Randy Newman leads the nominees in the music categories  for the 82nd annual Academy Awards, thanks to his two nominees in the original song category for his contributions to the soundtrack for Disney's "The Princess and the Frog."
Newman previously won the Oscar for original song in 2002 for "If I Didn't Have You" from Pixar's "Monsters, Inc." Since his first nomination in 1982, he has been nominated an additional 16 times for an Oscar in either the song or original score categories.
T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham, who won the Golden Globe this year for "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" also were nominated in the best song category. "I've been trying not to think about it at all - I've been trying not to get caught up in awards season," Burnett said. "But despite trying really hard to not get caught up in it-I'm just thrilled."
And while it's yet to be determined how the best song nominees will be presented at the Oscars, Bingham is looking forward to the opportunity to play the song live in front of a worldwide TV audience that's estimated at 1 billion people. "That would be a big gig," he laughs.
Maury Yeston, who was nominated for "Take It All" the Marion Cotillard-performed song from "Nine," said he was honored to have his Golden Globe and Oscar nominations split between two of his songs from the film. (He received a Globe nomination for "Cinema Italiano" performed by Kate Hudson.) "I've spent my life's work in the theater, so to have one song singled out by the Globes and another by the Academy for the first time out is so meaningful," he said. "I feel so deeply honored because of the distinction of being put alongside the other wonderful songs and writers in this category. That, in itself is a real award - music really isn't a race. No one ever complained 'There's too much good music.'"
The complete list of best original song nominees are:
Music (Original Song)
"Almost There" from "The Princess and the Frog" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
"Down in New Orleans" from "The Princess and the Frog" Music and Lyric by Randy Newman
"Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36" Music by Reinhardt Wagner Lyric by Frank Thomas
"Take It All" from "Nine" Music and Lyric by Maury Yeston
"The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)" from "Crazy Heart" Music and Lyric by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett
For original score nominee James Horner, his nomination for James Cameron's "Avatar" is a bit of déjà vu all over again: he won the original score and original song Oscar in 1998 for his work on Cameron's "Titanic." In total, he's been nominated for 10 Oscars in his career-but he never prepares a speech for the ceremony. "I think it jinxes it," he said. "Somebody someplace is saying 'Hey kid, whaddya think you need that speech for – are you expecting something big? I don't think so.' I don't mess with karma."
Alexandre Desplat received his third Oscar nomination for the score for "Fantastic Mr. Fox"; he was previously nominated for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and "The Queen." "It's the crème de la crème: the best composers, the best actors the best directors - I couldn’t be more excited," he said from his home in Paris. "We tried to make these little animals alive with music - it was very special."
Marco Beltrami received his second Oscar nomination and Buck Sanders his first for their score for "The Hurt Locker." "I knew the movie would get lots of nominations, but this is unexpected," Sanders said. "It's such an unusual film because it's not really about the Iraq war, but about the setting for a gruesome adrenaline junkie mentality. We got some comments after the film came out that people were surprised that the score wasn't huge drums-but we never even thought that was a possibility."
Beltrami - who received his previous nomination in 2008 for "3:10 to Yuma" was already up at 5:30 a.m. when he got the call about the nomination. "I had taken a hike on Sunday with some friends and I got into some poison oak and I couldn't sleep," he laughs.
The complete list of best original score nominees are:
Music (Original Score)
"Avatar" - James Horner
"Fantastic Mr. Fox" - Alexandre Desplat
"The Hurt Locker" - Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
"Sherlock Holmes" - Hans Zimmer
"Up" - Michael Giacchino
For the 2009 Oscars, the music section rules were changed in the best song category, which made it ever so slightly easier for a song to be nominated. For a song to be nominated this year, it required an 8.25 average from the music branch nominations committee-on a scale of 6 to 10-this is down from an 8.5 average the previous year. (If no songs averaged 8.25 this year, there wouldn't have been a best original song category.) This comes on the heels of just three songs being nominated for 2008 - two of which were from "Slumdog Millionaire," including eventual winner "Jai Ho."
The songs are rated after a day-long Music Branch viewing binge in which the voters watch clips of each song in context of the film; this has led to an increase in nominations for songs that are presented during the course of a narrative and a marked decrease in nominations for songs that are presented during the end credits.
Overall, "Avatar" and "The Hurt Locker" lead with nine nominations each-and for the first time since 1943, ten films were nominated for best picture. It's a change to the Academy rules that has been called an attempt to include more off-kilter films by some-or a blatant attempt to boost ratings, trade magazine ad revenues and box office by others. All will be revealed when the 82nd annual Academy Awards are telecast on March 7 on ABC.