Oscars Best Original Song isn't the best song
I'm really surprised by what I just read about the voting for the Oscars Best Original Song category for so many reasons, not just the fact that the voting system appears to be different to other categories in the Oscars, not that they are watching and listening to sections of films totally out of context, doesn't include certain songs in any film, but that despite all this "Best" only raises two nominees.
I know that the voting system isn't the best, but I had believe that the panel of people who actually vote for the Oscars is quite a diverse one, and that they are sent screeners that they should watch in order to vote for a film, but so often the nominations list and winners list haven't lived up to the title of "Best".
It seems that way with the "Best Song" category, and it's only come to light when the system for voting behind the category has come forward.
Surprisingly, out of the "Best" of the category for Original Song only has two nominees, so what does that mean? The rest were all so terrible that they couldn't make it to the top of the list? How can that be? Surely once they had the list of votes returned for all the original songs in films released last year they had more than just two, and the top so many percent of that list would be the best. Out of all the original songs in films last year were there only two? Absolutely not, so surely there would be more than two on that list?
The Hollywood Reporter has the reasons why in their article on the very subject:
Unlike other categories, song nominees are determined by voting members of the music branch who watch sections of films where songs are played -- and nothing else. Since instituted, it has resulted in performance clips and animated songs being nominated but no end credit or background songs.
Voters assign each song a numerical score between 1 and 10 and if no song receives an average of less than 8.25, there are no nominees. If only one song tops the threshold, as clearly happened here, the next-highest vote-getter secures a nomination as well.
So there you have it. It's because only two songs reached the threshold, so all the other original songs in the films for last year were below that voting line. Really?
The huge shock here for me is that they only watch the section of the film where the song is played, meaning they are only listening to the song itself, surely they might as well listen to an audio recording of the song instead of watching a completely out of context clip? Why don't they watch the whole film and return to the song itself? Since the song is part of the film aren't they missing the emotional involvement of the audience in the story and characters that is heightened by or helps heighten the power of the song?
I wonder why they don't just listen to an audio recording of the song and drop the film aspect of it, perhaps analysing the notes used and the technical aspects of the composition, after all it's not like these awards have anything to do with film...oh wait....they do.
Doesn't that seem a little odd to you? I wonder what the voting is like for the other categories. Do those voting for make-up, effects or costumes just look at photographs of the final products in order to vote on them or do they watch the film and judge them in context?
Surely watching in context might elevate a few of the original songs in this category into getting nominated? Perhaps removing a score threshold and taking, oh I don't know, the best five of the list for nominees? Otherwise why not just choose the winner straight away?