Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Best Songs fade out at the Oscars

On Tuesday the Oscarcast producers revealed that the Best Song nominees will NOT be performed at the Oscars this year. Instead, clips of the songs will be played with scenes from the movies. 

Perhaps it's the scale-balancing Libra in me, but I can see both the pro and the con of this decision. On the pro side, the performances of the Best Song nominees do tend to slow the pace of the already overextended show down. And this year's crop of nominees is not exactly a hit parade. Two of the nominees, "Take It All" from Nine and  "“Loin de Paname” from Paris 36 are filler at best. Few would argue that the two nominees from The Princess and the Frog rank with Disney's best. And the worst thing you can say about the front runner, the theme from Crazy Heart, is that Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett are relatively unknown.

However ....

Just because I can understand the reasoning being axing the Best Song nominees does NOT mean I agree with the reasoning. This is the wrong decision.

Yes, it's a far cry from 25 years ago when most every nominated song was a radio hit. But what does this move say to this year's nominees? "Sorry, folks, you're not popular enough, so you're not performing?" How would you like to be thrilled to have a nomination, then have the rug pulled out from under you when it's your time to shine?

Another troubling aspect of this is, one of the producers is Adam Shankman, a choreographer, the director of the musical version of Hairspray, and a judge of So You Think You Can Dance. If he ditches the Best Song nominees but stages cheesy dance numbers instead, I call shenanigans.

The other thing that rankles me is I think the show's producers are trying too hard to appeal to "Joe and Jane Sixpack," who have never heard of the nominees who aren't A-listers. One thing I like about the Oscars is that they may turn people on to movies and performers they may have otherwise missed.

I don't want the Oscars to turn into something vacuous and pointless like The People's Choice Awards. Besides, "the people" DO get a choice. They make theirs at the box office.

The producers already erred once by kicking the honorary awards off the show. If the Oscar producers continue to cater to the rank and file, I just may join the rank and file - and care less about the Oscars.

So the producers are worried about the botttom line? One commenter on Entertainment Weekly's Oscar blog bulls-eyed  the bottom line by writing: "If the songs aren’t interesting enough to air during the telecast, then they shouldn’t have been nominated in the first place."

What do you say? Should the Best Song performances stay or go?

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