The Oscars were last night, and it was full of just enough complete and total surprise winners to screw up anyone’s Oscar pool. Tilda Swinton and I are still recovering from the shock. No Country For Old Men and Daniel Day-Lewis were sure things, but I don’t think anyone thought The Bourne Ultimatum would win three major technical awards, for instance, or that anyone picked the French lady for Best Actress.
I did get one long shot right: that “Falling Slowly” from the tiny indie gem Once would win Best Song. I think EW had the three songs from Enchanted splitting the vote, leaving this as the winner, but seriously, whodathunk it? A film shot in three weeks for $100,000 with mostly amateur actors had a song in it that beat a multi-million dollar Disney extravaganza. That’s not a knock on Enchanted, because who doesn’t love any tune where Amy Adams sings to the cockroaches, but “Falling Slowly” is such a special and elegaic thing that, if it didn’t win, the world would prove itself unjust forever.
Ten years ago, stupid “My Heart Will Go On” beat “Miss Misery” by Elliot Smith as the Best Song from a Motion Picture, and I think the Academy’s been trying to make up for that ever since. Since then, the Best Song award has, shockingly, gone to the Best Song, regardless of the film or song’s popularity. This has tended to set it apart from other awards in recent years – for instance, Crash beat Brokeback Mountain for some lame reason that no one can or could ever fathom in the Best Picture category a few years back. But Best Song has gone to Eminem for “Lose Yourself”, to Bob Dylan for his contribution to the Wonder Boys soundtrack, to Melissa Etheridge, to the Three 6 Mafia, for heaven’s sake. Sure, they gave it to Phil Collins and not South Park one year, but no one’s perfect.
So, it makes sense that “Falling Slowly” would win Best Song. It still felt good, as it always does when the underdog wins and Alan Menken doesn’t. Oh, and when Marketa Irglova didn’t get to say her half of the acceptance speech because the stupid orchestra played her off, host Jon Stewart got her back on stage after the commercial so she could finish it. She said some really cool things about independent film and music, too.
Also, the woman who won Best Screenplay for Juno is this punk-rockabilly chick with a Betty Page tattoo.
Anyway, at the top of the page is “Falling Slowly”, the first time you hear it in the film Once. This is when Glen is teaching Marketa the song in the music store, and – seriously – the whole film is like this clip; understated, hyper-realistic, and beautiful. Go see it – your soul will be better for it.