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Your Guide to the 2010 Best Original Song Oscar Nominees

Randy Newman: This guy again?

Fewer Academy Award categories offer more left-field nominees than those for Best Original Song.

Consider the evidence: Where else could you have found Elliott Smith, Three 6 Mafia, Keith Carradine and M.I.A. in the same place? Or witnessed Lars von Trier competing against Sting (they both lost-this was for the best)?

Voters don’t always get it right, like the time Melissa Etheridge won for her contribution to An Inconvenient Truth, which broke The Unspoken Rule Of Movie Theme Songs: a movie’s name must never, ever be sung in its theme song. And also, it was terrible.

A guide to this year’s nominees-and some notable omissions-after the jump.

The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart),” Crazy Heart (Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett)
The roots-rock up-and-comer collaborated with the mighty Burnett on this nice, if slight, country-folk track. Unbelievably, Burnett has only been nominated once before, and it wasn’t for the definition-of-awesome O Brother, Where Art Thou?

“Almost There,” The Princess and the Frog (Music and Lyric by Randy Newman)
“Down in New Orleans,” The Princess and the Frog (Music and Lyric by Randy Newman)

Think of Newman as the anti-T Bone: He routinely gets nominated (though seldom wins) for different versions of what seems like the same gentle, kid-friendly piano-pop song. But “Down in New Orleans” may be his best work since “I Love to See You Smile” from Parenthood.
Almost There” (sung by Anika Noni Rose)
Down in New Orleans” (sung by Dr. John)
Randy Newman summed up in 1:45

Loin de Paname,” Paris 36 (Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas)
There’s one like it almost every year: A song you’ve never heard, from a movie you’re not even sure exists. Remember “Vois Sur ton Chemin” from 2004’s Les Choristes? No, right?

Take It All,” Nine (Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston)
They had to give Nine something, but why this Marion Cotillard number, instead of Penelope Cruz’s show-stopping “A Call From the Vatican,” the one where she wore lingerie and slid down a pink rope?

Notable Omissions

Leona Lewis, “I See You (Theme From Avatar)”
This syrupy, Oscar-baiting ballad was considered a virtual lock for a nomination, but its desperation may have made it less attractive.

U2, “Winter”
This track, from the Tobey Maguire/Natalie Portman film Brothers, had the opposite problem: It feels like one of those all-purpose, we-had-this-lying-around-so-you-might-as-well-use-it soundtrack songs.

Karen O & The Kids, “All Is Love” (from Where the Wild Things Are)
This year's inexplicable snub, it's almost as head-scratching as last year's omission of Springsteen's "The Wrestler." It's that wrong.

By Allison Stewart  |  February 4, 2010; 12:31 PM ET
Categories:  Lists  | Tags: Randy Newman, Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett  
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