Oscars Disqualify Your Favorite Scores, Dash Bright Star's Original Screenplay Bid


It's interesting that as the Oscars' Best Picture category has expanded this year in a bid to be more populist, several of the other categories almost seem to have compensated by becoming more draconian in their rules. Already, the seemingly simple Best Song category has gotten ridiculously specific about what can and can't qualify (even its Grammy corollary has gotten confused!) and this week, a bunch of odd upsets and disqualifications were announced in the Score and Screenplay categories.

First up, The Wrap's Steve Pond brings word that almost any score from 2009 that you can actually remember has been disqualified (most often, because that branch of the Academy frowns on a score that's laced with actual songs):

As usual, several prominent scores have failed to qualify for or opted out of the original-score Oscar, with this year's victims including Brian Eno, Karen O and T Bone Burnett...Others whose music is ineligible include Carter Burwell, Erran Baron Cohen and moonlighting actor Jason Schwartzman.

Eno's score for The Lovely Bones, a haunting and effective use of the composer's music both new and old, was not submitted to the Academy for consideration. Neither was Burnett's and Stephen Bruton's score to Crazy Heart, which had been singled out by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Yeah Yeah Yeah's frontwoman Karen O, and Burwell, who co-wrote the music for Where the Wild Things Are, both submitted their work to the Academy but were disqualified by the music branch.

Either the music branch is becoming even more snobbish about scores that deign to share filmic space with a spare few pop songs, or its members just hate Carter Burwell, one of the greatest non-nominated composers around. Whichever.

Also, tough beans for Jane Campion, who was under the impression that since she virtually invented the story of Bright Star from whole cloth, imagining what could have transpired between real-life lovers John Keats and Fanny Brawne, that she had written an original screenplay. Not so, says the Academy, which declared her work adapted. Now, Campion must compete in a tougher category, and this after countless For Your Consideration ads were taken out touting Bright Star for Original Screenplay.

Lesson learned: It's cute when the Academy strong-arms Kate Winslet into the right category (as it did last year against her own wishes), but it's not so cute when the Academy screws over some of our best and brightest. Free Burwell!

Eno, Karen O, Burnett Not Eligible in Oscar Score Category [The Wrap]

Academy Rules Bright Star Adapted, Not Original [The Wrap]


  • Art says:

    So Burwell's score was disqualified because it used elements of other music also written specifically for the movie? Yeah, that makes sense. Not.