In Contention


Will ‘The Wrestler’ bring The Boss a second Oscar?

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 6:36 am · December 7th, 2008

Bruce SpringsteenIt’s been 13 years since Bruce Springsteen was nominated for an Oscar (1995 for the title track to Tim Robbins’s “Dead Man Walking”) and two more since he’s taken the award home (1993 for “Streets of Philadelphia”).  With little in the way of competition beyond songs like “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” from “Hamlet 2″ and the “High School Musical 3″ soundtrack (okay, Peter Gabriel’s “Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” is a definite threat), the question becomes, Will The Boss win statuette number two?

I’m thinking it’s a great possibility, especially when you consider the story behind the track.  As Mickey Rourke has been telling journalists who’ll listen, and as he said to me during our interview last month, the actor sat down to write Springsteen a letter after falling out of ouch for over a decade.  Springsteen took a look at the film and went to work on a blue-collar track to go along with the story, all the while director Darren Aronofsky not fully grasping how big a deal that was.

Aronofsky wasn’t a big Boss fan and didn’t really get the connection the performer has with his fans until Rourke took him to a concert and Aronofsky finally got it.  “Hey, they really like this guy,” he told Mickey.  Nothing like a little innocence to go along with Aronofsky’s undeniable intellect.

Anyway, Springsteen said he wanted to do the song for Rourke because he wanted to help the actor get back up on his feet after a crashed-and-burned career.  It was touching for Rourke, no matter whether jaded journalists want to question his sincerity.

Yesterday Fox Searchlight sent out the musical particulars of theire films “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The Wrestler,” including original scores by A.R. Rahman and Clint Mansell respectively.  Also in the mix were the original tunes “Jaiho” from “Slumdog” and, of course, “The Wrestler.”  But this version was much more souped up than the original version you hear over the credits of the film.  Indeed, it takes on an epic scope, manifying the impact of the film in your mind (have a listen to the new version here or at the bottom of the post).

Anyway, I think it’s clear this race will be between Gabriel and Springsteen, two legends throughout the generations.  At the end of the day, could Springsteen walk away with that second Oscar bookend? Listen to the new version and decide for yourself:





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→ 26 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily · Featured

26 responses so far

  • 1 12-07-2008 at 6:43 am

    N8 said...

    I love Springsteen, put I want Newman to win for “Down to Earth”. I have a feeling he’s going to split his own vote in Original Score.

  • 2 12-07-2008 at 7:33 am

    Gar said...

    I liked “Down to Earth” well enough, but after listening to that, my vote goes to the Boss.

  • 3 12-07-2008 at 8:52 am

    Lev Lewis said...

    I love Bruce and I like this song, but I just dont really see the purpose of that synth intro.

  • 4 12-07-2008 at 9:12 am

    JAB said...

    clint mansell is doing the score for wrestler!? He is a genius. The score was far and away the best part of The Fountain, and Requiem for a Dream’s score is close to iconic in my opinion, people know it without knowing what it’s from.

  • 5 12-07-2008 at 10:48 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Hope he wins. But I’m still making a wild guess that “Jai Ho” will take it — they tend to go for the quirkiest nominee these days.

  • 6 12-07-2008 at 11:12 am

    McGuff said...

    Loved it. Question: if nominated, does it assure he will play it live on Oscar night? As we know, the Oscars could use a boost in the ratings in anyway they can get them, and the Boss sure has quite a few rabid fans that would excitedly tune in for a performance.

    Question 2: After the treatment of Eddie Vedder a year ago, can we really expect the Academy to do the right thing in this category?

  • 7 12-07-2008 at 11:22 am

    Scott Ward said...

    Two good points McGuff.

  • 8 12-07-2008 at 1:06 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Well with so many Vedder songs to nominate it could very well have been that many got lost in the preferential balloting system.

  • 9 12-07-2008 at 1:42 pm

    McGuff said...

    OK, fine. But I would say it further undercuts an organization if they can’t recognize the best work out there because of a flawed system. Now obviously that won’t effect the nomination/win of this one, single song by Bruce, but it’s another showing of how problematic this award can be. (Beyond Guy’s belief that the quirkiest nominee too often wins)

  • 10 12-07-2008 at 1:48 pm

    Mr. F said...

    I’ve been wondering if Cling Mansell’s score is Oscar worthy. From what I’ve heard of it, it is very subtle, and the academy doesn’t do subtle. I ask this because he deserves some recognition. He deserved to be nominated two years ago for the fountain

  • 11 12-07-2008 at 2:01 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Hey, I didn’t say “too often” — as it happens, I think they’ve got the winner in this category right for the last four years running.

  • 12 12-07-2008 at 2:04 pm

    John Foote said...

    Springsteen is the God of rock and roll — his Oscar winning ballad “Streets of Philadelphia” might be the most deeply moving song to ever win the Academy Award — talk about a performance! A straight blue collar rocker singing as a gay man dying of AIDS and capturing the horror and pain of that terrible disease in his poetic lyrics — “voices of friends vanished and gone”…”aint no angel gonna greet me, it’s just you and I my friend, and my clothes don’t fit me no more”…– he talks of black blood racing through his veins poisoned and leading him to a painful death that will see him look in a mirror and not know the man staring back — heartbreaking — when Tom Hanks spoke of the angels lining the streets of heaven in his Oscar winning acceptance speech, no doubt he did so after hearing Bruce’s haunting lyrics of the many who had gone on to something better after struggling with this dreadful illness — I have seen the film, loved Rourke and Tomei, and have not heard a finer song this year — the Oscar should go to Bruce, but you never know…

  • 13 12-07-2008 at 2:17 pm

    McGuff said...

    My apologies, Guy. Didn’t mean to put words in your mouth.

  • 14 12-07-2008 at 2:42 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Well I don’t agree that the Academy snubs “subtle” scores. Michael Clayton last year? Brokeback Mountain and Babel winning? It seem the only law in this category is John Williams.

  • 15 12-07-2008 at 5:28 pm

    Patrick F. said...

    I’m just going to say it: Little Person is the best song this year, which is why it has no chance of winning.

  • 16 12-07-2008 at 6:25 pm

    Patrick said...

    Bruce should take this easily. Brilliant.

  • 17 12-07-2008 at 7:56 pm

    Glenn said...

    “Streets of Philadelphia” is my third favourite song of all time – and Bruce has a lot of songs in my very very long list – so obviously I think his win is one of my all time favourite Oscar wins. This song from “The Wrestler” is another stunner (can’t wait for the new album in January). Just beautiful and that synth opening is just divine. Has there been a rock musician who’s ever been able to get synthesizers JUST right as Springsteen?

  • 18 12-07-2008 at 8:50 pm

    Alejo said...

    I never understood how the score for babel was even nominated. The music was practically nonexistent in the movie, and on top of that, the primary musical piece used was already composed by Santaolalla about 10 years ago! It’s called “Iguazu” and was used in The Insider back in 1997!

    How is the Academy did not disqualify that, but they did so with Jonny Greenwood’s score for “There Will be Blood”?

    To Jonathon: I’m with you also on Michael Clayton being nominated for best score. How did that even happen? And to not nominate The Assassination of Jesse James and Lust Caution for best original score?

  • 19 12-07-2008 at 10:04 pm

    Ivich said...

    I really hope that AR Rahman’s work gets recognised. Even though SM’s soundtrack has songs from many other Bollywood films, I think “O Saya” and “Jai Ho”, the original ones, are fantastic. Being a Mumbaiite, I’m telling you the guys rarely goes wrong. He is consistent, delivers on quality and is the best in the music business right now. Here’s crossing my fingers that either of the songs makes the cut. Would love to root for Rahman on Feb 22.