In a night full of memorable moments and unusual victories at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards, perhaps the most surreal came when Nine Inch Nails founder Trent Reznor walked on stage (accompanied by working partner Atticus Ross) to accept the award for Best Original Score – Motion Picture. Even Reznor himself was sort of shocked — shortly after accepting the award, he tweeted, “Holy s—!”
His victory was curious and thrilling for a number of reasons. First, the original music he contributed to “The Social Network” — the almost-true story of the founding of Facebook, adapted by fellow Golden Globe winner Aaron Sorkin and directed masterfully by David Fincher — is not your typical film score. Comprised mostly of moody interludes and no real themes, it doesn’t so much propel the film as compliment the on-screen action with splashes of moody undertones and mysterious noises.
But it was even more surprising to see Reznor accept the award because of his crazy musical legacy. Though he has obviously evolved quite a bit since the release of his first album Pretty Hate Machine more than two decades ago, Reznor’s roots are firmly planted in the raging, computer-assisted aggression of his early industrial rock sound. Pretty Hate Machine, which just got a very fancy deluxe reissue treatment, taps into the darker echelons of Reznor’s soul and the jagged darkness that creeps into his worldview. Of course, his work has evolved quite a bit, becoming even deeper, more complicated and — yes — more cinematic over time.
So we congratulate Reznor on his victory (an Oscar cannot be far behind), and we pay tribute to how he got his start: 1989’s “Down In It,” his first single from back in the day. You’ve come a long way, sir. Keep evolving.