Oscar music: Too many rules?

Jonny_lPeeps are understandably upset that Jonny Greenwood’s score for There Will Be Blood was excluded from Oscar contention. You can blame a technicality stating that scores cannot be "diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music." For the film, Greenwood composed 35 minutes of original recordings — compared to roughly 46 minutes of pre-existing work which included selections from other aritsts. (Check out Part 5-d of Rule 16 of the Academy’s rulebook for tons of details.)

Obviously, there have to be rules (this isn’t ‘Nam!), but a snub for one of the most original scores in recent memory seems especially harsh. Just this morning, PopWatch reader Kevin called Greenwood’s "the best score of the decade" (whoa), and Allibee claimed it comes "close to being an actual character of the film." And TWBB wasn’t the only glaring omission. Eddie Vedder’s work for Into the Wild couldn’t qualify for Original Score because it was too "song-based." Don’t you just hate when music sounds like music? What does that even mean?

Speaking of "rules," we’re happy Glen Hansard’s "Falling Slowly," from Once, got a Best Song nod, but some are skeptical about it because different versions of the song appeared first on The Cost, an album from Hansard’s band the Frames, and on Markéta Irglová’s solo album The Swell Season. The fact that this even needs to be pointed out, though, is as ridiculous as the exclusions mentioned above. Where do you draw the line when ideally, the real question for determining nominees should be as simple as "How great is the music in this movie?"

Also, THREE songs from Enchanted? Really?

addCredit(“Jonny Greenwood: Dave Benett/Getty Images”)

Comments (37 total) Add your comment
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  • RakuMon

    Wait, if Eddie Vedder’s “Into the Wild” was too “song based,” then why the heck didn’t he get any Best Song noms?!?!

  • AH

    The song category is meaningless. Most of the songs nominated in recent years are either played over the end credits or so obscure as to negate their importance to either filmmaking or American culture at large. If you go back through the list of best song winners, I guarantee most people will not recognize at least 50 percent of them. Let’s stop getting so upset over a category that “You light up my life” and “Let the river run” and that random Annie Lennox song won.
    And for those of you with any sort of memory, you forget that Disney owns this category. And very few of the songs in this category are ever critical to the plot. All of the Enchanted songs were.

  • Strepsi

    AH is right – and to the existing rules for “Song” I’d add:
    SONG MUST BE IN THE ACTUAL MOVIE FOR MORE THAN 1 MINUTE. SONGS OVER CLOSING CREDITS NOT ELIGIBLE. I mean, when even notable films like Lord of the Rings are cramming a pop song at the end credits SOLELY to be eligible for an Oscar this has got to stop. Especially risible in Musicals, where the “new” song (so it can be eligible) is over the credits. I call Bullsh!

  • Auriana

    There are always going to be complaints on the nominees, especially in the music categories. I think above all the others, these two categories rely mostly on personal taste in music. I don’t see what the big deal is about Enchanted being nominated for 3 songs. Personally, I love them and it’s the first time since the Lord of the Ring movies that I actually recognize and LIKE a song nominated. That being said, it’s been a dry year for me in terms of scores. I only found a handful this past year worth buying (300, PotC:At World’s End, Order of the Phoenix, Stardust and Enchanted) and only two of those have made it into my cd player for continued playing (Enchanted and Pirates…sorry HP but since Williams left you just havn’t been the same). Granted, the only score that was nominated that I’ve actually heard was Ratatouille and it didn’t leave an impression on me (loved the movie though). Again, all personal opinion. I’d have loved to see the music for 300 or PotC nominated.

  • Maddie

    Falling Slowly was deemed eligible because it was composed specifically for the film Once. After that film finished shooting, but before it was released in theaters, the song appeared on The Swell Season and The Cost. A similar eligibility question arose two years ago regarding Bird York’s song In The Deep from Crash. The song was released on her album, The Velvet Hour, before Crash hit theaters. However, in both cases, as long as the song was written initially for the film, it is allowed in the Best Original Song category.

  • Gringo

    The best song category never ceases to irk me. I simply do not understand why they are so resistant to great songs. From Alanis Morissette to Emmylou Harris. It’s time to rethink the “rules”

  • Wendy

    John Mayer was robbed. ‘Say’ is a fantastic song that summed up a crappy movie that was specifically written for it.

  • Mike

    Eddie Vedder was definitely snubbed for his great work on ITW by the excessive Enchanted nominations but I take solace in the fact that Glen Hansard will be defeating all three of them, and deservedly so. There’s no solace to be taken in the Jonny Greenwood technicality snub.

  • adam875

    Well, Alan Menken doesn’t have enough Oscars, so 3 nominations… oh wait, he has MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE ALIVE.
    It’s been years and I still can’t believe “Come What May” from Moulin Rouge wasn’t eligible because it was written for another movie… even though it was never actually USED. How does the academy even KNOW that it was written for something else if they scrapped it the first time around??

  • Ben

    As Madonna has never been nominated for her songs which defined the movies — even when the movies were crap, the songs were classic — this category has not been a serious one for me. The sheer amount of Disney pap that gets nominated is disgusting. I certainly hope “Falling Slowly” gets the award as the song is beautiful and FIT INTO THE STORY of the movie rather than being tacked on to the end. I was surprised “Ladies’ Choice” from Hairspray wasn’t nominated.

  • Rose Tyler

    So this all means that the music from Sweeney Todd can’t be nominated because it was written for the stage production, right? And all the Across the Universe music can’t because even though sang by different people they are Beatles songs, correct? Same with the song at the end of Juno. Ok so now I can almost see why Enchanted got 3 nods. Almost. But where is “Pop Goes My Heart”? Who wouldn’t want to see Hugh Grant shake his thing on live TV, if there is a telecast!?

  • Bear

    Maybe I’m just too accepting…but if a song’s in a movie (for a legitimate length of time) then it should be eligible for nomination. It’s also disgusting to me that movies made from earlier musicals can’t get their songs nominated; in all likelihood it’s not the same cast and it’s probably twenty years later anyway, so why act as though all the work the actors did just doesn’t matter? AAARGH! Anyway, my experience has also been that just because a movie gets nominated for a bigajillion Oscars doesn’t mean the score should be also; the list this year hews much too closely to the other categories. Why wasn’t Pirates of the Carribean nominated? Well, simply, the voters were being snobs about it; if they can’t take a movie seriously, you can bet they won’t nominate the music (but they’ll reward them for technical feats, which actually, ends up looking a little embarrassing, can’t say why). Anyway, done ranting.

  • Sarah

    “Falling Slowly” must win. Everything else is fluff.

  • Tina

    I’m sorry, but I LOVE “That’s How You Know” and I hope it wins.
    Will Amy be performing it at the Oscars? (should they go on)

  • SDA333

    And why was “Way back Into Love” from “Music and Lyrics” snubbed? I saw this movie a month ago and STILL can’t get this song out of my head. A perfect pop song…..

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