The Academy Awards, more commonly known as “The Oscars”, are all about film. While it is true that the award categories include “Best Song” and “Best Score”, for the most part, music is just an afterthought at the Oscars. After all, music does have its own annual awards event, the Grammys. Fair enough.
However Ann Powers over at NPR makes a strong case for shining the spotlight on the music featured in this year’s Oscar nominated films. The characters in many of these films have some great taste in music. Of course, there is no such Oscar award category as “Film character with the best taste in music”. But it’s a fun idea to play around with.
Here are Powers’ nominees:
1. Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams get down to “I Feel Love” in American Hustle.
In true 70s style, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) dance the night away to Donna Summer. Fitting given Richie’s reckless abandon with Sydney which comes back to bite him.
2. Jared Leto blasts some T. Rex in Dallas Buyer’s Club.
Marc Bolan, the frontman for the 70s glam rock outfit T.Rex, is practically a deity for Jared Leto’s character Rayon.
3. George Clooney floats free to Hank Williams, Jr’s “Angels Are Hard to Find” in Gravity.
Like many country-western songs, this ballad tugs at the heartstrings. It conveys more about Clooney’s character Matt Kowalksi than any narrative could.
4. Stacy Keach kills at karaoke in Nebraska, singing Elvis’s hit “In The Ghetto”
There’s no shortage of karaoke performances in movies, but it’s usually your standard Adult Contemporary Top 40 fare. Ed Pegram (Stacy Keach) breaks the mold a little bit with this poignant selection.
5. Scarlett Johanssen and Joaquin Phoenix write “The Moon Song” together in Her.
This song is unique in that it is actually an original song that actually has a real chance at winning an Oscar since it has been nominated for the “Best Original Song” category. However since the song has a role as being written by Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and his operating system named Samantha (Scarlett Johanssen), it gets special kudos for being a demonstration of the characters’ talents.
Looking back through the history of cinema, we’ve had a lot of character’s who have graced us not only with their great screen presence, but with their excellent taste in music. Personally if I had to pick just one, it would be Jackie Brown from Quentin Tarentino’s film of the same name. Now that lady had some great taste in music!
Who’s your pick for the movie character with the best taste in music? Either from this year’s Oscar nominees, or from any other film?
Photo by Vincent van der Heijden