Oh right, movies have mu­sic, too!

Pasatiempo - - Art in Review - — Rob DeWalt

Ev­ery year, each Academy Awards cat­e­gory has its share of snubs and dra­mas, but Os­car fol­low­ers usu­ally only get a taste of the ones that per­tain to ac­tors and direc­tors. Ma­jor tele­vi­sion net­works and ca­ble sta­tions like E!, MTV, and Al­bu­querque-based ReelzChan­nel seem to con­coct many of th­ese pseudo-ri­val­ries and dra­mas to give the tele­vised awards cer­e­mony a rat­ings push— and to fat­ten the Os­car-sea­son news cy­cle.

Let’s face it: only a small per­cent­age of Academy Awards view­ers pay at­ten­tion to the Best Orig­i­nal Song and Best Orig­i­nal Score cat­e­gories. If they were more pop­u­lar, more gam­bling sites would post odds on mu­sic cat­e­gories— like they do for Best Ac­tor and Best Ac­tress. If you have your ear to the ground for drama re­gard­ing the mu­sic nom­i­nees this year, for­get the tabloids — here, for your read­ing plea­sure, are a few talk­ing points when it comes to this year’s no­table mu­sic-re­lated Os­car snubs and con­tro­ver­sies.

▼ While the ru­n­away fa­vorite in the Best Orig­i­nal Song cat­e­gory seems to be “TheWeary Kind,” Ryan Bing­ham and T-Bone Bur­nett’s coun­tri­fied theme to Crazy Heart, over­ex­posed com­poser Randy New­man wa­ters down the cat­e­gory with two nom­i­na­tions for songs from the an­i­mated Dis­ney film

The Princess and the Frog (“Down in New Orleans” and “Al­most There”). Is the deck stacked? Maybe, but not as much as in 2007, when En­chanted took three out of the five nom­i­na­tion slots, or 2006, when three of five were claimed by songs from Dreamgirls.

▼ De­serv­ing rock and pop mu­si­cians who got dis­qual­i­fied or ig­nored this year in­clude Jack White (for “Fly Farm Blues” from the rock doc It

Might Get Loud), the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O (for “All Is Love,” from

Where the Wild Things Are), and Lykke

Li (for “Pos­si­bil­ity,” from The Twi­light

Saga: New Moon). It’s a bit­ter pill to swal­low, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing that five songs (nearly 10 per­cent) on the short­list of pos­si­ble nom­i­nees came from Han­nah Mon­tana: The Movie.

▼ Per­haps New­man’s dou­ble en­trée for Best Orig­i­nal Song is a con­so­la­tion prize for hav­ing been de­nied a nom­i­na­tion in the Best Orig­i­nal Score cat­e­gory. The Princess and the Frog score was ini­tially in­cluded on the first-round list of award-el­i­gi­ble films by the Academy, but in Jan­uary it was an­nounced that it had been re­moved from the run­ning, due to an Academy rule that states: “scores di­luted by the use of tracked themes or other pre­ex­ist­ing mu­sic, di­min­ished in im­pact by the pre­dom­i­nant use of songs, or as­sem­bled from the mu­sic of more than one com­poser shall not be el­i­gi­ble.” How­ever, in a stel­lar field of con­tenders that in­cludes Avatar ( James Horner), Fan­tas­tic Mr. Fox (Alexan­dre De­s­plat), The Hurt Locker (Marco Bel­trami and Buck San­ders),

Sher­lock Holmes (Hans Zim­mer), and Dis­ney-Pixar’s Up (Michael Gi­acchino), New­man hardly stood a chance any­way. The Os­car in the Best Orig­i­nal Score cat­e­gory should go to De­s­plat for

Fan­tas­tic Mr. Fox— in par­tic­u­lar, for the com­po­si­tion ti­tled “Just An­other Dead Rat in a Garbage Can (Be­hind a Chi­nese Restau­rant).” But the win­ner will prob­a­bly be Gi­acchino’s mu­sic for Up, which has al­ready snagged a Grammy and a Golden Globe. Ev­ery­body loves a sweep.

BEST ADAPTED SCREEN­PLAY The heavy­weight Avatar made its mark with ef­fects and got snubbed on writ­ing. It was nice to see out­siders District 9 and In the Loop rec­og­nized, and Pre­cious and An Ed­u­ca­tion get their due. We’d give an out­side shot to Pre­cious, but one of the year’s bet­ter pic­tures, Up in the Air, ought to get thanked some­where, and this is prob­a­bly the place. Choice: Ja­son Reit­man and Shel­don Turner, Up in the Air Pre­dic­tion: ditto BONUS ROUND Look for Avatar to score in the tech­ni­cal cat­e­gories. The song in Os­car’s heart this year is likely “The Weary Kind” from Crazy Heart. In a field of rel­a­tive un­knowns, Michael Haneke’s al­le­gor­i­cal tale of the roots of Nazism, The White Rib­bon, stands a good chance in For­eign Lan­guage. Dol­phin­cide could move Os­car to­ward The Cove in the Doc­u­men­tary Fea­ture cat­e­gory. And things are looking up for Up in An­i­mated Fea­ture, where it be­longs. BEST SUP­PORT­ING AC­TRESS Sup­port­ing roles of­ten of­fer the liveli­est choices in hand­i­cap­ping the Os­cars. This year, in spite of some ex­cep­tional tal­ent, the die seems cast here as well. Pene­lope Cruz ( Nine) won last year, which all but rules her out, and lik­able, tal­ented Mag­gie Gyl­len­haal ( Crazy Heart) isn’t a fac­tor. Two ex­cel­lent sup­port­ing per­for­mances from Up in the Air, Anna Ken­drick and Vera Farmiga, make le­git­i­mate claims on the gold, but the winds are blow­ing to­ward Pre­cious and the pow­er­ful job turned in by Mo’Nique. Choice: Vera Farmiga Pre­dic­tion: Mo’Nique BEST ORIG­I­NAL SCREEN­PLAY Screen­play is where the Academy hon­ors the pic­tures that didn’t quite make the grade in Best Pic­ture. Quentin Tarantino has called Hans Landa “one of the best char­ac­ters I’ve ever writ­ten and ever will write,” and that kind of writ­ing could land him his Os­car if The Hurt Locker doesn’t get on a roll. Choice: Joel and Ethan Coen, A Se­ri­ous Man Pre­dic­tion: Quentin Tarantino, In­glou­ri­ous Bas­terds CHEATED AND MIS­TREATED The above-men­tioned Pippa Lee and Pi­rate Ra­dio be­longed in the bloated field for Best Pic­ture, and the for­mer’s Robin Wright Penn should have been not just a nom­i­nee but a fa­vorite. Mar­ion Cotil­lard should have had Nine’s Sup­port­ing Ac­tress nom­i­na­tion. Michael Jack­son’s This Is It was re­leased too late for a Doc­u­men­tary Fea­ture nod and then didn’t squeeze into Os­car’s Top 10.

Ex marks the spot: Kathryn Bigelow, di­rec­tor of The Hurt Locker

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