With the attention Willie Nelson's been receiving for his non-Brokeback release, "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)", and with the Grammys newly minted, it seems fitting to kick off the Oscars Central predix with music. I'm going with the "what should win, what will win & who was robbed" pattern for all of my predictions - and you're welcome to chime in if you disagree! Here goes something:
Best Song Nominees: "In the Deep," from Crash; "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," from Hustle & Flow; and "Travelin' Thru," from Transamerica.
What should win: As much as I loved Dolly Parton's warbling at the end of Transamerica, and as moved as I was by most of the musical choices in Crash, you know - by process of elimination - what song I can't get out of my head. Granted, I only saw Hustle & Flow a few weeks ago, but I see the title "It's Hard Out Here..." and I'm already humming "...for a pimp." Even the song title does a great job of encapsulating the movie, but the best thing is that, since H&F is about a Memphis pimp trying to get into the music business, the song is actually part of the plot and not just something thrown over the end credits.
What will win: "In the Deep" is a pretty safe choice, and also a deserving song. I'm betting voters will shy away from making these Oscars appear totally LGBT, thus eliminating "Travelin' Thru." And do you really think a song with the word "Pimp" in it's title is going to win? Besides, another song from H&F won at the Golden Globes (one without the word "pimp," and one that star Terrence Howard co-wrote).
Who was robbed: I took a look at the Academy's list of eligible songs, and as amusing as it would have been to see a performance of Harry Potter's "Do the Hippogriff" (by Robin Williams maybe?), I would have been even more thrilled to see the cast of The Producers on stage to perform "There's Nothing Like a Show on Broadway." It would have been nice to see Mel Brooks get one more award for this show.
Best Score Nominees: Brokeback Mountain, The Constant Gardener, Memoirs of a Geisha, Munich and Pride and Prejudice.
What should win: Hands down, the most effective and personal score among the nominated flicks is the one for Brokeback Mountain. I still remember the stark guitar instrumental interludes - yup, there they go in my head, replacing "It's Hard Out Here..." - by composer Gustavo Santaolalla, whereas I can't recall a thing about any of the other nominees. Bingo.
What will win: The Academy will probably follow the Critics' Choice and Golden Globe Awards and give it to John Williams for Memoirs of a Geisha. Hmmph. Like he has room for another statuette on his mantle.
Who was robbed: Mark Isham for the haunting, evocative score for Crash. I know it's sappy to keep repeating how moving this film was, but as good as the acting and script were Crash wouldn't have had one quarter of the - pardon the pun - impact if the score hadn't carried the themes through. Isham's perfect choices propelled this movie into the Best Picture stratosphere.
That's it for now ... I'll be back with another category (or two) in a bit. And remember to pick up a print copy of March 3rd's SGN for my Oscar predictions in major categories. Now get out there and watch some great movies!
Hustle & Flow soundtrack image courtesy of Atlantic/WEA; Crash soundtrack image courtesy of Superb Records.