When the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced several weeks ago, some called the absence of Bruce Springsteen’s song, The Wrestler, from the list of nominations a “snub.” I’ve read that a lot of people are shaking their heads and asking why it wasn’t listed as a nominee when the song evokes the same strong feelings that the movie portrays. With only three nominees in the category and if the song is as good as advertised, it begs the question . . . what happened?
Shedding some light on the reason is Steven Zeitchik’s article from the Hollywood Reporter:
The branch’s several hundred members no longer list their top five choices, as they did for years (and as they do for best original score). Instead, they rate the songs on a scale of 6 to 10, with half-scores (say, 7.5) allowed, too. In order to land a nom, a song has to average an 8.25. (If more than five songs hit that mark, the five highest make it.) . . .
But the system doesn’t end there. Voters don’t just rate a song based on how they liked it. They rate each on the 6-10 scale twice, first strictly on the merits, then based on how it plays in the film. The idea is to make sure that people aren’t just voting for a good piece of musicianship, but choosing a song that complements or enhances the movie. “People sometimes think this is like the Grammys, where we’re just choosing out favorite song. But this is a film award, and you have to look at how a piece of music works with the rest of the film,” http://chair Boughton says.
“It’s not a perfect system,” Boughton acknowledges. “We’re going to sit down after all this and see if there are ways to improve it.”
There is the perception out there that the Academy is not accurately assessing its industry and at it’s worst, are totally off base when making award selections. Add that to the fact that the general public has no insight into the awards process and you have an award that one group of people thinks is baseless and another that accepts it as dogma. That is why I’m really glad I stumbled upon this article. I think it gives us some transparency into the awards process, if only for this category.
To me, the system seems simple enough. Granted, the decision is still up to voters who can vote any which way, but what happens if there are no films that get a score of 8.25 or higher? Would the Academy not have an award for Best Original Song for that year? What I appreciate is the Boughton’s forthrightness behind how the process works as well as an acknowledgment that maybe there might be ways to improve it.