Mandatory movie music

The Boss hails from New Jersey, obviously. (Flickr/FromTheNorth)

There are two important Oscar categories when it comes to music: Original score, and original song. Scores are written by composers specifically for a film, with the intention of adding drama to the movie– so it’s actually the song category that’s the fun one. This is where we (sometimes) get to see our favorite artists take center stage at an otherwise pretty upscale (read: snotty) movie award show. It’s true that Disney can tend to take over; “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin” and “The Lion King” all won big in their day, but then it’s hard to argue with Alan Menken or Tim Rice. Disney is nice, but when “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” wins the Oscar for best original song, it’s kind of just…okay.

Believe it or not, some artists who truly rock have actually won Academy Awards in the past– like Bruce Springsteen (“Streets of Philadelphia,” 1993), Bob Dylan (“Things Have Changed,” 2000) and Eminem (“Lose Yourself,” 2002). YES, Eminem is an Oscar winner; we just said that. Hey, the guy deserved it, because “Lose Yourself” is an anthem. But since this year’s Oscar nominees for best song include two from Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog,” we’re not feeling very hopeful for the original song award. So instead, we offer up our thoughts on mandatory movie listening from the past 12 months. These may not be nominees next weekend, but they deserve a spot on your iPod regardless.

1. “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria, from “9″
2. “Rich Girls” by The Virgins, from “17 Again”
3. “Mushaboom” by Feist, from “(500) Days of Summer”
4. “Jesus, Etc.” by Wilco, from “Funny People”
5. “Fruit Machine” by The Ting Tings, from “He’s Just Not That Into You”
6. “Little Lover’s So Polite” by Silversun Pickups, from “Jennifer’s Body”
7. “Mike Modrak” by Michael Cera, from “Paper Heart”
8. “Ghosts” by Ladytron, from “Sorority Row”
9. “Happy Together” by Filter, from “The Stepfather”
10. “Hearing Damage” by Thom Yorke, from “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”
11. “Desolation Row” by My Chemical Romance, from “Watchmen”
12. “Blue Turning Grey” by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, from “Whip It”

We want to hear your movie playlist recommendations. Want a hint? Movies made by hip people or for teenagers, summer blockbusters and horror flicks usually have worthy soundtracks. Check out 2009′s soundtracks and get back to us with your favorites.

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