Oscars Change Best Original Song Rule, Five Tunes Will Be Nominees

Though last year's Oscar winner for Best Original Song was one of my personal favorites, even Bret McKenzie would admit the competition wasn't that steep. Man or Muppet (above) beat only one other nominee for Best Original Song at the 84th Annual Academy Awards because of some odd rule in that particular category that only qualified two nominees. Thankfully, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has seen the error of their ways and have amended the rule to require five songs to be nominated for the category. Whether or not they'll be performed at the show is something the new producers are considering.

Read more after the jump, including the new name of the Best Art Direction category.

Deadline posted the following press release with the news about the rule change:

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has approved additional rules for the 85th Academy Awards. The most significant changes affect the Original Song category, in which there will now be five nominees.

During the nominations process, all voting members of the Music Branch will receive a Reminder List of works submitted in the category and a DVD copy of the song clips. Members will be asked to watch the clips and then vote in the order of their preference for not more than five achievements in the category. The five achievements receiving the highest number of votes will become the nominations for final voting for the award.

Additionally, upon the recommendation from the Designers Branch (formerly the Art Directors Branch), the Art Direction award will be known as the Production Design award.

The Art Direction Award is now called the Production Design Award. That seems like something that should have happened years ago, no?

As for the Best Original Song, the five-nominee mandate is a smart move. Let's face it. The Oscars are about attracting viewers more than the awards themselves. That's why the Academy went to ten Best Picture Nominees. And what other technical category actually offers some entertainment value? None, save for Best Original Song. It's recent bastardazation was a mistake that has now rightfully been fixed.

The Oscars will be produced this year by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have strong musical theater ties. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter they suggested that they would bring back the musical numbers this year but said it was too early to say for sure.

The 85th Annual Academy Awards will take place in Hollywood, CA on February 24, 2013.