New rules are introduced for Oscar's music category

And the award for most confusing new rules goes to … the song category.

The Academy holds a “bake-off” (though it doesn’t like to call it that) in which 40 or so songs are shown in three-minute clips. Everyone in the music branch is invited, though not everyone shows up. The two screenings were both held in L.A. so out-of-towners are out of luck.

Music members then rate each song on a scale of 6-10. To get nominated, a song has to score 8.25 or higher. Or, as the Acad puts it in a release, the change in rules imposes “a minimum required scoring average.”

This year, three songs qualified. Other rules include the fact that a song cannot be run under dialogue (it has to be “clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition” of the song) and a song is eligible if it’s the first song in the end credits, but not an end-credit song after that.

If more than five films score more than 8.25, the noms go to the five highest. If none hits that lofty peak, it goes to the three highest scorers.

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