Monday, January 28, 2008

Once faces Oscar probe

Just as complaints are rising about the musical nominations for the Academy Awards, the Academy is looking at perhaps reversing the one thing it definitely got right when considering the musical categories - nominating "Falling Slowly" from Once as Best Original Song. Versions of the song appeared twice on albums that predate the release of Once - one album by The Frames, one by nominees Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. The defense is that the song was recorded for the the movie during its production, which pre-dated the release of the two albums. The defense ought to be that it was the best song that appeared as an integral part of a film this past year and it would be a travesty if it did not get nominated - and win.

The other thing that this points out is that the rules stink. I understand that you don't want an Antonio Banderas-Penelope Cruz duet cover of "All You Need is Love" receiving a nomination. But I would almost take that eventuality over a rule that would disqualify this amazing song, one that is integrally tied in to the plot and performed by the original singers. This rule would almost certainly disqualify all the songs in Singin' in the Rain (and maybe did - I haven't checked the history.), most of which had been around since the 1920s and had been used in earlier movies. Is that really what the rules should be doing?

If this goes through, I can only hope that the August Rush song somehow also gets disqualified and two more Enchanted songs enter the race. Having four or five songs from the one same Disney movie would be the fate that this category deserves.

David Carr, the New York Times' Oscar blogger, has more information, as do his posters. They seem to think the songs were commissioned for the movie, but when the prospects for getting it off the ground looked bad, Hansard went on and started playing it as part of his various musical projects. Then the movie project got back off the ground.

Again, this is nibbling over what appears to be a bad rule that doesn't reflect the reality of current songwriting for film. Perhaps the Academy needs to analyze less the wheres and whens of the origin of "Falling Slowly" and analyze more whether their rules are disqualifying what should be perfectly eligible songs and scores. The Academy needs to figure out what it wants these awards to represent, what it doesn't want it to represent, and re-write the rules accordingly.

BTW, a thank you to poster Pinko Punko for pointing this issue out in the comments to my other post, before it was formally an issue.


Pinko Punko said...

I wonder if rEVOLution will flip his shit when he finds out what the Man is trying to do to Once. What the hell is wrong with these people??

K. Bowen said...

They seem to have a bad set of rules, and hopefully they'll take a second look at them. I assume that part of the reason for the rules is to make sure that Braodway songs have an advantage. But I would rather see a nomination for an extraordinary song performance like Jennifer Hudson's "And I am telling you" from a Broadway adaptation than some half-ass song played over the end credits.