LOS ANGELES (AP) — No Academy Award will be presented for best song at next year’s ceremony if none of the tunes is considered good enough, Oscar organizers said Friday.

Rules for the 82nd Oscar show next March will require that at least one song must achieve a minimum score of 8.25 on a scale of 6 to 10 in voting by members of the academy’s music branch.

trying to improve the quality,” said composer Bruce Broughton, who
heads the music branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and
Sciences. “There’s been a lot of talk about the songs in films, the lack of memorability compared to songs in the past, the almost forgetability of some of them. … This is an attempt to really make the songs as good as possible.”

In another significant change for next year’s show, the academy is moving its honorary Oscars out of the Academy Awards ceremony itself and presenting them at a separate event.

The two changes come days after the academy made its most drastic Oscar change in decades, doubling the number of best-picture nominees from five to 10.

The music branch has about 230 members, who rate songs after viewing them in a marathon screening or on a DVD compilation of the tunes as they appear in the films.


If no song achieves the minimum score, there will be no best-song Oscar awarded. If only one song
scores that well, then it and the tune with the next-highest score will
be the category’s two nominees. The number of nominees in the category
can range from two to five depending on how many hit the minimum score.

Broughton said while the change sets minimum standards songs must meet, he doubted that there would be a year when the category would be scrapped because no tunes rated highly enough.

Starting this awards season, honorary Oscars
for career achievement will be presented at a black-tie dinner in
November, along with the academy’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
and Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Academy overseers said that will allow more time to pay proper tribute to recipients without crowding those awards into the Oscar ceremony, which often draws criticism for a running time that has topped four hours some years.

academy board of governors “noticed that subtracting the honoraries
from the broadcast would help reduce its length, but that really wasn’t
the motivation that was driving the change,” said Bruce Davis, the
academy’s executive director.

Sid Ganis, academy president, said creating a separate event will insure “that each honoree will be given his or her full due.”

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