2010 Oscars for Best Song: Worst nominations ever?

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 “Help Yourself.”

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?

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Comments (97 total) Add your comment
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  • Melissa

    I would have paid money to see “Stu’s Song” get nominated. Can you imagine Ed Helms performing it at the ceremony? I envisioned a tiger being brought out on the stage… Oh, what could have been. Missed opportunity for greatness.

    • WI

      that song was hilarious. And it would have been terrific if nominated. but the oscars are too boring for that.

      • orville

        I don’t know–they sometimes get it right. “Blame Canada” for instance. Or who could have ever thought these words would ever be spoken–“Academy Award winner Eminem.”

      • Kate

        I know Stu’s Song was literally the best thing I’ve heard in ages. Damn the Oscar’s and their conventionality.

    • Celia

      The Hangover was an awesome film, but the Oscars never nominate comedy films. Unless they’re dark comedies or artsy-fartsy comedies.
      EW seriously needs to stop trying to squeeze that twilight crap into everything. It will NEVER be nominated for an Oscar. It doesn’t matter how good the music is, the movies are too terrible so that makes the music look bad as well.

    • Connor

      What do Tigers dream of, when they take a little tiger snooze… That would’ve been amazing.

  • bj25

    “Take It All” was one of the few things I actually liked about the movie “Nine”.

    • Dreama

      I totally agree. That was a great song in a mediocre movie.

  • Chichi

    Karen O really deserved a nod. It’s a brilliant soundtrack up there with Nilson’s The Point.

    • Peg

      I agree – she deserved a nod and the film deserved some love as well – Best Costume? Best Art Direction? Best Cinematography? I thought the film was great and even though I can understand some of the complaints about the story, the film itself was beautiful to look at.

    • shannon

      Totally agree about “all is love” it was my 4-year-old’s favorite song of the year, but it still doesn’t make me want to gouge out my eyes. That is one heck of a high bar to clear.

  • sosgemini

    Who wrote this mess of an article? Randy Newman won an Oscar for Monster Inc., how many years ago? The Swell Season is not credited for “Once”, it’s Markéta Irglová and Glen Hansard, before they became The Swell Season. Get. Yo. Crap. In. Order.

    • Whah?

      I agree. This blog item was barfed out in about two minutes.

      • ann

        The barf was from calling the pimp song “an admirable choice”.

      • mishka

        Ann, knowing the Academy, “Hard out here for a pimp” was indeed an audacious move. You gotta watch “Hustle and Flow” to understand this choice but I guess you didn’t.

    • Celia

      I know right. Did they seriously just suggest that New Moon should’ve been nominated. Another joke article.

    • anon

      While the article does seem rushed, nothing was mentioned about the Swell Season, so the write did in fact get. that. fact. straight.

  • Bobby’s Robot

    Karen O wuz robbed. And tho’ I have no interest in seeing the movie, the New Moon soundtrack has some good stuff on it.

    • Stacie

      I agree. The New Moon soundtrack was pretty great!

  • Joy

    I only have eyes for The Weary Kind, T-Bone and Ryan…

  • Zach

    Every year the Best Song nominees are subpar, but the “Crazy Heart” song is expected to win, while “Almost There” is terrific. At least one of the two “Nine” songs made it, a shame it had to be the less fun one, but truth be told it’s the one that best advanced the story, the high point of the film’s tension. Why not two “Princess and the Frog” songs when it’s an actual musical? The worst is the one no one has heard of, but can we really be that surprised that the slightly bland Oscar-baity ballad of the year, “I See You” from “Avatar,” was ignored?

    The “Wild Things” song wasn’t great, who would have thought to nominate anything from “Twilight,” and “The Hangover” is too broad. I hate when comical songs get nominated; they’re just placeholders in their own way.

    • AK

      Am I only the person that liked “I See You”?

      • Sara

        No, you’re not. But apparently is was a “fail.”

    • hazeljdb

      Just because a song is comical, does not mean that it’s a “place-holder,” and it certainly doesn’t mean that it can’t contend against other songs for an award. I can guarantee that Ed Helms spent just as much time and energy writing his song to fit his movie as any other writer. In fact, I’d take his clever lyrics over some of the other “serious” crap out there ANY day.

      • Intellbrute

        When does oscar ever really honor good original indie (asside from “Falling Slowly” or comical music? If that’s the case, anything off of the “Dan in Real Life” soundtrack by Sondre Lerche should have been nominated especially comical song “Ruthie Pigface Draper”.

      • Zach

        Yeah, but it doesn’t hold up as a legitimately great song. I was all in favor of “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” last year, well, maybe not top 5 material, but at least that one was funny and melodic. The forgettable one from The Hangover? Come on now. It’s not like we’re talking Hakuna Matata.

  • Gregoire

    The better of the two Nine songs was nominated. The other one has the worst lyrics ever.

    This category isn’t nearly as awful as past years. Outside of the Karen O snub, I can’t think of any I would prefer in. Thank goodness that awful Avatar song is not there.

  • Jennifer

    Anything from the New Moon soundtrack would only be eligible if it had been written specifically for the movie. There may be some great songs on it (I’m judging only the quality of the songs – not the movie), but it’s highly likely that most of them aren’t eligible. Doesn’t mean that I don’t agree about the thin pickens on the nomination list, though.

    • Carrie

      The songs on the soundtrack were all original and written specifically for the movie, except for Muse’s remix. I definitely think Karen O and some of the artists who contributed to the NM soundtrack were robbed. Thom Yorke or Death Cab should’ve been nominated. There were actually a lot of talented artists and great songs on the soundtrack to choose from.

      • Jennifer

        Thanks for the clarification, Carrie. I wasn’t sure, obviously; I’ve heard a couple of its songs on the radio, but haven’t actually picked up the cd to check. And I agree that there were several songs on the soundtrack that would’ve been great choices. Oh well, would really be Oscar season if we didn’t have the snubs to talk about?

    • Liz

      The Death Cab song was written specifically for the movie.

  • paige

    I am extremely happy that the god-awful piece of rat $hit song from Avatar was not nominated. I dont even care that Randy Newman gets 2 nominations for his subpar work in Princess & the Frog- all those songs are better than the one from Avatar… Sadly (and just as bad) James Horner’s afterthought of an “original” score was nominated for just being Avatar and instead of being anything close to memorable or original. The Hurt locker’s nomination for original score is laughable. But the oscar’s had to fill their quota and force a “race” by making sure both movies were tied with nominations… but if that was the case, they both shouldnt have been in the original score category… Hell, even the score to New Moon was 100x better than those 2- combined!… blah

    • RyanK

      As far as scores go, I loved the Hurt Locker, but I too was a little baffled by its Best Score nomination. One of Bigelow’s best decisions in fact was to have very long scenes without any score at all. There was enough going on on-screen that any music could potentially detract from the tension. And although I only have the benefit of one viewing of Avatar, nothing about the Horner score stood out to me. In either of their places, I’d love to see Marvin Hamlisch’s score for The Informant!. It was an important part of the movie, and it was often times hilarious, almost like a sarcastic voice looking at Damon’s character and asking “My God man, what are you doing?”

      • paige

        I was shocked that Hamlisch’s score wasnt nominated- I guess the academy was ver anti-the informant… I personally wouldve loved to have seen Christopher Young’s score for Dram me to hell- even though that was an even bigger longer shot…

  • Rahul

    ‘The Weary Kind’ would win no matter who else got nominated.

  • jb

    Sir Paul’s “(I Want To) Come Home” from “Everybody’s Fine” was worthy and fit in well with the premise of the film. Some songs simply become add-ons.

    • WI

      good call -

      • Ste

        I like this song, too. Perhaps it didn’t get the nod because the movie didn’t do well with critics or the box office.

  • keith

    Completely agree.

  • gigi

    I’m disappointed that “Stu’s Song” didn’t get noticed. *sigh*

  • Nathan

    While I too think Karen O was robbed for Where the Wild Things Are, none of the other songs you mentioned added one ounce to the movie they were part of other than to sell a soundtrack. My understanding has been that they are trying to get away from songs that just play over end credits as you leave the film and focus on songs that had to the structure of the film as a whole. In that context this is a big improvement over previous years, when a song could be the third song in the credits playing over the disclaimer at the end and get a nomination.

    • D

      Nathan – “STu’s Song” definitely added to the movie. Arguably it was a little short, but it was so much fun. I was hoping that if it got nominated Elton John would sing it.

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