Reznor reacted with shock and amazement after he and co-composer Atticus Ross won the Best Original Score Oscar for "The Social Network" -- Reznor's first film score, which also won a Golden Globe.
"Wow. Is this really happening?" Reznor asked during his acceptance speech. "When we finished work on 'The Social Network,' we were very proud of our work and happy to just be involved in this film, and to be standing up here in this company is humbling and flattering beyond words."
Once backstage, Reznor credited Fincher's vision in getting the music just right, specifically to capture the "iconic quality of 'Blade Runner' in its time."
"A side of my music with Nine Inch Nails was going instrumental so it was not a huge leap or stretch to try this," Reznor said of his first venture into scoring a film. "The biggest challenge was working with a picture. David Fincher knew exactly what he wanted. It was one of the best experiences of my life from start to finish.
Reznor added, "[Inception] composer, Hans Zimmer, who I've been battling at awards shows all year, told me, 'In a lot of ways, I hope you win because it's helped open up the field a bit for texture of what film scores can be.' "
Reznor's win was one of three wins for "The Social Network." "The King's Speech" was the big winner with four, taking home the Oscars for best picture, director, actor and original screenplay.
Newman, on the other hand, was characteristically self-deprecating and sarcastic when accepting the Best Original Song award, for "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3." He noted his low percentage in wins -- this was his second win in 20 nominations -- before noting how it was odd that there were only four songs up for the award. "Cinematography has five. What? They couldn't find a fifth song?," he said, without getting into the Academy's complicated rules for the category. On second thought, he cautioned, if there were five nominees that fifth one would have defeated him.
Speaking with reporters after the show had concluded, Newman called the song "not the most consequential" piece of music he has composed for a film. He went on to list the films where he thought his music added depth to a picture, singling out "A Bug's Life," "Toy Story 2," "The Natural," "Ragtime" and "Awakenings."
"Last year I knew I wouldn't win," Newman said, properly predicting a win for T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham. "This time I thought I might have a chance. I still didn't prepare [a speech]."
"Toy Story 3" won the best animated feature Oscar in addition to Newman's Best Song trophy.
Newman was among several musicians who performed abbreviated versions of the nominees for Best Song. Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine filled in for a pregnant Dido, who did not make the trip from Australia to sing "If I Rise," her and A.R. Rahman's song from "127 Hours." After Newman performed, Gwyneth Paltrow sang "Coming Home" from "Country Song," and Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi sang "I See the Light" from "Tangled" while composer Alan Menken accompanied them on piano.
In nods to the awards' musical legacy during the show, Celine Dion sang "Smile" (from the 1936 Charlie Chaplin film "Modern Times"), and PS 22's fifth grade chorus from Staten Island, N.Y., sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
Another musician won a significant Oscar, but not for anything musical. Audrey Marrs, producer of the Oscar-winning documentary "Inside Job," was keyboardist and bassist for several Pacific Northwest bands associated with the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990s. Marrs played in the band Mocket and appeared on the Bratmobile's reunion album in 2002, "Girls Get Busy."
Marrs' first film, "No End in Sight," won a special jury prize for documentaries at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the Oscar in 2008, five years after she had toured with Bratmobile.