Spotlight on music at Oscars


Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova won best original song for "Falling Slowly" from "Once" and Dario Marianelli won the Oscar for original score for "Atonement" at the 80th Academy Awards on Sunday.

"This is amazing! What are we doing here? This is mad!" an exuberant Hansard said in his acceptance speech, recounting how the film was made in three weeks with two Handi-Cams and $100,000. He exhorted the audience to "Make art! Make art!"

Irglova, who was hastily played off by the orchestra at the end of Hansard's speech, was brought back out by host Jon Stewart after a commercial break with an apology, giving her the chance to finish her remarks.

"This is such a big deal, not only for us, but for all independent musicians and artists who spend so much of their time struggling," said Irglova, who plays with Hansard in the Swell Season when the latter isn't on tour with his main band, the Frames. "No matter how far out your dreams are, it's possible ... this song was written was from a perspective of hope, and at the end of the day, hope connects us all."

"I'm very lucky because I was part of a fantastic group of people who made a fantastic film," Marianelli said in his acceptance speech. It was Marianelli's first win and second Academy Award nomination, the first coming in 2005 for "Pride & Prejudice," also directed by "Atonement" director Joe Wright.

The performances of the nominated songs were kicked off by a game Amy Adams, singing "Happy Working Song" from Disney's "Enchanted." The music was composed Alan Menken, with lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, one of the three songs written by the duo that were nominated from the movie.

The Impact Repertory Theatre of Harlem, featuring the big voice of 11-year-old Jamia Simone Nash, was next with "Raise It Up" from "August Rush." Music and lyrics for the song were written by Jamal Joseph, Charles Mack and Tevin Thomas. (Nash was later brought onstage again for an impromptu game of Wii tennis with Stewart.)

The second "Enchanted" song, "That's How You Know," was performed by Kristin Chenoweth, backed up by an assortment of dancers in the evening's big stage show-style production on a faux Central Park backdrop.

Hansard and Irglova then sang "Falling Slowly" from "Once," with Irglova performing at piano and Hansard accompanying on his trusty thrashed guitar.

Wrapping up the performances was the final "Enchanted" nominee, "So Close," which was performed by Jon McLaughlin amid a ballroom of swirling princes and princesses.

Among other winners with music-related themes: "La Vie in Rose" also took home the Oscar for achievement in makeup for Didier Lavergne and Jan Archibald; best achievement in art direction went to Dante Ferretti and Freancesca Lo Schiavo for "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"; and "Peter & The Wolf," an interpretation of Sergei Prokofiev's classic composition, won for best animated short film for director and co-writer Suzie Templeton and producer Hugh Welchman.