Variety has the lowdown on some more changes to next year's Academy Awards. There are two of note:
1) If you enjoy seeing honorary lifetime Oscars and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award you're now SOL. These will be held at another time in a private ceremony. So suck it, oldsters. Who needs you and your decades of contribution to film anyway?
2) It's now possible that there that not every year will feature a Best Song category if it's deemed that there are a dearth of worthy nominees.
Without making clear if the process will be changed, the Variety piece also sheds some light on the deeply flawed-sounding "bake-off" nominating process:
The music branch annually conducts a "bake-off" in which voters see clips of eligible songs as they are used in each film. The voters then rate a song on a scale of 6 to 10. Under the new ruling, if no song earns 8.25, there will be no nominations. If at least one hits that magic number, it will be nominated, as will the second-highest scorer.
(Previous rules had specified three to five nominees, and the new rules say the category will still max out at five.)
The bake-off was an earnest attempt to ensure that a song's contribution to a film was more important than diskery sales, since pop-rock singer-songwriters have increasingly become a presence in a film's score, much to the consternation of some music branch members.
But the bake-off limited the voting pool (you couldn't vote without seeing these clips) and worked to the disadvantage of songs that summed up the mood and ideas of the film but were played during closing credits. (Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler" and Eddie Vedder's song from "Into the Wild" were two recent examples of closing-credits songs that were shut out.)
So there's that. No word yet on whether or not the Oscars will attempt to cap the excessive use of montage sequences in next year's ceremonies, however.