A much better year than last year.
My picks for the Best Original Songs are:
"The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart,
by T-Bone Burnett & Ryan Bingham
Much like last year's "The Wrestler", it beautifully summarizes the ache of and struggle of a bleeding soul, but unlike "The Wrestler" it is woven directly into the body of the film (to great effect), making it a more difficult target for the perpetually-questionable music branch.
"You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger"
from An Education, by Beth Rowley & Ben Castle
This sultry and aptly-worded jazz tune sweeps us up in the allure of 1960's high life, much like Jenny is in the scene where the song is performed. So smooth, so cool.
"Take It All" from Nine, by Maury Yeston
While the annoyingly out-of-place "Cinema Italiano" may be getting all the awards (thanks mostly to upbeat dance moves), this original tune is a much more relevant musical number that represents one of the truly emotive moments of the film, as Louisa Contini literally strips down to reveal her bruised and neglected heart.
"Friends on the Other Side" from The Princess and the Frog,
by Randy Newman
While other numbers from this musical (like "Down in New Orleans" and "Almost There") have justly earned awards attention, none of them are as catchy or story-serving as this jaunty ditty sung by the film's villain as he convinces our foolish protagonist to make a Faustian deal with him. "Hush..."
"Help Yourself" from Up in the Air, by Brad Smith
While stingy Academy rules make this ineligible for Oscar, I'm much more flexible when it comes to defining a song's "originality". This wonderfully acoustic track is used very effectively during a key montage in the film, and sings the truth that our central character has thus far ignored for all his life.
Just missed: "Worried Shoes" from Where the Wild Things Are, "Petey's Song" from Fantastic Mr. Fox, "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog.