Ways the Academy blew it, episode #4,623

Posted by · 8:56 am · January 30th, 2009

Bruce SpringsteenI haven’t really dug into the stinging Bruce Springsteen snub from eight days ago properly yet, but really, how off-the-mark could the Academy possibly be?  Not that the membership considers itself in the business of appearing relevant, but The Boss just played in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.  He’s got a new album out as of Tuesday (though admittedly one of his weakest to date).  He’ll be performing in front of one of the largest audiences in the country tomorrow.

Oh yeah, and his song was clearly the best “original song” from a movie this year.  One that combines the ethos of the central character and the performer in such a way that its existence over a credit roll simply shouldn’t have been a factor.

Way to miss the boat.

Of course, I thought this was going to be his second Oscar.  And maybe I’m biased, since I worship at Springsteen’s altar.  I’ve seen him play four times, once in London, and the guy simply puts on the best show in rock and roll.

This would have been a fine way to prove yourself in the groove of what’s now, fresh, tangible.  I love the nomination of “O…Saya,” mind you.  I think it’s a much, MUCH better choice than “Jai Ho” (which never spoke to me), and of the nominees, the M.I.A./A.R. Rahman track is, I feel, the best of the lot.  And it’s hard to argue with “Down to Earth,” the likely winner (I’d imagine), but good lord.

Am I alone here?

→ 22 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

22 responses so far

  • 1 1-30-2009 at 9:21 am

    Chris said...

    I know I’m probably in a minority, but I prefer “Down to Earth”, but “The Wrestler” probably comes in second place. It’s a hell of a song, which perfectly summarizes the film – and in doing thus I think it’s worthy of a nomination even though it was playing over the title credits.

    Another song I miss in the line-up: “Dracula’s Lament”, where’s their humour gone? They did nominate “Blame Canada” after all.

  • 2 1-30-2009 at 9:26 am

    Speaking English said...

    Not a fan of “The Boss,” but even I can’t deny the brilliance of his song “The Wrestler.” I still can’t believe it wasn’t nominated… I really still can’t.

    It’s a joke, right?

  • 3 1-30-2009 at 9:42 am

    Patrick F said...

    A really horrible analogy here, but I’m going to try it anyway:
    Bruce Springsteen: Hillary Clinton as M.I.A.: Barack Obama. Springsteen represents old school liberal pessimism where M.I.A. has a more muted globalist approach of cautious optimism. Which I guess would make Sarah Palin Miley Cyrus Peter Gabriel Joe Biden.

  • 4 1-30-2009 at 10:00 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Nope, of course you’re not alone. The real insult is in reducing the amount of nominees to three, essentially saying: “Yeah, in most years we’d have thrown it a nomination, but we REALLY didn’t think it was good enough.” Bizarre.

    I don’t get “Down to Earth,” I must say. It’s so bloody earnest.

    “O … Saya” deserves it by a mile, but I reckon “Jai Ho” is gonna take this one.

  • 5 1-30-2009 at 10:17 am

    Jeremy said...

    I think it’s a great song, but I’m not lamenting its exclusion because it played over the credits. I recognize the Academy doesn’t factor that into its decision-making, so it doesn’t explain the snub, but I always prefer recognizing songs that actually complement a film rather than shepherd audiences out the door.

  • 6 1-30-2009 at 10:24 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Patrick: The last thing Springsteen represents is old school liberal pessimism. He’s one of Obama’s biggest supporters. And he’s always had a progressive slant. I don’t think that analogy, or anything political, has any business here.

    Chris: They most certainly do decide based on the credit roll, otherwise it would have been int he mix. The branch screens clips of the films with the songs included in order to cast their vote, so if your song starts on black for 15 seconds, you’re dead in the water.

  • 7 1-30-2009 at 11:06 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    So you think “Down to Earth” got by because it had a cute animated credit sequence to accompany it? Clearly, Aronofsky should have made his credits more colourful.

    Normally, I’m against closing-credit numbers winning too, but that’s because they aren’t usually as intelligently bound to the film’s themes and tone as “The Wrestler” is.

  • 8 1-30-2009 at 11:11 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Guy: Precisely. Plus, to be honest, the credit sequence in “WALL-E” DOES push the story forward a bit. But yeah, maybe Aronofsky should have shown Randy “The Ram” in heaven, wrestling before God, something like that. Cute and animated, of course.

  • 9 1-30-2009 at 12:00 pm

    Chris said...

    Kris: I’m well aware of that – that’s why I said “it’s worthy of a nomination even though it was playing over the title credits”. Maybe I was a bit unclear. So, in fact, we agree.

  • 10 1-30-2009 at 12:06 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Chris: My mistake, that comment was directed at Jeremy, actually. I had your name on the brain when I was typing I guess. Apologies.

  • 11 1-30-2009 at 12:11 pm

    Jeremy said...

    Kris: Ha, I thought you were talking to me for a second. But anyway, haven’t a number of songs won the Oscar for playing over the credits? Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” comes immediately to mind, as well as “Into the West” for “Return of the King”.

    It just seems odd that Academy voters would have excluded “The Wrestler” this year when they’ve rewarded others in the past. (I guess “The Wrestler” literally played over a still-black screen as opposed to rolling credits, but I have a hard time imagining anyone making that distinction.)

  • 12 1-30-2009 at 12:40 pm

    Andrew said...

    As a huge Bruce and Wrestler fan, I cannot believe the Academy snubbed his brilliant track.

  • 13 1-30-2009 at 1:04 pm

    Ran Dom said...

    Isn’t the SuperBowl still on February 1 – this Sunday?

    Unless today is Saturday… and the SuperBowl is tomorrow…

    But it’s Friday. Noticed the same day switch-up with the DGA post but someone beat me to it.

  • 14 1-30-2009 at 1:27 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Jeremy: Yes, closing-credit tracks frequently won in the past. They changed the voting system in 2005 to factor in the filmic context of the songs.

  • 15 1-30-2009 at 2:09 pm

    Patrick said...

    What were they thinking? “The Wrestler” is a great song from the best film of the year. Then again, they didn’t nominate Springsteen’s “Missing” from Sean Penn’s “The Crossing Guard.” What can you expect from a group that nominated those horrible “Dreamgirls” songs?

  • 16 1-30-2009 at 2:20 pm

    Dario said...

    While they were reducing the number of noiminees they should’ve considered just slashing it down to one. It’s not that I don’t believe there could be two or three songs from the same film deserving of a nomination, but surely that happening three years in a row is more than a mere coincidence?

    This year, beyond the obvious, I’m missing ‘Dracula’s Lament’, a hillarious song integral to the plot of its film and ‘Another Way to Die’ – I love the subdued orchestral feel that David Arnold adds to the more recent Bond themes.

  • 17 1-30-2009 at 2:23 pm

    Jeremy said...

    You know the worst part about the omission of “Dracula’s Lament”? It would have been performed live at the show! Most of the live renditions of songs at the Oscars are absolute bores, but I can absolutely envision Jason Segel & Co. pulling out all the stops for a kickass rendition of that number, maybe even complete with puppets. Maybe that’s blown opportunity #4,624.

  • 18 1-30-2009 at 3:25 pm

    Neel Mehta said...

    Here’s your analogy.

    Bruce Springsteen: Best Song:: Michael Crabtree: Heisman.

    (For those unfamiliar with college football, the Heisman Trophy was limited to 3 finalists instead of the normal 4-6.)

    The problem isn’t who did get nominated, but the number of nominees. Why limit a field of 50+ eligible songs to 3 slots? There’s no harm in having a 4th and 5th nominee.

    I know, time constraints, but general audiences would much rather see Springsteen, Segel, or even Cyrus than a couple of extra Chuck Workman film montages.

  • 19 1-30-2009 at 4:37 pm

    Isaac Richter said...

    I said this before in another post, but apparently very few people are catching on to this (if any) but Springsteen won the Golden Globe for his song. In the 90’s, that may have been an assured Oscar, but in the last five years it’s been the kiss of Death for any son’g Oscar chances. The last five winners at the Globes were “Old Habits Die Hard” from Alfie, “A Love that will Never Grow Old” from Brokeback Mountain (which wasn’t even eligible that year), “The Song of the Heart” from Happy Feet, “Guaranteed” front Into the Wild, and now “The Wrestler”, and none of these songs got Oscar nominations (which is why I was somewhat relieved “Falling Slowly” didn’t get a Globe nomination last year). I don’t know what it is with this category between the Academy and the Globes. I thought maybe they would nominate “The Wrestler” since it truly was one of the best songs of the year (I’m a big fan of “Down to Earth” and “Jai Ho” though), but apparently they have this thing where they just can’t nominate the song that won the Globes (which in some cases was just ludicrous). So, I think I’m going to consider that for the next few years, if a song wins a Golden Globe, it will not get an Oscar nomination.

  • 20 1-30-2009 at 9:19 pm

    Andy said...

    Echoing Neel’s remarks, I have to ask why there were only 3 slots this year, too….

    There are 5 nominees almost every year…is anyone familiar enough with the rules & regulations to explain why they would only allow 3 this year? Is there a minimum number of votes required for a nomination? Did Springsteen simply not have the support? Just curious, because this snub stung much worse to me than The Dark Knight’s….

  • 21 1-30-2009 at 10:17 pm

    Glenn said...

    The judging committee watches clips of all eligible songs in the context of the movie and gives them a grade out of 10. If they don’t score 8.5 or above they don’t get nominated. I guess this year only three songs made the cut off. But, honestly, I wish this category was 3 nominees EVERY year. So many useless nominations nowadays. Did you see the entire eligible song list? A good 40 of them were dreadful.

    I keep using this theory to comfort myself whenever I get annoyed at Bruce’s exclusion (he is God after all) and I posted it in another entry but I don’t know what one.

    The song “The Wrestler” actually feels like it could appear on a Bruce Springsteen album whether the film existed or not. Springsteen routinely uses the themes of the song in his music so it’s not that far of a stretch to believe the voters branch felt like it was merely a Springsteen album track thrown onto the end. Whereas “Down the Earth” – another credits only track – wouldn’t exist at all without “Wall-E” and the song is specifically referencing to the movie. So while “The Wrestler” is the same in that regard, it doesn’t have the uniqueness of “Down the Earth”. Er, make sense? I’m still pissed that “The Wrestler” missed, but… yeah. The Academy weren’t particularly knowing this year about a lot of things.

    I am looking forward to seeing M.I.A. perform on stage though.

  • 22 1-30-2009 at 10:34 pm

    andrew said...

    Agreed about O…Saya, much better than Jai Ho, in fact the more I listen to Jai Ho, the more I want to break something