Best Original Song

Have you taken a close look at the Oscar nomination list?

Yeah, we all zero in on the glamour categories. Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress. The regular ones. But if you’re going to be successful on your ballot come Oscar night, you better pay some attention to the lesser categories, that’s what I do. This year there is something glaring and may bode ill for that particular category. Best Original Song. What’s wrong here. Simple. There are only two songs nominated, “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, and “Real to Rio” from Rio.

The problem here, like the 9 nominations for Best Picture is the new rules the Academy set up to make things fairer. The people who nominate best song are those folks in the music side of the Academy. The Academy is made up of branches. The branches do most of the heavy lifting for the nominations. Not only do the music voters need to see the song within the movie, that is all they see., As a result they often miss opening or closing songs. Additionally, the voting by-laws require that the songs need to be weighted. A song needs to get 8.25% of the vote to get nominated. If that doesn’t happen, then the next highest vote getting song is also nominated. It sure looks like “Man or Muppet” swept the category and “Real to Rio” was added. A bunch of songs by Madonna, Zooey Deschanel, Pink and Elton John missed the boat.

Yet is says something else. It says that the days of original songs are dwindling. Filmmakers want songs that have ‘brand recognition’. Rather than have folks hum or whistle a tune they just heard as they walk out, they prefer to have folks already know the song and thus associate the film with the song. It is, as just said, brand recognition.

What does this all mean? It may not be the death of the original song category, but rule changes will most likely go into effect in 2013. The other thing it means is, it sure looks like ‘Man or Muppet’ is going to win that category. Remember that when you fill out your ballot.


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