Once More With Feeling

THIS is the year of the Oscar musical hiccup. Just this week, after a lengthy process of consultation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has finally ruled that the song "Falling Slowly," the signature track from the breakout hit Irish film Once, is again eligible for Oscar consideration. Written by the Frames lead singer Glen Han-sard and Marketa Irglova, stars of Once, the song's road to Oscar glory has been long and winding. First it was nominated, then it was contested, and last week it was finally confirmed as nomination-worthy. The song had been uncertain of entry in the competition after questions were raised over whether it had been written specifically for it.According to a statement by Charles Bernstein, the chairman of the Academy's music branch, the Oscar committee "relied on written assurances and detailed chronologies provided by the songwriter of 'Falling Slowly,' the writer-director of Once and Fox Searchlight in reaching its decision." After members of the music branch of the Academy decided that the song was eligible, they allowed ballots to be sent out to voters.The genesis of the film was unusually protracted, but director John Carney and songwriter Hansard were working closely together in 2002 when the film project that became Once was discussed.Added Bernstein, "'Falling Slowly' began to be composed for the film, but the actual script and financing for the picture was delayed for several years, during which time Glen Hansard and his collaborator Marketa Irglova played the song in some venues that were deemed inconsequential en-ough to not change the song's eligibility."Hansard and Irglova will perform the song at the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles on February 24.Meanwhile, the soundtrack score for There Will Be Blood, featuring Irish favorite Daniel Day-Lewis, by Radiohead's Jonny Green-wood has been ruled ineligible by the Academy.The Oscar rules exclude film scores "diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music." Greenwood's score contains slightly more pre-existing music by himself as well as samples from the work of Arvo Part and Johannes Brahms, than it does original compositions designed for director Paul Thomas Ander-son's use.

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