The Academy has spoken, and they’ve called for rock ‘n’ roll. Today, Oscar nominees were announced and U2, Arcade Fire, and Jared Leto of Thirty Seconds To Mars will all be up for awards at the 86th Annual Academy Awards. Rock icons U2 wrote their first new song in three years, “Ordinary Love”, as tribute to the great crusader of peace Nelson Mandela. The track is featured on the soundtrack to the biopic, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom starring Idris Elba and is nominated for Best Original Song. Will Butler of Arcade Fire and long-time collaborator Owen Pallett wrote the original score for the Spike Jonze film Her, which is nominated for Best Original Score. Thirty Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto is up for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Both U2 and Jared Leto are coming off wins at the Golden Globes for the same awards in their respective categories. The Oscars air on Sunday, March 2 at 7pm ET/4pm PT on ABC.
U2 released the song on 10-inch vinyl back November 29 for Record Store Day’s Back to Black Friday. The special vinyl also included a remastered version of “Breathe”, a track off the band’s last album, 2009′s No Line On The Horizon. The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and #1 on nearly every other chart around the globe. U2 have reportedly enlisted renowned producer Danger Mouse to produce their next album, which is due out in April 2014. It will be the band’s first full-length LP in five years. U2 is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists of all time. Throughout their illustrious career, they’ve sold over 150 million albums worldwide. They have garnered 22 Grammy Awards, the most by any band in music history. In 2005, U2 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.
Leto started out as an actor, debuting in 1994 on the television drama My So-Called Life. Throughout his successful acting career, Leto has appeared in films like The Thin Red Line (1998), Urban Legend (1998), Girl, Interrupted (1999), Requiem for a Dream (2000), American Psycho (2000), and Panic Room (2002). In 1999, Leto appeared in the David Fincher masterpiece, Fight Club. In one of the underground fight scenes, star Brad Pitt’s character is making a speech, stating, “We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.” The moment Pitt says “rock stars”, he looks directly at Leto. Just one year before the film’s release, Leto formed Thirty Seconds To Mars, and the now multi-platinum outfit has gone on to sell over 10 million albums worldwide.
In May 2013, Thirty Seconds to Mars released their much-anticipated fourth studio album, Love Lust Faith + Dreams. The disc debuted at #6 on the Billboard Top 200, giving the band it’s first Top 10 hit record. Throughout their decorated career, Thirty Seconds To Mars have garnered 6 Kerrang! Awards, 1 Billboard Music Award, 1 NME Award, and 11 MTV Awards in 4 countries. Over the summer, Thirty Seconds To Mars took home the award for Best Rock Video at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards for their single, “Up In The Air”. This year’s win marks the band’s third VMA win. Throughout their career, Thirty Seconds To Mars have been nominated for twelve Video Music Awards.
Arcade Fire quickly rose to prominence with the release of their debt album, Funeral, in 2004. The album garnered massive wide-spread praise from critics and fans alike, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. The band opened a handful of shows for U2 on their Vertigo World Tour, and played several festivals in the summer of 2005 including Coachella, Reading and Leeds, and Lollapalooza. In 2007, the band released their sophomore effort, Neon Bible. It debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 200, and sold over 92,000 copies in it’s first week of sales. The band toured the world, with some North American dates being supported by LCD Soundsystem. The year 2010 brought Arcade Fire their greatest success yet with the release of their third album, The Suburbs. The disc debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and also went #1 in Ireland, Canada, and the U.K. In 2011, the album garnered awards for Album of The Year at the Juno Awards (Canada), Best International Album (BRIT Awards), and Album of The Year at the Grammy Awards. In 2012, Arcade Fire recorded the song “Abraham’s Daughter” for the soundtrack to the blockbuster film, The Hunger Games. The band also contributed original music to the film’s score. The band released their fourth album, Reflektor, in 2013. It gave the band their second-straight #1 debut on the Billboard Top 200. – by Matt Bishop (Middle Right Photos of U2 and Jared Leto – Courtesy of Paul Drinkwater/Reuters/NBC Universal)