The latest dust-up regarding the Academy's music branch, in case you've missed the recent news, is that Antonio Sanchez's original drum score for “Birdman” has been deemed ineligible in the Oscar race and that an appeal to the branch has been denied. Reading about the ins and outs of that lunacy in our exclusive interview with Sanchez, you'd be forgiven for being reminded of a similar unfortunate episode a few years back.
I actually broke the news myself in early 2008 that Jonny Greenwood's score for Paul Thomas Anderson's “There Will Be Blood” had been disqualified by the Academy due to a rule that says any score “diluted” by preexisting music used elsewhere in a film's soundtrack would be deemed ineligible. My contention on this particular point has been the language itself, which is so dependent on subjectivity. In the case of “Blood,” there was 46 minutes of classical pieces to the Radiohead guitarist's 35 minutes of original material, so at least percentage wise, it made sense (though the Academy didn't notify the studio and there was no time for an appeal – not that they were obligated to do so, mind). In the case of “Birdman,” as Sanchez told us, the math doesn't figure.
One simply wonders if a notoriously conservative branch just rankles at the rockers or other progressive artists that try and move in on their turf. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross felt like true exceptions to the rule when they won for “The Social Network” a few years back.
Well, in a recent interview with The Guardian about “Inherent Vice,” Anderson made his thoughts on that Greenwood snub clear:
Oh, the fix was in, wasn”t it? They just couldn”t stand the idea of a guy in a rock band with moppy hair being that good, I suppose. But hey, no sour grapes.
Truth bomb. And you could probably apply a similar sentiment to Sanchez's misfortune this year.