The Princess and the Frog’s Score thrown out

The OSCARs won’t be awarded till March 7 (that is for the non-technical OSCARs) but the voting by the Academy members is already underway to determine the nominations. Disney certainly was hoping that its return to classic style 2D animation for the big screen, “The Princess and the Frog”, would garner as many nominations as possible – which, in the tradition of the latest sucessful string of animated Disney features from the early 90s should include nominations as Best Animated Feature, Best Score as well as maybe even several nominations in the Best Song category – after all Disney hired in Randy Newman a seasoned score composer and songwriter, who had not only a long list of pop hits under his belt as well as already worked on various movies (including for several of the Disney Pixar features) but also one his first (and so far sole) OSCAR for a song from a Disney Pixar movie (in 2002 for “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc.). However, the executive committee of the Academy’s music-branch have decided to throw a wrench into the plans of Disney early this week.

As – amongst others – Deadline Hollywood reports the executive committee informed the Academy members that the score had been ruled ineligible for a nomination and all votes in favor of its nomination will be disregarded. The reason? They don’t really go into detail and cite only that 

The relevant language is contained in Rule 16, Section II, Paragraph E: “…scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other preexisting music, diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs, or assembled from the music of more than one composer shall not be eligible”.

So which part of the rule did the score supposedly break? The committee doesn’t say in its press release as cited above. However, Variety points out that it might be the part “scores […] diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs” – and the reasoning of the sources on which Variety bases its assumption sounds convincing. Apparently the rule was created in the 90s when Disney started to rule the “Best Score” category at the OSCARs thanks to the scores of its animated features, which were more “musicals” than traditional dramas / comedies which had won the “Best Score” category in the decades before regularly. As a result the rule was set up, so that “musicals” were ineligible for the category as the Academy reasoned the score is only a lesser part of a musical whose musical side is dominated by its songs – while for dramas /comedies without performed songs the score is the central element of the movie’s musical side. Accordingly none of the other big musicals that are in general eligible for nominations in the OSCAR 2010 round (e.g. “Nine”) have been deemed egilible in the category “Best Score”. So taking Disney’s The Princess and The Frog of the list of scores eligible in the category “Best Score” might just be correcting a mistake made when adding it in the first place.

Anyway the movie is still eligible in other categories. On the musical side Academy members are currently asked to vote for the nominations in the category “Best Song” for which 4 of the songs from Disney’s Princess and the Frog are eligible: three songs by Randy Newman (“Almost There”, “Down in New Orleans”, “Ma Belle Evangeline”) as well as the end-title song “Never Knew I Needed” by Ne-Yo … so its not as if the movie was totally out of the running for the OSCARs…

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One Response to “The Princess and the Frog’s Score thrown out”

  1. Amir Thompson Says:

    That tune is absolutely brilliant! I really enjoy listening to it!

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