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Trent Reznor says Oscar win boosted his ego for “maybe eighteen hours”

By | Published on Tuesday 13 November 2018

Nine Inch Nails

Trent Reznor reckons that winning an Oscar only stops you from thinking you’re “not good enough” for “maybe eighteen hours”. He’s speaking from personal experience, of course. I’m still not sure that’s true of everyone.

Speaking to Variety, he explains: “Your head spins a little bit when your first film goes on to win an Oscar. There’s nowhere to go but down from there, right? And you start to wonder – should it be, ‘fuck rock n roll! I’ve got a new lease on life that doesn’t have quite the age limit restrictions that playing in a rock band does? Should I put all my eggs in that basket? Should I take every film that comes around?'”

Of course, prior to working on ‘The Social Network’ soundtrack, which was what won Reznor and his musical partner Atticus Ross their Oscar, he had already thrown in the towel on his band life. “I did a farewell tour, ten years ago or whenever it was, and then ate my words”, he notes. “Because something about being able to step away from it gave me a fresh perspective I was lacking when it was the only thing”.

Although Reznor returned to his other musical exploits, there were plenty of offers on the table for more film work. He had worked on movie projects before, but ‘The Social Network’ saw him established as a composer of film soundtracks, and an in-demand one at that. However, he and Ross managed to keep things in perspective, he reckons.

“Lots of films were coming by”, he recalls. “It wasn’t that our egos were out of control. Because one thing about us is, as great as winning an Oscar is, the next day by lunchtime, we were back to being the same not-good-enough assholes that we were before we’d won one. It felt good for maybe eighteen hours. It was a great experience and I have a lot of respect for the institution, but it didn’t fix everything that’s wrong with our brains, and our inadequacies remained”.

Actually, he says, the award caused them to reflect more deeply on what they wanted to achieve: “It caused us to kind of think about, if we do take on more roles of scoring, are we trying to be completists? Are we trying to tick every box, to want to be able to do everything from a complicated orchestral score to a rom-com? Do we want to be journeymen, or jacks of all styles and techniques?”

I’m not a massive rom-com fan, but I would definitely watch one soundtracked by Reznor and Ross. Someone make that happen.