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Another Spin
A blog by Scott E. Shepherd · A continuing look at popular music, past, present and future.
Monday, March 6, 2006

"Pimp" stuns Oscars
Academy gives first award to rap nominee

Filed under: Recent Releases

In what is probably the biggest upset in Oscar history, the Academy Award for Best Original Song went to 36 Mafia's "It's Hard Out Here Being a Pimp" from the motion picture "Hustle & Flow." Not since "Blame Canada" from the South Park movie was I so sure a song nominee would not win. That a rap song would be nominated, let alone win, seems like a major step for the Academy.

You would think the title alone would have been enough to scare the normally conservative voters. Yet when Queen Latifah opened envelope, the Academy stunned the motion picture audience by giving the award to "Pimp." Even host Jon Stewart seemed at loss for words, though he quickly quipped, " I think somehow life has suddenly gotten a little easier for a pimp."

Perhaps almost as stunning as "Pimp" winning, at least for me, was how few nominations were in this category this year. Normally there are about four or five nominations (and at least one by Randy Newman), but there were only three - "Pimp", "In the Deep" from "Crash," and "Travelin' Thru" from "Transamerica." My money was on "In the Deep" which was a good song, and more traditional to type of song the Academy likes to award.

Is this a sign that the Academy is more progressive than we expected? Who knows, but suddenly movie moguls all over the country are now trying how to fit rap songs in their scores, and rappers are preparing their Oscar acceptance speeches.

In the only other category related to my subject, music, it was nice to see Gustavo Santaolalla win for Best Score for "Brokeback Mountain", despite John Williams having stacked the deck with two nominations. Nothing against Williams, (are there any more recognizable movie scores than "Jaws" and "Star Wars?") but I get tired of him being nominated every time he writes music for a movie.

Maybe next time he should rap.

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