Though it wasn’t all that surprising (even in a night that was completely free of twists), the Oscar victory for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Best Original Score on Sunday night (February 27) was no less satisfying to the rock community. Reznor has been a part of the conversation since he founded Nine Inch Nails more than two decades ago, and he (along with longtime collaborator Ross) has come a long way since his early days.
And what early days those were. Reznor’s acceptance speech on Sunday night was low-key and humble (he sounded genuinely honored to be on the stage and thanked the Academy and his wife), but his public demeanor was not always so measured. In the early days of Nine Inch Nails, Reznor was notorious for lashing out at his own bandmates, his audience and especially his equipment (his philosophy was that if a piece of machinery failed, it deserved to be punished). In fact, MTV News was on the ground during the Phoenix stop of Lollapalooza 1991, where Nine Inch Nails played the second stage. In the midst of a performance of “Sin” (from Reznor’s debut album Pretty Hate Machine), the summer heat melted some key components in the band’s complicated stage set-up and caused regular power outages. After a few false starts, Reznor finally packed it in.
That Reznor looks like a completely different person than the one who accepted an Academy Award on Sunday night, doesn’t it? Still, though he may be evolving as an artist (he and Ross will next tackle the score for David Fincher’s adaptation of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”), for a certain segment of the population (like the people who crammed into small spaces to see Nine Inch Nails’ farewell tour in 2009), Reznor will always be the guy who gained millions of followers by singing “I want to f— you like an animal.”
What did you think of Trent Reznor’s acceptance speech at the Oscars? Let us know in the comments!