"In the Deep," from Crash; music by Kathleen "Bird" York and Michael Becker; lyric by Kathleen "Bird" York
PRO: Song shows amazing range from a singer-songwriter-actress who's just been signed to a major label.
CON: Bird who? May come off as a poor man's Annie Lennox.
"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," from Hustle and Flow; music and lyric by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman and Paul Beauregard
PRO: Hollywood loves rap (see 2003 winner Eminem); this catchy tune might sway academy voters who believe its hard out where they live, too.
CON: Lyrics, with their tale of "N***z" and "hos" not quite as iPod friendly as "Lose Yourself."
"Travelin' Thru," from Transamerica; music and lyrics by Dolly Parton
PRO: It's a pretty good song and an excuse to tell you our favorite Dolly Parton joke. She says, "I don't mind when people call me a dumb blonde, because I know that I'm not dumb. I also know that I'm not blonde."
CON: May be just a shade too country for awards gravitas; for pure scope, our money's on York.
Brokeback Mountain, Gustavo Santoalalla
PRO: Simple atmosphere from the Motorcycle Diaries guy.
CON: A little too simple; think of it as "music to count sheep by."
The Constant Gardener, Alberto Iglesias
PRO: Good stuff from a Kenyan percussionist. How can you hate a score with tunes like "We'll both be dead by Christmas?"
CON: Live 8 may have been as much attention as the first world had for these matters, and this score doesn't even have Bob Geldof.
Memoirs of a Geisha, John Williams
PRO: Let's see, it's the first nomination for the Brokeback guy, and for the Constant Gardener guy, and for the Pride and Prejudice guy. And Williams has been nominated how many times? Yep, forty-five. Not that that weights the scales or anything.
CON: Can you believe that for a movie with such a Japanese subject, they hired a Chinese guy to compose the score? What? Oh, never mind.
Munich, John Williams
PRO: Managed to get across the gravity of the Olympics without ever subjecting us to the "Agony of Defeat" theme.
CON: Themes too dark to make a good soundtrack for ice routines at Torino, unless some irony-loving soul decides to score their long freestyle to "The Attack at Olympic Village" or the triple-lutz friendly "Encounter In London/Bomb Malfunctions."
Pride and Prejudice, Dario Marianelli
PRO: Marianelli has a glow from his work on the Brothers Grimm; music smoothly played by Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
CON: Score not considered to have the genius of Grimm; overall, not rum-tum-tummy enough for the source material.
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