Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Oscars Hurt: A Continued Reflection of Masochism

It has been announced that the Academy has scrapped the musical numbers from the Best Original Song category this year.  While this category is need of a major overhaul (and perhaps altogether abandonment) judging on their lack of hearing, taste or discretion, and while no one will complain that a forgettable song from a film long forgotten like Rio won't get any Oscar screen time...this also means that the category's frontrunner, the joyous "Man or Muppet" from The Muppets won't either.  The song, like others, in the film was written by Flight of the Concords alum Bret McKenzie won't get any action at this years Academy Awards.  In a wild dream, I was hoping for a medley of Muppets tunes, including the stupidly snubbed "Life's a Happy Song," and Kermit's touching ballad "Pictures in My Head."  While the Academy has taken this stance in years prior...even a few years back when a worthy and totally listenable tune, like 2009's winner "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart wasn't given the stage, there's a bigger point on hand I feel.  Is this a commentary on the Academy's embarrassment of the song category?  Why not let the two songs have their three minutes of stage time; it can't be a choice decision to reduce the run time-- the show is always LONG!!!  One feels that if the Academy isn't going to support the ruins of the flawed Songs- just get rid of them...

The shapelessness of the Best Original Song is so variable however, that take a year like 2011, where the song selection may not have been prime, aside from The Muppets soundtrack, and the overlooked Captain: America pastiche "Star Spangled Man."  Mostly neglected from the Academy versus a stronger year like last year when they had an opportunity for prime awards catnip with the Cher-headlined ballad "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me,"-- yes Burlesque was a dumb movie, but that song rocked, and the performance at the Kodak could have to (Toy Story 3 won the Oscar for the familiar sounding Randy Newman tune "We Belong Together.")  And yes the performances have always been up and down...for every joyous Amy Adams charmer "Happy Working Song" from Enchanted in 2007, there's an overdone clunker like "In the Deep" from Crash in 2005.  The other conundrum lies in the nominating process altogether-- in that the same group can acknowledge worthy songs like "Falling Slowly" from Once in 2007, or "The Weary Kind" from Crazy Heart in 2009, but overlook (or as conspiracy theorists might say, intentionally snub) something as moving as "The Wrestler," Bruce Springsteen's beautifully moody and weathered melody that was so appropriate to the narrative of The Wrestler in 2008.

I hope Kermit the Frog mugs away from Billy Crystal and sings for the four hour telecast in mad protest.

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