41 Songs Eligible For Best Original Song Oscar

Anyone who has read The Hitchhiker's Guide To the Galaxy looks at that headline and thinks, "They couldn't pick one more?" Nope, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced there are 41 songs officially eligible for the Best Original Song Academy Award that will be given at the Oscars, hosted by James Franco and Anne Hathaway, on February 27. This is an important category because the nominated songs are the ones that get performed during the broadcast.

As was the case with the films eligible in the Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary, Best Visual Effects and Best Short Film categories, the most interesting part of this news isn't even the nominees. It's the incredibly complicated system of rules that's in place to whittle these 41 songs down to the nominees that will be announced on January 25. Check out the full list and those rules after the jump.

Here's what the Academy press release says qualifies a song for eligibility.

To be eligible, a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits.

And here are the 41 songs that fit that criteria this year.

* "Alice" from "Alice in Wonderland"

* "Forever One Love" from "Black Tulip"

* "Freedom Song" from "Black Tulip"

* "Bound to You" from "Burlesque"

* "Welcome to Burlesque" from "Burlesque"

* "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from "Burlesque"

* "There's a Place for Us" from "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

* "Coming Home" from "Country Strong"

* "Me and Tennessee" from "Country Strong"

* "Despicable Me" from "Despicable Me"

* "Prettiest Girls" from "Despicable Me"

* "Dear Laughing Doubters" from "Dinner for Schmucks"

* "Better Days" from "Eat Pray Love"

* "If You Run" from "Going the Distance"

* "Darkness before the Dawn" from "Holy Rollers"

* "Sticks & Stones" from "How to Train Your Dragon"

* "Le Gris" from "Idiots and Angels"

* "Chanson Illusionist" from "The Illusionist"

* "Never Say Never" from "The Karate Kid"

* "To the Sky" from "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole"

* "What If" from "Letters to Juliet"

* "Life during Wartime" from "Life during Wartime"

* "Made in Dagenham" from "Made in Dagenham"

* "Little One" from "Mother and Child"

* "Be the One" from "The Next Three Days"

* "If I Rise" from "127 Hours"

* "When You See Forever" from "The Perfect Game"

* "I Remain" from "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time"

* "Dream Big" from "Pure Country 2: The Gift"

* "How I Love You" from "Ramona and Beezus"

* "Darling I Do" from "Shrek Forever After"

* "Noka Oi" from "Six Days in Paradise"

* "This Is a Low" from "Tamara Drewe"

* "I See the Light" from "Tangled"

* "Rise" from "3 Billion and Counting"

* "We Belong Together" from "Toy Story 3"

* "Eclipse: All Yours" from "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"

* "Nothing" from "Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too"

* "A Better Life" from "Unbeaten"

* "Shine" from "Waiting for 'Superman'"

* "The Reasons Why" from "Wretches & Jabberers"

This is the fun part. Here's how Academy members go through and pick the songs that will be nominated.

On Thursday, January 6, the Academy will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles. Following the screenings, members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system vote. If no song receives an average score of 8.25 or more, there will be no nominees in the category. If only one song achieves that score, it and the song receiving the next highest score shall be the two nominees. If two or more songs (up to five) achieve that score, they shall be the nominees. A DVD copy of the song clips will be made available to those branch members who are unable to attend the screening and who request it for home viewing. A mail-in ballot will be provided.

Who knew that there was a real possibility there could be no nominees? That's just crazy. Plus, the fact that they just watch the clips totally out of context makes sense, but kind of sucks for the filmmakers.

As for educated guesses as to which songs will rise to the top, I'm pretty much in the dark. None of these songs really jump out for me. The Golden Globes picked "Bound To You" from Burlesque, "Coming Home" from Country Strong, "I See The Light" from Tangled, "There's a Place For Us" from The Chronicles of Narnia and "You Haven't Seen The Last of Me" from Burlesque so those are probably safe bets. Plus, you've got to assume a few of the more popular films – like The Karate Kid or Despicable Me- have a shot.

What surprised you most about how this award is decided? Also, do any of these songs stand out for you? Are there any songs you can think of from 2010 movies that didn't make the list?