Shocker: Best Original Song nominees will not perform

Posted by · 10:19 am · February 16th, 2010

(from left) T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham at the 2010 Golden Globe AwardsThis is a bit outrageous.  Mike Fleming is reporting at Deadline Hollywood Daily that the original song nominees will not be asked to perform the tracks on the telecast:

Explanations include that the songs never delivered ratings, and that is what this Oscarcast is all about. That not having the big production numbers will move the show along. That it will save money for distributors, who eat most of the costs (up to 7 figures) of schlepping singers in. That unless a song by Bruce Springsteen, Celine Dion, Sting or U2 were nominated, most of the worldwide audience is hearing the tune for the first time when it is sung. I mean, can anybody besides Tom Bernard or Michael Barker from Sony Pictures Classics hum a few bars of “Loin de Paname” from Paris 36?

Dear Academy: I don’t think we can possibly bend over any further.

With my own ears I have heard Shankman say the nominees are “terrible,” the indication more about what livens up a show rather than what makes for a quality original track in a film, mind you. But if you read further down Fleming’s report, you’ll see that Shankman and Mechanic have apparently considered bringing in people like Taylor Lautner and Channing Tatum to reach a younger audience, and that Shankman’s little dance choreography project may include contestants from the Fox show “So You Think You Can Dance?”  Shankman serves as a judge on the show.

Can you say conflict of interest?  And hey, the People’s Choice Awards has a lot of this stuff covered already, guys.

Who is most hurt by all of this?  In my opinion, Ryan Bingham, who was set to reach a massive new audience and perhaps kick-start his career to the next level (a level he deserves).  All of this reeks of a certain lack of creativity, too.  There are so many ways to have worked this out, any of them (certainly) more fetching than, say, Bob Dylan performing via satellite.  This has always been a nice way to break up the telecast, so at this rate, you might as well eliminate the category altogether.

But enough about what I think.  Do chime in yourself.

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75 responses so far

  • 1 2-16-2010 at 3:29 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    The history of Oscar telecasts would be a lot poorer without Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” performance. Or “Blame Canada.” Or “Falling Slowly.” And I’m picking only from my lifetime. This is an awful idea.

    And for those who say they always fast-forward the songs, or use them as a bathroom break opportunity, what difference does it make to you? Let us geeks have our fun.

  • 2 2-16-2010 at 3:30 pm

    Al said...

    Im surprised a lot of people are defending the idea. This move alone is putting into question the dignity of a branch of people that the oscars was designed to honor in the first place.

  • 3 2-16-2010 at 3:37 pm

    daveylow said...

    So it’s OK to have meaningless, unending dance numbers but not songs that are nominated? Sorry I think this will be only year Shankman and sons will be doing this show. It already sounds awful compared to last year.

  • 4 2-16-2010 at 4:00 pm

    parker said...

    Surely the Music branch is the one segment of the Oscar family that deserves to be fucked over, after all the crap they’ve put potential nominees through over the years.

    I’m only interested in Channing and Taylor presenting if they do it shirtless, cage-match style (and I’ll wager Shankman has spent a lot of time considering that as well).

  • 5 2-16-2010 at 4:07 pm

    Kel said...

    What if they have a montage of random actors (some nominees, some not) discuss what it means to act…and they choose the following 15 performers to do small sound bites…

    1) Miley Cyrus
    2) Shia LaBeouf
    3) Christopher Plummer
    4) Gabby Sidibe
    5) Sandra Bullock
    6) Mo’Nique
    7) George Clooney
    8) Taylor Lautner
    9) Paris Hilton
    10) Jeff Bridges

    Bridges, Clooney, and Plummer would be worth it and maybe even Sandra Bullock/Mo’Nique (maybe!!) but the others would be enough to get Adam Shankman off on how truly untalented he is when it comes to anything besides dancing, which is quite the overrated art.

  • 6 2-16-2010 at 4:23 pm

    Paul Outlaw said...

    Guy wrote:
    “The history of Oscar telecasts would be a lot poorer without Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” performance.”

    That year also included performances by Neil Young, Keith Carradine, Janet Jackson, and Dolly Parton & Peabo Bryson. It was kinda extraordinary.

  • 7 2-16-2010 at 4:27 pm

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    I have a terrible feeling about this year’s show… No Honourary Oscars? No Original Song performances? What next?

    I kind of hope this is a Rob Lowe/Snow White kind of bad so that Shankman and Mechanic never come anywhere near these awards ever again.

  • 8 2-16-2010 at 5:06 pm

    The Z said...

    Next thing you know it’ll be like the Grammys: only the big awards – Picture, Acting, maybe Director – will be announced during the broadcast, while all the other “uninteresting” craft categories will be handed out pre-show.

  • 9 2-16-2010 at 5:08 pm

    Gustavo H.R. said...

    The category is almost useless if compared to others, but artists do great things in movie songs every once in a while.

    Bad, bad move.

  • 10 2-16-2010 at 5:15 pm

    Pete said...


    That is just alarmist hysteria. First, the crafts represented on the AMPAS board would hardly allow such a move. The Grammys are already such a preposterous award with so many categories that you feel nauseous trying to figure them out that limiting the telecast to only the big ones makes perfect sense.

  • 11 2-16-2010 at 6:03 pm

    The Z said...

    Just a little sarcasm…

  • 12 2-16-2010 at 7:06 pm

    Jason Travis said...

    Well is there any way the academy can change their mind again if people protest?

  • 13 2-16-2010 at 7:26 pm

    Glenn said...

    Ugh, what a terrible idea. Sure, the song presentation last year was a disaster, but all three were good songs and deserved proper representation. And now that the nominees are going to almost always be very much relevant to the movies they appear in (none of this Diane Warren credits ballad nonsense) it lends the category much more legitimacy. And, sure, some may think the category is bad and use it as a bathroom break, but it serves as a way of giving the audience a bit of a break from the nonstop back-patting and throws in a bit of variety entertainment.

    This year’s set of nominees if one of the strongest in a very long time so why get rid of it now? If the category was “terrible” then the music branch would have nominated 2 songs (or none, since they have the power to do that), but they didn’t. There are FIVE nominees, making it a strong year and they wanna get rid of it NOW?

    Marion Cotillard – if they could get her – performing “Take it All” live on stage could have been one of those magic moments that people talk about. “The Weary Kind” reaching a new audience, some spectacular “Princess and the Frog” routines that recall the Oscar performances from “Under the Sea” and “Beauty and the Beast”.

    If they must get a “Twilight” person, why not Kristen Stewart? Sure, she’s got the personality of a sack of potatoes, but at least she’s an actress. She’s been in movies that nearly got Picture nominations (“Into the Wild”), box office hits (“Panic Room”) and indie movies. Taylor Lautner is a model more than anything else.

  • 14 2-16-2010 at 8:19 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    I never expect much from the Academy Awards. Certainly will not this year.

  • 15 2-16-2010 at 9:12 pm

    Danny said...

    They better at the very least show clips of the songs being performed in the movies when the category is being called, clips long enough to give a good enough sense of the song and its use in the movie. In fact, I want a clip giving a fair enough glimpse of the nominated work for every category, but for the song category they can make it last longer (20-30seconds).

  • 16 2-16-2010 at 10:54 pm

    colby said...

    very disappointed with where this is all heading…and it’s a major shame to drop the songs…like Kris said, might as well drop the category, that’s no more of a slap in the face than this

  • 17 2-17-2010 at 12:47 am

    The Other James D. said...

    At the very least, perhaps they could ask the winner to perform their song upon accepting their award, following the speech? Just kinda feel sad for Marion Cotillard, who keeps getting screwed this season.

    And for what it’s worth, Tatum deserves a breakthrough. I recall the hot mess that was A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints and being stunned by his terrific performance. I’m eager to see The Stanford Prison Experiment and hope it turns out well.

  • 18 2-17-2010 at 3:59 am

    Eddie22 said...

    I think this is great news, the singing part is usually boring and brings everything to a halt (actually, any song or dance routine in the Oscars does that). The only exception was last year when A.R. Rahman and John Legend got into a cool riff with the nomenated songs (the former sang Jai Ho while the latter joined in), but last year had the benefit of only 3 nominees and songs that, while not great, were more catchy.

  • 19 2-17-2010 at 6:32 am

    Derek said...

    I guess Beyoncé wasn’t available to sing them this year.

  • 20 2-17-2010 at 12:49 pm

    Sergiu said...

    I guess I will skip the broadcast then. The only interesting thing was Marion Cotillard performing, but if she’s not singing then there’s no reason for me to watch it live. The movies that I love (Fantastic Mr Fox, A Serious Man or Up in the Air) doesn’t seem to have many chances either.

  • 21 2-17-2010 at 2:20 pm

    Maxim said...

    Stupid decision. I am not a fan at all.

  • 22 2-17-2010 at 6:11 pm

    Al said...

    I strongly suggest to everyone devastated to annoy the hell out of Shankman via twitter. If we do it enough, well, who knows what could happen.

  • 23 2-17-2010 at 7:51 pm

    Marshall1 said...

    First, I wonder did Shankman and the other guy are pressured to get higher ratings or is it their “smart” idea? If it is their own ideas, I think they are really stupid and classless. It almost seems like Shankman is only here to promote his show. Yes, I love SYTYCD and I think dance should make a big comback, but NOT from the expense of he Oscars!

    Also, I think part of the reason they cut the songs is because the last few Oscars, the performances seem put together last minute. Robin Williams South Park number is well-rehearsed, it’s funny, it’s NOT just put together. I think instead of having dancers, maybe they can link the songs into one medly with dancers and scenarios so it would feel like a performance, or a scene from an opera/musical. If I can imagine that, why couldn’t Shankman?

  • 24 3-06-2010 at 5:24 am

    le duff pascal said...

    From the acclaimed director of Hairspray, Cheaper by the Dozen 1 and 2 ; The Pacifier ; Bringing Down the House and The Wedding Planner, a decision as smart as writing, directing and watching those dreadful comedies. I totally endorse what Guy Lodge writes here. This year we could have heard Dr John, Marion Cotillard, a French song ( remember the look on Bill Murray’s face the year Triplettes de Belleville were nominated for song ? ) and that wonderful Weary Kind ( what a song, so meaningful in the movie ). First, the honorary Oscars ( Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman who will thus never get on that stage and dp Gordon Willis ) and now the best song award. People who find those shows too long should get early to bed and let us watch them for 3h30 if we feel like it. If you are bored, look a t the reviews the following day and let us enjoy our boredom. We don’t watch Superbowl ( at least I don’t ), don’t watch the Academy Awards… What next, cutting the clips from movies released this year or endless jokes from exhausted comedians. Nope, that won’t happen. But beware, directors and producers from documentaries, short movies and movies in a Foreign language, you may be next. Especially if Dennis Dugan, another respected director gets to produce the Oscars next year. If you are a member of the committee that decides who will be producer of the show, please understand that previous statement is a joke. Well, that being said, I thought the choice of Adam Shankman was. I may not have been wrong then…