24 February 2009

What's with music at the Oscars?

When we were watching the Oscars the other night, my house mates friend brought up the oddness of so few Best Original Score and Original Song nominations. Usually -in most of the major categories - there are five choices. Each had only three nominees. Why?

According to NPR, the reason The Dark Knight was not nominated for its score was that both Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard -and, it seems, a few others - worked on the film, and apparently the holders at the Academy thought there was too many cooks. However, they apparently changed their minds after another listen, and said that both Zimmer and Howard wrote enough to make the score eligible. As it seems, the honor was not given.

I’m unsure of the Academy rules when it comes to scores, but every movie released in 2008 had a score, why was films such as Milk, WALL-E and even Twilight not nominated? Were they not submitted, or what? Or, was there just not enough good scores?

And what of the Original Song? Only three and two from Slumdog Millionaires. Now, of course, I think this is more simpler answer; there are no good songs. Not since Titanic has there really been a huge hit song from a movie, and love it or hate it, My Heart Will Go On will endure.

Songs created for movies are no longer designed to live beyond the DVD release and even though Bob Dylan won an Oscar for his song in Wonder Boys, did anyone ever hear on the radio (though, I guess the same can be said for this years winner) or seen the video? Look at the song for Quantum of Solace, the last James Bond film. Much like the last batch of title songs from the film series, Another Way To Die from Jack White and Alicia Keyes is dull and pointless. It makes the Duran Duran cement mixer song for A View To A Kill almost on par with Live and Let Die and The Spy Who Loved Me.

Still, is the Academy not nominating songs because of some nebulas rules, or are they pointing out that the songs being written for movies (which are many) are formulaic, forgetful and badly written?

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