Kevork Djansezian, Associated Press
Glen Hansard, right, and Marketa Irglova's song "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once" is nominated for an Academy Award.

The talkof the entertainment world is the 80th Academy Awards that will air Sunday on ABC (6:30 p.m., Ch. 4).

That's right, Oscar is 80 years old, and for the most part is still alive and kicking.

While there are some interesting nominations on the list each year, my eyes zero in on the music categories — original score and original song.

This year, the nominees for the original score are Dario Marianelli's "Atonement," Alberto Iglesias' "The Kite Runner," James Newton Howard's "Michael Clayton," Michael Giacchino's "Ratatouille" and Marco Beltrami's "3:10 to Yuma."

All five nominees are well chosen. Marianelli's score is firmly orchestrated, while Iglesias' music is quite exotic, laced with Middle-Eastern immediacy. Howard went for some intense dramatic themes and Giacchino entertains with his charming, European romantic score. Beltrami tries to be Ennio Morricone, but doesn't quite capture that epic Western dynamic.

If I were voting with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I'd go with Iglesias' "The Kite Runner." It's complex, catchy and touches the heart. And I do have a feeling that's what the academy will choose, as well.

The original song nominees are "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the film "Once"; Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas' "Raise It Up" from "August Rush"; and Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz's three songs from "Enchanted" — "Happy Working Song," "So Close" and "That's How You Know."

All of these songs have their own personalities. The songs from "Enchanted" are full of life, but also have that smiling and comfortable Disney-musical stamp. "Raise It Up" is a soulful tune with a touch of gospel flair and "Falling Slowly" lies in the typical, introspective-folk vein.

My choice would be "Falling Slowly" because the song takes the listener on a three-minute journey of self evaluation. However, I have a feeling the academy will select one of the "Enchanted" songs because of their rich and lush production.

No matter who claims the Oscar for the aforementioned categories, I do feel that we are lucky to be able to even see an Academy Award telecast, thanks to the end of the writers' strike.

While there are many people who believe awards shows are self-congratulatory, and many are, there is no denying what the Academy Awards does for an actor, film or music.

The composers and songwriters for the two categories are not as well-known to the public as the Billboard Hot 100 singers, groups and musicians. So, personally, I like the Academy Awards because they recognize these artists who make a film more of a sensory experience.

It will be fun to see what the academy chooses this year.


E-mail: [email protected]