Hey, whaddya know, the Oscars are this Sunday! The Academy Awards may be an endless bounty for film nerds, but it’s generally a wasteland for pop music fans (unless Eminem shows up). We’ve already expressed our disappointment with Randy Newman’s 19th(!) nomination and our morbid curiosity at the fate of Gweneth Paltrow without the help of her pug puppet pal. We hope to correct that injustice with the Popdust Oscars, our picks for a more poptimist award show where musicians take home trophies and “real” actors stare sadly at their $10,000 shoes.
BEST MOVIE (MUSIC-RELATED)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
The film, in which Michael Cera’s titular hero plays in a Canadian garage (OK, basement-apartment) band and falls in love with the mysterious Ramona Flowers, was despite its comic-book fantasia setting one of the most realistic portrayals of music in film this year. There are multiple awkward scenes at record stores. There’s a young woman whose life is entirely changed by hearing a single song. (It helps that the band playing it has Pilgrim on bass, even though the band’s true hero is drummer—and Scott ex—Kim Pine, played by Allison Pill.) There’s an ex of Scott’s who’s risen to megafame after making herself over into an ice-princess lead singer. And the climactic scene of the flick hinges, in part, on Cera’s bandmates in Sex Bob-Omb coming to his aid after a business spat (that’s actually set into motion by the evil record executive who used to date Ramona and who is sending all the other evil exes after Scott—see? realism!) causes him to leave the band. The film’s story is told with the aid of 8-bit-inspired special effects and the dialogue is frequently snort-inducing, in a good way. And the music—provided by Beck, Metric, and the Canadian indie band Plumtree, whose song “Scott Pilgrim” inspired the comic-book series in the first place—provides just the right counterpoint to the hyperspeed action on screen.
BEST ACTOR (WHO IS ALSO A MUSICIAN)
Diddy in Get Him to the Greek
They loaded this movie with two of the biggest stars in modern comedy—Jonah Hill (no pun intended) and Russell Brand. And the looming presence of Diddy outshone them both. Playing the outlandish record executive Sergio Roma (“I own 21 kookaroos! Y’all don’t own one kookaroo!”), he basically played an outsized version of his own Making the Band persona, which was already endlessly watchable to begin with. Seriously, Judd Apatow needs to dump Seth Rogan and have Diddy do all his movies from now on.
BEST ACTRESS (WHO IS ALSO A MUSICIAN)
Janet Jackson in For Colored Girls
OK, we didn’t exactly see this movie (sorry, Tyler, we’ll catch your next 12 or so). But how are we not going to give this to Janet? She made Nutty Professor II watchable, so we’re pretty sure she can make magic with something a little more serious and dramatic. Do you think we’re gonna give this to Christina and Cher in Burlesque? Or Mandy Moore’s voice in Tangled? Do you think we’re going to go within seven miles of Meet The Fockers to determine if Babs was any good? No way! Go Janet!
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network
This is one time the Academy actually got it right. Those low-pulsing drones and roiling ambient sweeps from Nine Inch Nails records have been begging to be soundtrack fodder for years. David Fincher clearly came of age surrounded by the brooding, fluorescent-tinted NIN vibe.
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
Daft Punk, “Derezzed” from Tron
Although we have a soft spot for how sleazy Pharrell sounds on the Despicable Me theme, we’re gonna have to give this one to our favorite Frenchy robots. Sounding at once retro-futurist and perfectly modern, their blending of vintage video game blips and modern electro roar would be beloved by 1982 Jeff Bridges and 2011 Jeff Bridges alike.
BEST USE OF AN OLD SONG
Nick Cave, “O Children” from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1
Cave’s noir-gothic love ballads are so timeless they can even live in mystical worlds of magic without seeming weird or forced. The fact that Harry didn’t kiss Hermione will haunt us until the end of days, though.
Who’d we miss or snub? Let us know in the comments.