This year’s Oscar nominations saw very few surprises, apart from maybe William Hurt’s Supporting Actor nod for A History of Violence. (A surprise on two counts: 1] he was in the movie for maybe five minutes, and b] was so over-the-top in it, even Al Pacino would tell him to dial it down.) The nominees for Best Song, however, are just bizarro. The first thing you notice is there are only three of them and, second, none of them totally suck. Sure, Bird York‘s "In the Deep" from Crash is a on the Paula Cole side of boring, but it’s certainly not the kind of unlistenable crap that is usually nominated. The other two nominations are actually quite good: the can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head "It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from Hustle & Flow; and the lovely "Travelin’ Thru" by Dolly Parton from Transamerica.
No Phil Collins. No Randy Newman. No Elton John. No Divas. (Dolly is in a class by herself.) There were new songs in The
Producers that were eligible. No nominations. There were songs in Corpse Bride and
Narnia. No Nominations. Surely The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had
some bad, nominatable numbers. (I think I just made up a word there.) But no. What’s going on? Did Academy voters suddenly start letting their kids (or grand-kids) vote for the songs? Or is something else afoot? We may never know.
Interesting trivia: Hustle & Flow‘s nominated song was originally written for Brokeback Mountain. Ultimately, Ang Lee decided "It’s Hard Out Here for a Gay Cowboy" didn’t fit the quiet tone of his film, and test audiences found the song’s title misleading.