Only two songs nominated for Oscars this time

By | Published on Wednesday 25 January 2012

Bret McKenzie

One of the more surprising things about yesterday’s Oscar nominations is that only two people are up for the Best Original Song award – Sergio Mendes for ‘Real In Rio’ from ‘Rio’ and Bret McKenzie, one half of ‘Flight Of The Conchords’, for his song ‘Man Or Muppet’ from the new Muppets movie.

Eligible songs from Elton John, Lady Gaga, Mary J Blige, Elvis Costello, Chris Cornell, Zooey Deschanel and all missed out on nominations because of the way this Oscar shortlist is worked out – members of the Academy’s music branch are asked to rate all eligible songs out of ten, and only those which get an average mark of 8.25 or more get nominated. Usually that means a shortlist of four or five tracks, but this year’s it’s only two.

Of course that means favourable odds for both Sergio and Bret. Commenting on his song and nomination, McKenzie told MTV: “I woke up to the phone ringing non-stop, so then I picked up my phone and saw the news. I was very excited. I don’t sound it, but I am very excited. I was amazed there were only two nominees. It seems unusual, but it’s grea because the odds are 50-50. The only thing that would be better, I guess, would be if there was only one nomination”.

On the nominated song, he continued: “I really wanted [this song] to be hilarious and beautiful, and I feel like we got that combination. It’s sincere but ridiculous. The idea of children singing the song at school cracks me up. The night we recorded it, we had a few drinks and [‘The Muppets’ co-writer and star] Jason Segel was predicting we’d get together at the Oscars, but he was joking. [Though maybe] that guy can see the future”.

In the Oscar’s Original Score category this year there are only four contenders, though that’s because John Williams has been nominated twice (it’s the seventh time that has happened). Following last year’s win for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s electronic score for ‘The Social Network’, all the nominated scores this time are more traditional orchestral affairs, Reznor and Ross’s most recent soundtrack, for ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’, not appearing on the noms.

Williams is shortlisted for ‘The Adventures Of Tintin’ and ‘War Horse’, while also in the running are Ludovic Bource for ‘The Artist’, Alberto Iglesias for ‘Tinker Tailor Solider Spy’, and Howard Shore for ‘Hugo’.

The 2012 Academy Awards will be presented on 26 Feb.