AMPAS says there might not be an original song presentation

Posted by · 12:39 pm · June 26th, 2009

A.R. Rahman at the 81st annual Academy AwardsThe headline is slightly misleading, but not entirely untrue.  Following Wednesday’s big shake-up regarding the addition of five more slots in the Best Picture category (which has spurred considerable debate in John’s column today), the Academy has issued this press release indicating that, if no song receives the agreed-upon score minimum, then the category will be nixed for that year and an Oscar for Best Original Song will not be presented.

The release, in part:

The governors approved the Music Branch Executive Committee recommendation that if no song achieves a minimum average score of 8.25 in the nominations voting, there be no original song nominees and thus no Oscar presented for the category. If only one song achieves the required minimum, it and the song with the next highest score will be deemed the nominees. If two or more songs achieve the minimum score, they will be the nominees though no more than five nominees can be selected. Previously, the rules dictated that there be no more than five but no fewer than three nominees in the category.

So, in a nutshell, there could be two, three, four, five or zero nominees for Best Original Song this year.  It all depends on how the increasingly troubled music branch decides various songs impact the films in play.  This still wouldn’t have saved Bruce Springsteen’s “The Wrestler,” which unfortunately played on black for the first minute or so pre-credits in the film and, therefore, wasn’t deemed a proper marriage of music and imagery.  Bollocks.

Other modifications of the rules include normal date changes and minor “housekeeping” changes, according to the press release.

→ 15 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

15 responses so far

  • 1 6-26-2009 at 1:11 pm

    Lance said...

    Great change! There are so many problems with this category. For instance, how can we be sure that the songwriter wrote the song for the movie? Stevie Wonder won for “I Just Called to Say I Love You” and he later admitted that he didn’t write it for the film.

    Also, many songs have been nominated and/or won that didn’t really have that much of an impact of the film – many have but many haven’t.

    I would much prefer to have categories for stunts and voice overs before keeping this category.

  • 2 6-26-2009 at 1:35 pm

    brian said...

    I thought this was already the rule? It seemed like they alternated between 3 and 5 songs pretty liberally.

  • 3 6-26-2009 at 1:41 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Not that liberally — only 3 times in the last 60-plus years (before which they had numerous nominees) have they reduced the slate to 3 nominees. But yeah, this isn’t a very dramatic change.

    As long as AMPAS are nipping and tucking this week, can’t they do something about Best Foreign Language Film? There’s one category that actually needs revision — and not the feeble bandage-on-a-broken-arm measures they took last year.

  • 4 6-26-2009 at 1:42 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Well I imagine there will be times when no song qualifies enough for the score, so the potential for a year without the category is, I think, pretty dramatic.

  • 5 6-26-2009 at 2:07 pm

    Patryk said...

    Question: Does anyone know who chooses which film is to represent a certain country? I still don’t know how an individual, a government or any other group can make such a decision. Let’s say 2 outstanding films emerge from Sweden this year, and nothing worth viewing is submitted by France; how fair is that? It seems the film or director should be receiving the accolade, not the country itself. This policy in itself is laughable, and that is why this category needs a complete overhaul.

  • 6 6-26-2009 at 2:13 pm

    red_wine said...

    Foreign Language category is a big concern. 1 film per country should be scrapped, but really what can we suggest, academy members already have their hands full with so many American movies. This judging thing is actually a thing that they do on the side-lines, not full time like critics, naturally the results are better on the critics’ side.

    Foreign language films should have their own branch like Animated and Documentary branch, and should be perhaps excluded from general voting along with Shorts and the Documentaries since I’m sure most don’t see all 5 nominees(some not even 1) and just vote or perhaps skip that category.

  • 7 6-26-2009 at 2:26 pm

    Lance said...

    Yeah, I agree with the Foriegn Language film category. I finally saw “Departures” yesterday and although I haven’t seen all the films from last year, it defintely didn’t deserve it over “Gomorra” or “The Class”

  • 8 6-26-2009 at 2:32 pm

    JP said...

    This is ridiculous. As a composer, I’ve found the slow murder of this category offensive. In addition to the terrible way the music categories have been presented over the last ten years, its a slap in the face to all the hard work that goes into one of the most under-appreciated parts of the filmmaking process.

  • 9 6-26-2009 at 3:53 pm

    A.J said...

    How come this category is the only one that you need a score? How about everyone is judged! We could do it like the emmys! Top ten popular vote actresses and they’re graded from 0-10. Nominees can be anywhere from 2-5! Yeah! We should do that! *rolls eyes*

  • 10 6-26-2009 at 5:44 pm

    AdamL said...

    Why not just kill the category. It ain’t the grammys.

  • 11 6-26-2009 at 6:01 pm

    JP said...

    AdamL – Why not kill the costume category, this isn’t the fashion awards?

    Since silent films and piano players, music has always played an important part of the film experience. With quite a few musicals coming out this year (with, I’m guessing, a handful of new songs) and Disney’s first hand drawn animated musical in some time – it would be unfortunate for the artists who worked hard on this important part of the film process to be slighted because the Academy decided to make the process ridiculously complicated.

  • 12 6-26-2009 at 7:11 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    So 5 less nominees for Best Song leaves room on the Downloadable PDF ballot for the 5 additional BP nominees.

  • 13 6-27-2009 at 1:49 pm

    The Dude said...

    I’m curious as to how this plays out. On the one hand, it seems AMPAS is trying to weed out songs that don’t have a high enough caliber, making the award more prestigious (which I kinda understand). While I do like the category, let’s face it: not every year that we actually get a good song winner.

    But on the other hand, we know that it’s sometimes difficult to get the Academy to actually LISTEN to the songs that are eligible. It seems to me, now, that if AMPAS just doesn’t listen to some of the songs, they’ll have an excuse to do away with the award for that year. I think they’re making a “legitimate” excuse to not present an award if, in a particular year, they get lazy and don’t give the potential nominees a thorough listen.

  • 14 6-29-2009 at 5:55 am

    G1000 said...

    The problem isn’t the category. They always choose the wrong songs, that’s the issue. “When Your Mind’s Made Up” from “Once” should have been nominated instead of “Raise It Up” or “Happy Working Song”, for instance. ANd the Foreign Film category is just messed up.

  • 15 2-24-2010 at 10:28 pm

    Milt Skelton said...

    I think there was alot of discussion when “An Inconveniant Truth” won best original song over three songs from “Dream Girls”. That somehow the votes got split three ways hurting Dream Girls chances. An Oscar for best song would have helped DG alot more than it did AIT. In the end, the Oscars are a bingo game and an ad campaign rolled into one.