Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences picks what they think are the best original songs of the year from a shortlist of soundtracks. The problem, of course, is that their specialty tends to lead them no further than a few Randy Newman songs. We're certainly not willing to say these are anywhere near the best songs of the year, but the Academy left off a few stellar tunes when making its list.
5. J. Ralph -- "The Reasons Why," from Wretches and Jabberers
The J. Ralph song that finishes Wretches and Jabberers is one of those tracks that are easy to overlook at first. Like most recent Oscar nods, it's not much more than a man and a guitar. Even so, this one's a little different, especially when you toss in the fact that Ralph collaborated with the likes of Antony, Devendra Banhart, Norah Jones, Vashti Bunyan and more on the disc. It's one of the best original soundtracks of the year.
4. Uh Huh Her -- "Same High," from The Kids Are All Right
Indie electro-pop isn't exactly good fodder for an Oscar nod, but "Same High" is undeniably catchy in that iPod-commercial sort of way. No, it's not the deepest, most forward-thinking song in the world, but it's fun, and it works great for the movie it was recorded for.
3. Mika, RedOne -- "Kick Ass," from Kick Ass
Speaking of great for the movie it was recorded for, there is pretty much no better song to represent the superhero movie Kick Ass than, uh, "Kick Ass." Sometimes it's not so much about how great the song is by itself, but about how great it is in the context of the film. This one is spot-on no matter how you cut it.
2. Sylvain Chomet -- "Chanson Illusionist," from The Illusionist
If you remember the amazing Triplets of Belleville soundtrack from a while ago, you'll quickly recognize this tune since it's from the same composer. It's about as French as you can get and embodies both the heart and soul of the movie and the animation behind it.
1. Beck -- "Ramona," from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Beck's contribution to the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtrack is solid through and through, and all of the bands throughout the film have their own style and songs. "Ramona," however, is great on its own. It's Beck channeling Bowie circa "Space Oddity," but there's really nothing wrong with that.