Why The Boss Was Shut Out Of The Oscars: Blame Math

noah | January 23, 2009 2:30 am

Yesterday’s announcement of the Academy Awards nominations resulted in a lot of questions. Among the “The Reader? Really?” mutterings were a few queries surrounding the Best Original Song category, which only had three nominees from two movies despite a surfeit of potential contenders that included one Bruce Springsteen, who took home a Golden Globe for his title track from The Wrestler last week. Tom O’Neil at the Los Angeles Times‘ Gold Derby blog tried to sort everything out, and he pointed a finger at the semi-arcane criteria for nominating songs as part of the problem. Here’s the portion of Rule 16—which outlines eligibility for the Original Song, Original Score, and Original Musical categories—that is the likely culprit:

In the Original Song category, Music Branch members shall meet to screen clips of the eligible songs and vote on the achievements. A DVD copy of the song clips will be made available to those Branch members who are unable to attend the screening and who request it for home viewing. Voting shall be conducted as follows:

Nominations will be determined by an averaged point system of voting using 10, 9.5, 9, 8.5, 8, 7.5, 7, 6.5 or 6. Only those songs receiving an average score of 8.25 or more shall be eligible for nomination. There may not be more than five nor fewer than three nominations.

So even if, say, every voter was into “The Wrestler” just enough to score it as an 8, and that was enough to give it the fourth-highest overall average score, it still wouldn’t be up to snuff by the Academy’s standards. The rule also notes that only two songs from a single film can be nominated, even if more than two songs’ average scores go over the 8.25 mark. Is this something else that we can blame on the fragmentation of pop music, or what?

Rule 16 [Oscars.com]How Bruce Springsteen got shut out of the Oscar nominations [Gold Derby]