When the list of 75 contenders making up the 2013 Annual Academy Awards For Best Original Song shortlist surfaced last September, it contained a large amount of promising talent that could have thrust one of the film industry’s most coveted awards into the hands of a deserving musician.

Following Trent Reznor taking home the much prized little golden man in 2011 for his work with Atticus Ross on the score for David Fincher’s The Social Network, the idea of a musician getting an Oscar didn’t seem such an outrageous concept. And given last year’s debacle, where the ‘Best Original Song’ category contained only two nominees – with the gong going to Flight of the Conchords’ Bret McKenzie for ‘Man or Muppet’ from The Muppets – the Oscars could have used a bit of cred from the music world.

Among the list of 75 names in the shortlist, likely contenders to bag the trophy included Neil Finn for ‘Song of the Lonely Mountain’, his contribution to Peter Jackson’s continuation of the Lord of the Rings mythos:  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. But the New Zealand treasure has been snubbed, along with a list of credible acts like The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, and Fiona Apple, in favour of some predictably boring nominations.

As The Vulture points out, the final five nominations eligible for the ‘Best Song’ category are – save perhaps for Adele’s 007 number, ‘Skyfall’ – a yawn-inducing collection. Competing with the British songstress’ Bond theme is J. Ralph’s ‘Before My Time’ from the documentary Chasing Ice, ‘Pi’s Lullaby’ from Canadian film composer Mychael Danna, written for Ang Lee’s odds-on winner Life Of Pi; as well as the new tune written for the screen version of Les Misérables, ‘Suddenly’, and Seth ‘Family Guy‘ McFarlane’s ‘Everybody Needs A Best Friend’ (written with Walter Murphy) from buddy comedy Ted.Neil Finn has been snubbed, along with a list of credible acts like The Black Keys, Arcade Fire, and Fiona Apple, in favour of some predictably boring nominations.
Billboard reports that McFarlane himself announced the full list of nominees alongside actress Emma Stone at the Academy’s Oscar headquarters last Thursday 10th January, alongside the complete list of nominations for the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

‘Skyfall’ is now the odds-on favourite to take out the category, with Adele’s song being one of four the Sam Mendes-helmed Bond film received, with Thomas Newman’s score also up for nomination in the ‘Best Original Score’ category. A win for the UK singer would also be the first time a James Bond movie has won the award, despite four nominations in its 50 year history.

Among the long list of acts that didn’t make the final cut in the ‘Best Song’ category are Rick Ross’ contribution to Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming homage to the Spaghetti Western, Django Unchained, named ‘100 Black Coffins’; and the similarly stylish Black Keys and RZA collaboration ‘Baddest Man Alive‘, taken from RZA’s directorial debut, kung-fu love letter The Man With The Iron Fists.

Others notable misses were Arcade Fire’s ‘Abraham’s Daughter’, which appeared in tween sensation The Hunger Games, Karen O’s ‘Strangle Love’ from Tim Burton’s latest film Frankenweenie, Fiona Apple’s “Dull Tool” from Judd Apatow’s This Is 40; and a collaboration between The Bootleggers and Emmylou Harris for ensemble cast gangster flick Lawless (which Nick Cave wrote the screenplay for, as well as the score with long-term collaborator and fellow Bad Seed, Warren Ellis).

Fans of the perpetually shirtless Matthew McConaughey will no doubt be tearing up their betting stubs also, with the Hollywood hearthrob’s ‘Ladies of Tampa’ (from Magic Mike) also missing out at a position at the final table of eligible nominees.

Neil Finn’s absence from the final five is perhaps the biggest upset however, the kiwi’s epic campfire tune ‘Song of the Lonely Mountain’ was a fitting part of director Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth, and considering his esteemed Lord of the Rings trilogy’s penchant for steamrolling Oscar ceremonies past, it’s a shame that Finn’s original song missed out at a shot at the category.

The Academy has become notorious for unpopular decisions in recent years however, as shown by the safe, predictable list, but at least they managed to avoid givin landmines like Owl City’s ‘When Can I See You Again?’ (from Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph) and Keith Urban’s ‘For You’ (from Act Of Valour) from the list.

The statuettes for the Oscars will be handed out at the 85th Annual Academy Awards on 24th February.

85th Annual Academy Award Nominations For Best Original Song

J. Ralph – ‘Before My Time” from Chasing Ice
Mychael Danna – “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life Of Pi
Seth McFarlane and Walter Murphy – “Everybody Needs A Best Friend” from Ted
Adele – “Skyfall” from Skyfall
Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil – “Suddenly” from Les Misérables