NO FAIR: Music Scores unjustly shut out of oscars...


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Posted by Oliver Wallace on December 08, 1999 at 15:26:22:

"Tarzan," "South Park" scores shut out of Oscars

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The musical scores for two of this year's
biggest animated films --
Disney's (NYSE:DIS - news) ``Tarzan'' and Paramount Pictures' (NYSE:VIA -
news) ``South Park'' movie --
have been shut out of Oscar contention, angering the composers.

The scores for both films fell victim to a decision to reduce the number of
music categories in the 1999 Academy Awards competition from
three to two, officials at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
said on Tuesday.

The composers, frustrated that their work has no avenue for Oscar
recognition, said the academy's eligibility rules are flawed but reflect the
fact that musicals, once a staple of the industry, have become a Hollywood
rarity.

``I truly am extremely hurt,'' said Mark Mancina, who wrote the basic score
for ``Tarzan,'' with five original songs composed and sung by pop
star Phil Collins. ``I was hoping to get a nomination. It would have been
good for me. To know that people can't even consider it is frustrating.''

``Tarzan'' and ``South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut'' were submitted for
consideration under the ``best original song score'' category,
created in 1995 to separate the scores of musicals and comedies from
straight dramatic scores. But that category was eliminated this year
because ``Tarzan'' and ``South Park'' were the only entries.

The two scores then were resubmitted under the broader category for ``best
original score'' but were deemed ineligible under that
classification. The third Oscars music category is for best original song.

``Each body of music belongs in a particular place,'' academy awards
coordinator Patrick Stockstill said. ``That particular place does not have
enough entries for its own category. That does not mean (the scores) should
automatically be redistributed to another category.''

The number of music categories, which have fluctuated over the years, was
upped to three in 1995 with the creation of the ``song score''
classification.

The addition of the new category came after composer Alan Menken won three
Oscars for best score in the early 1990s for the Disney films
``The Little Mermaid,'' ``Beauty and the Beast'' and ``Aladdin.''

Many felt Menken was being judged on the basis of the catchy songs from the
movies rather than on the scores, giving him an unfair
advantage over the straight dramatic scores his work was competing against.

``The real problem is we're living in a world that doesn't have enough
place for a musical,'' said Marc Shaiman, who composed the ``South
Park'' score with five original songs he co-wrote with cartoon co-creator
Trey Parker and has earned four Oscar nominations since 1994.

``It's a shame that now that musicals have come back by way of animated
movies, they haven't figured out a way for them to be honored and
not be in competition with standard scores,'' he said.

Mancina, whose credits also include the music to ``Twister and ''Speed,``
said the ineligibility of the ''Tarzan" score was particularly unfair
because all the music, including the Collins-penned songs, served as
background to what essentially was an animated drama.

Shaiman's manager, Richard Kraft, noted that Randy Newman's music for ``Toy
Story 2,'' which featured two original songs, one of them sung
by the character Jesse the Cowgirl, were accepted under the original score
category.

Stockstill said the original song score category shelved this year is
reserved for scores with five or more songs composed by the same writer
or team of writers.



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