The lead vocalist from “the second-biggest band in Ireland” is up for an Oscar.

The nominations for the 80th Academy Awards unveiled by the the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today clearly loaded the dice in favor of the previous award-winning team of composer Alan Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz. The duo have written three of the five nominations for best original song this year.

They face unlikely opposition, however, from alt-rock singer/songwriter and Glen Hansard, frontman of Irish band the Frames with “Falling Slowly” from Fox Searchlight's "Once," in which Hansard also stars. The Frames have long been acknowledged as the leading rock band in Ireland behind U2.

"Howard Greynolds, our American manager, could hardly talk," says Hansard's Dublin-based manager Claire Leadbitter. "He was so excited when he phoned to tell me the news! Of course we are all delighted that the song has been nominated. It always was -- and remains -- a stand out song from Glen [and] it's marvellous to get the recognition that comes with the nomination."

The nominated song was co-written and performed with Czech pianist/vocalist Marketa Irglova, who Hansard first met in Prague while touring the Czech Republic during 2001. Hansard is published through Toby Darling Ltd. Publishing.

In the movie, Hansard plays an Irish singer-songwriter busking in Dublin who befriends a Czech immigrant flower-seller, with whom he begins working on songs -- and becomes emotionally involved.

"Once" director John Carney is an old friend of Hansard -- he was bassist in the Frames between 1991 and 1993 and played on the band's 1991 debut album "Another love Song" (Island).

The "Once" soundtrack album on Canvasback/Sony Music Soundtrax is No. 32 on the Billboard 200 this week; "Falling Slowly" was named best song by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. on Jan. 7.

The song originally appeared on the Hansard/Irglova album "The Swell Season,” which appeared in Ireland April 2006 on the Frames' own Plateau Records/RMG, hitting No. 5 on the IRMA chart. Chicago-based Overcoat Records released the album in August that year.

"Once" director John Carney is an old friend of Hansard -- he was bassist in the Frames between 1991 and 1993 and played on the band's 1991 debut album "Another love Song" (Island).

This is Hansard’s first Academy Award Nomination, but he faces strong competition from Menken and Schwartz with their three songs from the Disney animation/live action movie “Enchanted.” Those songs are: "So Close," "Happy Working Song" and "That's How You Know."

The duo previously won for best original score and best original song in 1995 with “Pochahontas and “Colors of the Wind," respectively. Also nominated this year is “Raise it Up” from Warner Bros. movie “August Rush” (nominees to be decided).

The nominees for best original score are: “Atonement” by Dario Marianelli; “Rataouille” by Michael Giacchino; “3:10 to Yuma” by Marco Beltrami; Michael Clayton” by James Newton Howard and “the Kite Runner” by Alberto Iglesias.

In other music-related Oscar news, Tim Burton's film of the Steven Sondheim musical "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (Dreamworks/Warner Bros.) picked up three nominations. The film's star Johnny Depp is nominated as best actor in a leading role, while the film also collected nods for art direction and costume design.

The Academy Awards are due to be presented in Los Angeles Feb. 24.

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