Forget Taylor Swift (please, can we forget Taylor Swift, for five minutes, at least?) — Joan Rivers and Jimmy Carter are the real standout names on this year’s list of Grammy nominees.
While much of the attention over the Grammy nominees list — which was revealed in piecemeal fashion on Friday — revolves around marquee names such as Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and, yes, Swift, a closer examination reveals a number of eyebrow-raisers among the sea of oh-you-agains.
The Best Spoken Word Album category offers a bevy of notables, including ubiquitous multi-hyphenate James Franco, who scored a nomination for “Actors Anonymous.” Likewise, Joan Rivers, who died in September at age 81, saw a resurrection on the list for “Diary of a Mad Diva.” (Rivers previously scored a Grammy in 1984, in the Best Comedy Album category.) Jimmy Carter, also known as the 39th president of the United States, also found a spot in the category, earning a nomination for “A Call to Action.”
Other categories also offered out-of-left-field picks. Such as folk icon Woody Guthrie, who last walked the earth in 1967 but nonetheless took away a nomination in the Best American Roots Song category for “The New York Trains.” That track, from the audiobook “My Name Is New York,” a three-CD guide to Guthrie’s New York haunts, is credited to Guthrie and Del McCoury.
And while Jack Black is best known for his work on the big screen, his joke band Tenacious D also found itself on the nominees list in the Best Metal Performance category. The group is up for an award thanks to its cover of deceased metal belter Ronnie James Dio’s “The Last in Line,” from the tribute album “Ronnie James Dio — This Is Your Life.”
Another movies-to-music transition: Spike Jonze. While Jonze’s full-time gig is behind the camera, where he’s directed numerous music videos and films such as “Being John Malkovich” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” he’s also up for a Grammy in the Best Song Written for Visual Media category for “The Moon Song,” from his film “Her.” Jonze co-wrote the song with Yeah Yeah Yeahs chanteuse Karen O.