Eno, Karen O, Burnett Not Eligible in Oscar Score Category

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Apparently, it’s not a good year to be a pop musician trying to win consideration from the Academy’s music branch. As usual, several prominent scores have failed to qualify for or opted out of the original-score Oscar, with this year’s victims including Brian Eno, Karen O and T Bone Burnett.

Others whose music is ineligible include Carter Burwell, Erran Baron Cohen and moonlighting actor Jason Schwartzman.

Eno’s score for “The Lovely Bones,” a haunting and effective use of the composer’s music both new and old, was not submitted to the Academy for consideration.   Neither was Burnett's and Stephen Bruton's score to "Crazy Heart," which had been singled out by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

Yeah Yeah Yeah’s frontwoman Karen O, and Burwell, who co-wrote the music for “Where the Wild Things Are,” both submitted their work to the Academy but were disqualified by the music branch. 

Notable scores have been disqualified in the past by the Academy’s music branch, which has strict rules for qualifying in the category. In 2007, for instance, Warren Ellis’ Jonny Greenwood's score to “There Will Be Blood” was eliminated from contention for containing too much pre-existing music, including compositions by Brahms and Arvo Pärt.

One section of the rules reads as follows:
“[S]cores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other preexisting music, diminished in impact by the predominant use of songs, or assembled from the music of more than one composer shall not be eligible.”
(The Academy does make an exception if “two composers function as equal collaborators in producing the score, each contributing a substantial amount of original music for the film.”)

Eno’s music to “The Lovely Bones,” which incorporates several older compositions by the pioneering rock and ambient musician (right), is ineligible by the composer’s own choice. According to a spokesperson for the film, Eno simply felt that he didn’t have time to submit the required paperwork and submit to the type of publicity campaign necessary.The scores to both “Where the Wild Things Are” and “Crazy Heart” make substantial use of music from songs that were written for the films. (Two songs from each film are eligible in the best original song category.)

Fox Searchlight did not include the "Crazy Heart" score in its “for your consideration” listing on the film’s screeners.  Paramount and Warner Bros., however, did suggest nominations in the category on the "Lovely Bones" and “Wild Things” screeners, respectively.

In addition to “Wild Things” and “The Lovely Bones,” other ineligible scores that had been the subject of ads or FYC screener listings include “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” (Nicholas Hooper), “The Blind Side” (Carter Burwell again), “Precious” (Mario Grigorov), “Bruno” (Erran Baron Cohen) and “Funny People” (Michael Andrews and Jason Schwartzman).

Overall, only 81 film scores qualified, giving the category by far the smallest field among the 15 categories for which ballots went out last week. By comparison, 274 films qualified for best picture, best film editing, best cinematography and the two sound categories.

Source (includes a list of the 81 eligible film scores).