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'Once' Song 'Falling Slowly' Possibly Ineligible for Oscar

Glan Hansard, Marketa Irglova - Once
Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová in Once

In The Vast Picture Show, the [Dublin] Sunday Tribune's film critic Paul Lynch reports that "Falling Slowly," from the Irish romantic musical Once, may be ineligible for the 2008 best original song Oscar. The Academy has been apparently investigating the issue.

Lynch quotes a piece by the Sunday Tribune's music critic Una Mullally:

"The Sunday Tribune understands that the Academy query relates to whether the song, from the John Carney-directed movie Once, was written specifically for the film, as the eligibility rules for the Best Original Song category demand. 'Falling Slowly' was originally recorded by the film's co-stars Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova when Czech director Jan Hrebejk asked the two musicians to contribute songs to his 2006 film Kráska v nesnázích (Beauty In Trouble). Hansard and Irglova ended up recording the album 'The Swell Season,' of which 'Falling Slowly' was a key track. That album was released in April 2006. Hansard's band, The Frames, then rerecorded the song for their September 2006 album 'The Cost.' Beauty In Trouble was released in October 2006, with 'Falling Slowly' played almost in full over the film's trailer. The rules for eligibility in the Best Original Song category state that: 'An original song consists of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film.' The rules go on to state: 'The work must be the result of a creative interaction between the filmmaker(s) and the composer(s) or songwriter(s) who have been engaged to work directly on the film.'"

***

Earlier this year, before the 2009 Oscar nominations were announced, Jonny Greenwood's score for There Will Be Blood was deemed ineligible because it wasn't fully original.

Back in 1941 – actually at the February 1942 ceremony – eyebrows were raised when Jerome Kern's "The Last Time I Saw Paris," from the MGM movie Lady Be Good, went on to win a best original song Oscar even though Kern had released the song in 1940.

And back in early 1973, Nino Rota's score for The Godfather had its nomination rescinded once the Academy found out that some of Rota's score had been previously used in his music for the 1958 film Fortunella. Charles Chaplin's score for the 1952 Limelight – the next film in line, and which happened to have its Los Angeles premiere in 1972 – was added to the shortlist and ended up winning the year's best original music Oscar.

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