Miss out on that much-coveted Oscar nomination for score or song? Not to worry, it’s Grammy to the rescue. Unlike the Academy Awards, the Grammys offer three categories in their “music for visual media” field — score soundtrack, compilation soundtrack and song — and because the rules are a little less strict than those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, composers and songwriters have a better shot at the honor.
“It probably is fairly open, compared to the Oscars,” says Recording Academy awards VP Bill Freimuth, although he points out that the basic criteria for the score Grammy are similar: the music must be specifically written for the movie, TV show or videogame; and two-thirds of the tracks on the album must actually be in the film, show or game.
Grammy voters are all music-biz pros — many of them not in the film, TV or game world — and the concept, at least, is that the Grammy voters are good judges of strong musical material.
Song-driven albums are eligible for the compilation-soundtrack honor. AMPAS has a “song score” category but it has never been activated because too few original musicals have been entered (and compilations of songs in a movie have never been honored by the Acad).
Direct comparisons are difficult because the Grammy eligibility year ends Sept. 30, while Oscar’s ends Dec. 31. Only one of this year’s Grammy score nominees was also an Oscar nominee: “The King’s Speech” by Alexandre Desplat.
Desplat — who has both 2010’s “The King’s Speech” and 2011’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” in contention at this year’s Grammys — says he doesn’t personally enter the competition; his management, or the record labels, do. Grammy execs say this is common.
The other Grammy nominees were either disqualified for Oscar consideration (2010’s “Black Swan” by Clint Mansell, because of its Tchaikovsky roots), may have been too edgy (2010’s “Tron Legacy” by Daft Punk) or were not eligible (2011’s barely released “The Shrine” by Ryan Shore).
This year’s song nominees tell a similar tale: Expected to be Oscar-nominated but were not (Diane Warren’s “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me,” performed by Cher in 2010’s “Burlesque”; Zac Brown’s “Where the River Goes” from 2011’s “Footloose”; Zooey Deschanel’s “So Long” from 2011’s “Winnie the Pooh”), plus a TV song from “Family Guy,” a Justin Bieber number from his concert film, and only one tune that actually got an Oscar nod (“I See the Light” from 2010’s “Tangled”).
As for AMPAS, its music branch determined that only two songs were fit for competition, which raised more than a few eyebrows.
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