2009 Best Musical Performance Nominees

This is the first of two music based scene categories.  The nominated scenes here are all to contain music that is actually performed by a character on screen and it is not a category for the use of source music in the background.  Bear in mind that the award is to judge the scene as a whole, not just the performance itself, in other words the actual music isn’t the only thing being judged.

  • Here Comes Your Man, Karaoke- (500) Days of Summer: The Pixies’ catalog has been pretty thoroughly mined since Fight Club made their music so popular among filmmakers.  This is a phenomenon I’ve found kind of disturbing, but I can live with it here simply because the whole thing is used to such comic potential.  While drunk off his ass on Karaoke night the Joseph Godron Levit character gets up on stage and delivers this horrendous rendition of the great “Doolitle” track.  This is a much better representation of that horrible bar activity than we usually get.
  • Fallin’ & Flyin’- Crazy Heart: As much as I hate country music, I can’t really ignore a movie like Crazy Heart which has a whole lot of very good scenes involving this abomination of a music genre.  While “The Weary Kind” is the song getting the most attention, I don’t really think it’s a particularly good song and it also doesn’t really have a definitive performance moment in the movie. The song Fallin’ & Flyin’ on the other hand has a pair of much more effective performances, particularly one scene where Bridge’s character tries to play it in front of a large crowd and can’t really get their attention until it turns into a duet with a more famous star.
  • Stu’s Song- The Hangover: Silly songs from raunchy comedies have sort of been a staple of this category; in fact Dracula’s Lament from Forgetting Sarah Marshall won the award last year.  This little moment from The Hangover features a rather bizarre little diddy by Ed Helms asking the question that has troubled the great thinkers for ages: what do tigers dream of?   What makes it work is that the lyrics are obviously being made up as this nervous character goes along.  It’s a short scene but that means it doesn’t wear out its welcome.
  • Who Shot Ya- Notorious:  Right in the middle of the section of this Notorious B.I.G. biopic dealing with the Biggie Smalls/Tupac beef came this tense little concert scene in which Big Poppa is facing a hostile 2pac supporting crowd.  After being interrupted numerous times he finally decides to throw down the gauntlet and tells his DJ to start playing the beat to Who Shot Ya, a song that was misinterpreted as a diss track by Makaveli.  Up to that point he’d avoided playing the song, his frustration was at an end.  He lays down the rap with a real anger and it’s in some ways the performance that would seal Biggie’s fate.
  • Bust a Move- Up in the Air: there were a lot of things that I expected to see in Up in the Air, but a Young MC cameo wasn’t one of them.  The scene takes place at an industry party which Clooney and Co. sneak into without invitations.  Among the attractions at this party is a private performance by the old school rapper, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess which of his “many” hits he performed.  The act was well chosen; he’s famous enough to be a recognizable performer but washed up enough to be a realistic act at industry event.

The Golden Stake goes to…