We got up extra early on Thursday morning, flush with the hopes we’d be celebrating Rick Ross’s Oscar nomination with some tilapia with cheese … but alas, when the noms for the >85th Academy Awards were announced, the Bawse’s name was not among them, so we just had some peanut butter Puffins and pouted.
Yes, “100 Black Coffins” — Rozay’s totally awesome contribution to the “Django Unchained” soundtrack — got snubbed in the Original Song category, as Academy voters decided instead to nominate the usual spate of Oscar fare (“Before My Time” from “Chasing Ice,” “Pi’s Lullaby” from “Life of Pi,” “Suddenly” from “Les Misérables”), throw in a token wild-card nom (“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from “Ted”) and keep with the longstanding award-show tradition of honoring Adele (her theme to “Skyfall” got nominated, and is probably the prohibitive favorite to win).
And while we’re not mad about “Best Friend” and “Skyfall” picking up noms, we’re decidedly bummed about the rest of the Original Song category … mostly because it could have been so much more. Last month, the Academy released a shortlist of the 75 songs eligible for the award, a collection of tunes by the likes of the Black Keys, Arcade Fire, Fiona Apple, Katy Perry and, of course, Ross. None of them ended up being nominated, which is a shame; if they had, this year’s Original Song race would have been the most competitive — and cool — in Oscar history.
So, in protest of Rick Ross being shut out by Academy voters (imagine what he would have worn to the ceremony!) we’ve compiled our picks for the Original Song category … the songs that truly should have gotten nominated. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to pick at our cold tilapia and wonder why life is so unfair.
Adele, “Skyfall,” from “Skyfall”: We’ll be the first to admit that Academy voters got at least one nomination right … Adele’s theme to the latest “Bond” flick is classy and brassy, a welcome return to the simmering songs of Shirley Bassey, and a delightful departure from the recent spate of “Bond” themes contributed by the likes of Chris Cornell and Madonna. We’re even willing to bet that Adele will end her hiatus and perform the tune on the Oscar telecast. which makes “Skyfall’s” triumph in the category all but certain … and we guess were OK with that.
The Black Keys and RZA, “The Baddest Man Alive,” from “The Man With the Iron Fists”: Like its title implies, this was quite possibly the only soundtrack song released last year that could have gone toe-to-toe with Ross’ big-boned “Black Coffins.” Full of rattling chains, fuzzed-out guitars and bad intentions, “Baddest Man” is, in many ways, a total throwback to the equally bad scores of ’70s films like “Shaft” and the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone, and, as an added bonus, it would have been a trip to see network censors try to keep up with the RZA during the performance.
Fiona Apple, “Dull Tool,” from “This is 40”: Sure, with its gorgeous orchestrations, it’s cinematic enough, but, like all of Apple’s best, the devil’s in the details: in this case, she bitterly recaps a deteriorating relationship (“You don’t kiss when you kiss/You don’t f— when you f—/You don’t say what you mean”) while sounding like she’s firmly poised on the brink of collapse. Also, as she proved with her “this world is bulls—” speech at the 1997 VMAs, Apple truly brings out her best at award shows.
Katy Perry, “Wide Awake,” from “Part of Me”: Imagine if she would have gotten to reenact its totally bazonkers music video on the Oscar stage. Also, while the film it accompanied didn’t fare all that well at the box office, “Wide Awake” was one of 2012’s purest pop moments, an inspirational uplifter that, somehow, also managed to be a dance-floor favorite. And that last point definitely separates it from the bland ballads that usually score nominations in this category.
Rick Ross, “100 Black Coffins,” from “Django Unchained”: A track so badass and swaggering that it had “Django” star Jamie Foxx openly campaigning for a nomination back in December, “Coffins” is classic Rozay — big and blockheaded in the best possible way — and, had he gotten to perform the song, it certainly would have marked the first time Big Daddy Kane got a shout-out at the Oscars. Maybe voters were still trying to come to terms with Three 6 Mafia’s win in 2006 ?