Oscarthon: Best Original Song

Without a doubt the most frustrating and impossible category in the entire field. For the fourth straight year voters lazily nominated more than one song from one film, and with one French exception went to very obvious places.

The selection process is the problem, really. Members of the music branch either attend a special screening of the song clips, or watch a DVD of them at home. Then they have to give every eligible song a score between 6 and 10. Nominees are then determined from those scores:

"Only those songs receiving an average score of 8.25 or more shall normally be eligible for nomination. There may not be more than five nominations. If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees."

From the Official Oscar Rules

My question: what's wrong with a normal ballot? Just send in your favorites, count the votes up. Keep the no more than two per film rule, and we'll be fine. I know, in theory, that every voter in each category should see every film eligible, but forcing the Song vote to rate each one leads to inevitable homogenization- of course the two Disney songs get rated pretty high, they're Disney songs. But would they have been in everyone's top five?

Anyway, let's look at the nominees. You can even stream the audio, hooray.

1. Almost There

2. Down in New Orleans

from The Princess and the Frog
Music and Lyrics: Randy Newman (1 for 17)

Yawn. Pretty run of the mill Disney songs- "Almost There" is the song the girl sings about what she wants to do/be someday, and "Down In New Orleans" is the introduction to the colorful setting du jour.

3. Loin de Paname

from Paris 36
Music: Reinhardt Wagner, Lyrics: Frank Thomas (both 0 for 0)

Look, I'm sure this is fine, but it sounds like every French song ever to me. Sure, I'm only familiar with some selected Edith Piaf from the biopic last year, and that one song on the Rushmore soundtrack, but still.

4. Take It All

from Nine
Music and Lyrics: Maury Yeston (0 for 0)

Star of said Edith Piaf biopic, Marion Cotillard, sings instead of lip-syncs this year on this number from Nine. Still haven't seen the much-maligned film, but it sounds like a decent show-stopper. Call it my second favorite of the nominees.

5. The Weary Kind

from Crazy Heart
Music and Lyrics: Ryan Bingham (0 for 0) and T-Bone Burnett (0 for 1)

If there were Oscars for Music supervising, Burnett would have several (he oversaw things like O Brother, Where Art Thou and Walk The Line). He shares his second nomination in this category with Ryan Bingham for the best of many original songs in Crazy Heart- the only song I'll be sad not to see performed this year, now that they decided to pull the traditional performances.

So give the statue to "The Weary Kind" in a laugher, and be at least glad we're spared the awful three-song mashup monstrosity that happened last year.

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