17 December 2008

Addendum to "Announcement: The Original Songs": "Limit: Two per Film"?!?!?

In reviewing the technical jabber at the bottom of AMPAS' announcement of the long-list of original songs, I noticed a rather alarming addendum to the rules this year:

A maximum of two songs may be nominated from any film. If more than two songs from a film are in contention, the two songs with the most votes will be the nominees.
WHAT?! Just two songs?! Since when is a cap on the merits of an original soundtrack warranted?? What would have happened to Beauty and the Beast (1991), Dreamgirls (2006), or Enchanted (2007), if one of them should have been released this year instead of in years previous?? (Well, in the case of Dreamgirls or Enchanted, we probably would have had one more worthy nominee on the ballot - but that kind of historical revisionism is really besides the point.) Granted, of course, this year the rule change doesn't really affect any nominated film - well, except HSM3, but come on: if that film receive one nomination, it'd be a miracle - but that kind of teleological reasoning is (also) besides the point: Original songs, like people, should be rewarded based on their individual merits and, so, one nomination-worthy song should not and must not be penalized and/or forced into disqualification, for the mere goal of diversity in the list of nominees, simply because it happened to be in the company of other similarly worthy songs, on its original soundtrack - especially if the songs from the other such soundtracks in the field be significantly less deserving of a nomination than the songs on the former original soundtrack, a situation which could very well be the case if this rule stand over the next few years. So, AMPAS, I beg you to reconsider your decision to amend the rules, for fairness' sake. Be just! Do the right thing! Nominate everyone that is worthy of the nomination, regardless of the status of the field! No one, I'm sure, would be angered by a list of even five worthy nominees from a single film, if the five were truly worthy and if replacement by far less worthy songs from other films were the diversified alternative. Don't you agree?

I eagerly await to see if this new rule of two per film will stand, what others' reactions to it will be (if others even notice), and how the nominees will turn out in the future of a recently very musical-prone Oscars.

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