (who made the eligibility short list, at least), and countless others contributed tracks that should have at least earned them a shot at the statuette; it’s unclear why they didn’t.
But you tell us, readers—is this the lineup you were hoping for? Who most deserves the prize, regardless of whether or not they were nominated?
More from EW.com’s Music Mix: