This has first and foremost always been a music blog, so I thought we would be remiss if we did not weigh in on the musical aspects of the biggest awards show of the year.
As a non-Academy voter, I've never quite known what exactly they are looking for in the top movie songs of the year. Is it the song that the individual voter simply responds to the most, given his or her predelictions and background? Is it the song that best represents the movie that it appears in? Is it the song that somehow moves the action forward in that movie? Is it the song that is simply the best song? By that, I mean, is it the song which happened to be in a movie but stands along as a really terrific song? Or, it is the song that is supposed to stand the test of time, that represents who we were as a culture at that time?
In helping to present the award, Miley Cyrus (or the cue cards) focused on how the song functioned in the movie, but that is clearly not the set, most important criterion. Springsteen's winning "The Streets of Philadelphia," for example, merely provides a backdrop as AIDS-ridden Tom Hanks moves around the city.
I spent a few bucks on your behalf and tracked down the nominees on amazon.com and spent some time listening to them today.
Here are my tasting notes:
Marion Cotilliard--"Take It All" (mp3) Didn't see the movie. Can't comment on context. Sounds like a fairly-generic show tune, but pretty sexy, too. You know the kind of song, the big, brassy woman song who sings the kind of "come on" song in a lower female register. Ok, didn't actually figure that out until seeing clip during show. French woman. Not big and brassy. Earthy. Not conventionally beautiful. People grabbing at her while she sings.
Dr. John--"Down In New Orleans" (mp3) Randy Newman's song started out sound like a fairly-generic Dr. John song about his city, New Orleans. Obviously not a bad thing. Feels like Newman has written a song that sounds like it could have been written 50 years ago. Fits right in. Like the line, "You want to some livin' before you die, do it down in New Orleans."
Anika Noni Rose--"Almost There" (mp3) Also by Randy Newman. Same movie. More of a movie song. She's advancing the action, revealing her character. Seems kind of non-descript. Makes me wonder why they nominated two songs from this movie. There are other "second" songs from Crazy Heart that are much better.
Nora Arnezeder--"Loin De Paname" (mp3) I speak French, a little, but have no idea what this song is about. Doesn't matter. I like the voice, the melody. Traditional French use of accordion. Sounds like a song sung to a lover. But I'm guessing, because it's French and because she keeps mentioning Paris.
Jeff Bridges--"The Weary Kind" (mp3) Sorry, folks. Bought this from Itunes. Mp4. Didn't have time to transfer it. Got this version from hypem. It is Jeff Bridges, outside and beyond the movie performing it. Good tune. Saw movie. Loved movie. This song played at end, sung by Colin Farrell's character, kind of captures the Jeff Bridges character start to finish. This one's on my Ipod and will stay there.
Well, before I could get this post finished, I started watching the show and they got this award out of the way early, so I write this knowing that "The Weary Kind" won the award. I'm good with that. By what criteria? Well, it's simple. It's the one I like the best.