Ryan Bingham pledges to stay closer to his seat at the Oscars
Ryan Bingham picked the wrong time to get a beer. The artist was ordering another round when his "The Weary Kind (Theme from 'Crazy Heart')" won best original song at the Golden Globes. But if he had a speech at the ready, he may have another chance to deliver it.
The country ballad, written with veteran artist/composer T-Bone Burnett, a previous Oscar-winner himself ("O Brother, Where Art Thou?"), was nominated Tuesday morning for the Academy Award for best original song. The cut will compete against more charming fare, including two selections from "Princess and the Frog" ("Almost There" and "Down in New Orleans"), "Take it All" from the film "Nine" and "Loin de Paname" from "Paris 36."
The Times' Chris Lee caught Bingham for a few minutes -- just as he was "starting to wake up" -- at his home in Topanga. "It's cool, man. Not a bad way to start the day," Bingham said. The full chat is below.
Q: So Scott Cooper sent you the script before you wrote the song. How’d that come about?
He had called me one day, he had heard my songs. He took me out to lunch and told me about the movie and the plan and how T-Bone would be working on the music.
Then he sent me the script: it hit on a real personal note to me, from playing music and being around those kind of characters. Everyone is familiar with someone like that. You have a friend that’s gone down that road. I started writing from there.
Q: I understand you wrote it pretty fast.
It came pretty quick. Some songs do and some don’t. Having a script and that story in front of you helps. Instead of coming off the top of your head, you have something to go off. I started describing the character in my mind. I had that personal experience to put it together with.
Q: You were at the bar when you won your Golden Globe. What’s up with that?
If you’re not famous, you have to be there four hours before everybody gets there. I’d been sitting at my table for two, three hours by that point. It’s not like you have a program in front that says what the categories are and in what order. I didn’t know what was happening next. I thought, maybe I’ll go sneak a beer real quick. And then look what happened.
Q: So presumably you won’t be at the bar when it comes time for the best song announcement.
[Laughs] I’ve been instructed to stay closer to my seat.
-- Chris Lee
Photo: Ryan Bingham in early 2008. Credit: Michael Stravato / For The Times