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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 January 2019

Radiohead's Thom Yorke asks for an Oscar, but very politely

Singer canvases for votes during appearance at LA's Orpheum Theatre

GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Thom Yorke from Radiohead performs on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival site at Worthy Farm in Pilton on June 23, 2017 near Glastonbury, England. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is the largest greenfield festival in the world. It was started by Michael Eavis in 1970 when several hundred hippies paid just £1, and now attracts more than 175,000 people. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
GLASTONBURY, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Thom Yorke from Radiohead performs on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival site at Worthy Farm in Pilton on June 23, 2017 near Glastonbury, England. Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts is the largest greenfield festival in the world. It was started by Michael Eavis in 1970 when several hundred hippies paid just £1, and now attracts more than 175,000 people. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is on the recently announced shortlist of potential nominees for the Best Original Song Oscar, for his track Suspirium from the soundtrack to Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake, and he’s taking the direct marketing approach to publicising his award bid.

Appearing on stage at LA’s Orpheum Theatre on Thursday, Yorke explained to his audience that, statistically, there were probably a couple of Academy voting members in the venue's sold-out, 2,000 capacity crowd and politely pleaded: “Can you, like, vote for me?” Yorke then went on to play the track, describing it as “the only soundtrack I’ve done.”

The Radiohead frontman was performing at one of the final dates of a belated US tour to promote his 2014 solo album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes. He joins his bandmate Johnny Greenwood on the Oscars trail. Greenwood was nominated at this year’s awards for his soundtrack to Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Phantom Thread.

It’s been a busy few days for Radiohead. Yorke’s Oscars nod comes hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that the band would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame next year, along with unlikely bedfellows Def Leppard and Stevie Nicks.

Such mainstream recognition is quite an achievement for a band that famously reacted to the widespread acclaim, and stratospheric sales, of its 1997 prog-rock opus OK Computer, held by many to be the greatest album in history, by abandoning guitars and delivering an experimental electronic work for their follow-up album, 2000’s Kid A.

They have since existed largely on the fringes of popular music, while successfully retaining a huge global fan base, eschewing major record labels and self-releasing regular experimental works. The juggling act is probably made a lot easier by the royalties from that circa-five million selling 1997 album.

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