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How to score a music-related Oscar

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The movie musical is definitely in the midst of a comeback, but it just got a bit more difficult for these films to bask in the golden glory of Oscar season: On Aug. 7, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it is banning studios from sending Oscar voters CDs, music videos, or sheet music of their Best Original Score and Best Original Song contenders. In order to judge those categories, voters will now have to take the old-fashioned route and watch the movies themselves. Explains Academy executive Ric Robertson, ”The change was made to redirect the focus so that evaluations are really about what’s on screen” while the music is playing.

So how will the new rule affect potential 2007 nominees like Hairspray, Once, and the Johnny Depp musical Sweeney Todd (out this December)? For Hairspray, it may mean that ”Ladies’ Choice,” a new song that’s performed during the memorable scene when wannabe TV star Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) is discovered, will have a better shot at a nod than ”Come So Far (Got So Far to Go),” which simply plays over the end credits. For now, this ban has yet to extend to other Academy branches: Studios are still allowed, for example, to send out copies of scripts for their Best Original and Adapted Screenplay candidates. Why the discrepancy? Only Oscar knows for sure.

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