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Oscar Pick, Best Original Score

Oscar Pick, Best Original Score (photo)

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The nominees for best original score this year leave me in a tough position. I’ve never hidden my disdain for Hans Zimmer’s bloated, heavy handed electro turd style, but some of the work he did with “Inception” was truly ingenious. On the other hand, I’ve been admiring Alexandre Desplat’s excellent film scores for a long time and his score for “The King’s Speech” is rousing.

Before I cut to the chase, here are the nominees for Best Original Score:

How to Train Your Dragon” — John Powell
Inception” — Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech” — Alexandre Desplat
127 Hours” — A.R. Rahman
The Social Network” — Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

If the Golden Globes are any indication, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross may well win the Oscar for their “The Social Network” score. It would be well deserved, the score served the film magnificently and I’ve even listened to it on it’s own several times (though it tends to bring about an unease that turns into a burning desire to delete my facebook account).

I’ve never been great at picking Oscar winners, usually half the nominees are not ones I would have chosen, and when it comes to scores, I have difficulty weighing merit versus likability — or how well a score served the film it was created for versus how much I like listening to it on it’s own — two distinctly different kinds of scores, probably requiring different awards. And this dilemma is on full display this year in Desplat versus Zimmer.

Zimmer’s handiwork with Edith Piaf and the ingenious way her song “Non, je ne Regrette Rien” is incorporated throughout the entire score, at various speeds, deserves recognition. But so does his penchant for ruining films with his loud, flatulent noise. Since the real genius to the music in “Inception” is the way in which is was used to move between levels in the film’s reality, I see it more as sound design and would not choose to give Zimmer an Oscar for it. Outside of joking around in slow motion, I’d also never want to listen to the score on it’s own.

Thus, the Oscar goes to: Alexandre Desplat for “The King’s Speech.”

“The Threat of War” by Alexandre Desplat — “The King’s Speech”

Listen to that piece of music build, from just inklings at first, into grave and somber tones, and then (around 2:25) Desplat’s tentative piano gives way to the threat of violins, stirring up from underneath, until there is naught but a dance of menacing strings.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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