There’s one thing you can’t take away from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. However warped its criteria of awarding excellence in cinema may be, it does have a good ear for new-age music. Upbeat or melancholy, the Best Original Song nominees are never staid.
Take this year’s winner for instance.
The Weary Kind
, written by Ryan Bingham and composed by T Bone Burnett is as genuine as actor Jeff Bridges’ broken smile from
, the film that features the song as its theme. However, the charming riff of this country jewel isn’t the only ‘kind’ to be appreciated. The Academy’s given songs from various genres and languages a nod in the past. It’s shocked critics by awarding unconventional artists and surprised the music fraternity by embracing newer sounds.
For every Bob Dylan, there’s been a Melissa Etheridge, for every Phil Collins, a U2. If James Horner was lauded for a mesmeric
My Heart Will Go On
(sung by Celine Dion for
rapper Eminem’s clinched the trophy for a hard-hitting
) too. The last two decades have seen the category becoming a mélange of multi-genre celebration, with some conservatively odd-sounding tracks winning. What else could explain hip-hop newbie Three 6 Mafia picking one for
It’s Hard out Here for a
Hustle & Flow
) in 2006 when also in the running was Kathleen York’s
In the Deep
The foreign lingo apprehension has also been blurred. Uruguayan musician Jorge Drexler’s soulful
Al otro lado del río
The Motor-cycle Diaries
) and AR Rahman’s
) won in 2005 and 2009 respectively, thus silencing many who thought the Academy plays favourites.