Eligibility of Burwell’s ‘Grit’ score still up in the air

Posted by · 5:55 pm · December 1st, 2010

Anne Thompson is reporting in her “True Grit” review that Carter Burwell’s score from the film is ineligible for Academy consideration due to elements being based on hymns of the period.  However, this is not official, first and foremost because the score hasn’t even been submitted to the Academy’s music branch yet.

I’m told there are 22 minutes of original score in the film and that the score submitted to AMPAS will have 29 tracks on it.  There are six hymns on the commercial soundtrack release, but those obviously won’t be included in the submission.

Also worth pointing out is there are no rules regarding length of original material.  In 2006 “Babel” had about 20 minutes of original score from composer Gustavo Santaolalla and it won the Oscar.

I’m also told the music department at Paramount broke the score down to a roughly 50/50 percentage between the 22 minutes of original material and the hymn adaptations.  But the point is there is no official ruling yet and the score’s eligibility, if anything, is still up in the air.

Now, it’s entirely possible that the committee determining eligibility will decide that the hymn adaptations cause the original work to be “diluted by the use of tracked themes or other preexisting music,” as outlined in rule 16E of the Academy’s rules and eligibility literature.  You’ll remember the same rule sticking in Jonny Greenwood’s craw in 2007.  But we’ll have to wait and see.

My personal opinion is that the original material gives the film an identity even if the instrumental hymn music adds to that flavor.

[Photo: Paramount Pictures]

→ 13 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

13 responses so far

  • 1 12-01-2010 at 6:03 pm

    Maxim said...

    I only hope that, if eligible, this situation brings much needed amount of attention to this score and maybe causes the music branch to pay a little more attention to the music.

  • 2 12-01-2010 at 6:30 pm

    Drew said...

    I’m kind of surprised by how quickly Ann dismissed it’s eligibility in her review.

  • 3 12-01-2010 at 7:12 pm

    James C said...

    Be nice to see Burwell finally get a nomination.

  • 4 12-02-2010 at 1:01 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    My god, that Santaolalla win was still so ridiculous. But this is what happens when you do get nominated while using so many olde cues. Most of the voters don’t know about that so they’ll still vote for you.

  • 5 12-02-2010 at 3:21 am

    Harmonica said...

    What about Clint Mansell’s score for Black Swan? What’s the word on that and its eligibility?

  • 6 12-02-2010 at 5:00 am

    John said...

    “this is not official, first and foremost because the score hasn’t even been submitted to the Academy’s music branch yet.”

    The deadline for music and song was December 1st, so if they didn’t submit the score it’s ineligible.

  • 7 12-02-2010 at 5:06 am

    Graysmith said...

    The music branch of the Academy is a joke. It’s understandable that scores that borrow too much would be ineligible, but many of the greatest scores of the year have gotten snubbed because of their rather unbalanced rulings, not to mention their unwillingness to step out of their comfort zone. The Social Network and Tron Legacy have some of the finest scores of the year, yet there’s basically a snowball’s chance in hell they’ll be nominated. Black Swan is probably ineligible if it borrows too much from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, and now Burwell’s score for True Grit might go under the axe too.

    And what about Inception, about it using a slowed down cue from the Edith Piaf song? Wouldn’t surprise me if they deem that ineligible as well (although Zimmer is in the club so he might get a pass others wouldn’t).

  • 8 12-02-2010 at 6:15 am

    N8 said...

    This doesn’t sound good to me. The music branch also shafted him and Karen O last year for what I thought was the year’s best score. I’d hate to see him arbitrarily disqualified two years in a row.

  • 9 12-02-2010 at 6:26 am

    Mike Smolinski said...

    All the more reason the Academy should bring back the Adapted Score category. There’s Original and Adapted Screenplays, why not Original and Adapted Scores? Not jukebox scores, of course, but adapted scores where the composer/arranger actually adjusts and revises previously recorded music to fit the mood and style of the new film.

  • 10 12-02-2010 at 8:27 am

    Keil Shults said...

    If anyone can tell me why the following scores weren’t nominated, please do. If it was merely because they weren’t chosen, just mention the title and put “Not Chosen.” If the score was ineligible, label it as such. And if you happen to know why it wasn ineligible, that would be great too. And yes, I realize that with some creative googling I can probably find the answers, but I thought some people on a site like this might already know the answers. Thanks!


    Waking Life

    The Fountain

    The Proposition

    The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford

  • 11 12-02-2010 at 11:51 am

    Dignan said...

    I’m worried about The Social Network’s eligibility (not that it really stands a chance of being nominated) as a couple of the tracks are tweaked version of tracks from the Ghosts album. This voting branch is in serious need of an overhaul.

  • 12 12-03-2010 at 3:50 pm

    average joe said...

    Well, the academy hasn’t been smart enough to recognize Burwell before, so why start now?

    The Assassination of Jesse James score was ruled ineligible.(http://incontention.com/2008/05/26/could-two-potentially-great-film-scores-get-the-ampas-shaft-this-year/)
    The Fountain was just not chosen, as hard as that is to believe. I personally think it was the best score of the decade.
    Not sure about the others.