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'Once' Song 'Falling Slowly' Controversy Resolved + Academy Award-Nominated Movies Screenings

Markéta Irglová, Glen Hansard - Once

Jan. 30 update: Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's ballad “Falling Slowly,” from John Carney's Irish-made romantic musical Once, remains in the running in the Best Original Song category of the 2008 Academy Awards.

Several days ago, questions had arisen about the song's eligibility (see further below) because before Once came out different versions of “Falling Slowly” had been featured in two music albums and in the trailer of the Czech movie Beauty in Trouble, as reported by Una Mullally in the Dublin Sunday Tribune.

However, last night the Academy's music branch declared that “Falling Slowly” qualified as an “original song” written specifically for Once.

As reported in the New York Times, Charles Bernstein, Chairman of the Music Branch Executive Committee, stated that “the Academy's music branch executive committee has met and endorsed the validity of 'Falling Slowly' as a nominated achievement. The committee relied on written assurances and detailed chronologies provided by [the] songwriter of 'Falling Slowly,' the writer-director of Once and Fox Searchlight.

“The genesis of the picture was unusually protracted, but director John Carney and songwriter Glen Hansard were working closely together in 2002 when the project that became Once was discussed. 'Falling Slowly' began to be composed, but the actual script and financing for the picture was delayed for several years, during which time Mr. Hansard and his collaborator Markéta Irglová played the song in some venues that were deemed inconsequential enough to not change the song's eligibility.”

Bernstein added that the Academy “needed to address whether the song was written specifically for the the film and the second issue was whether it had been played prior to the inclusion in the film – did this constitute a reason to ineligible-ize it. The first issue was satisfied by a [sic] sworn statements attesting to the fact that it was written for the film along with a chronology, and the second issue was settled by the fact that it had only been performed in Europe and [sic] the Czech Republic and not in a way that would have given it advantage or influence here.”

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

Jan. 26: 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 Markéta Irglová 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 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.

American Cinema Editors No Country for Old Men Josh BrolinJosh Brolin in 'No Country for Old Men', edited by Joel and Ethan Coen.

American Cinema Editors, Art Directors Oscar 2008 seminars at the Egyptian Theatre

Below are listed a couple of upcoming American Cinematheque events to be held at the historical Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood:

The American Cinema Editors' seminar “Invisible Art, Visible Artists” will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008. The scheduled participants are the 2008 Oscar nominees in the Best Film Editing category:

Christopher Rouse, The Bourne Ultimatum (Paul Greengrass, director; Matt Damon stars)

Juliette Welfling, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Julian Schnabel, director; Mathieu Amalric stars)

Jay Cassidy, Into the Wild (Sean Penn, director; Emile Hirsch stars)

“Roderick Jaynes” (Joel and Ethan Coen), No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, directors; Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones star)

Dylan Tichenor, There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, director; Daniel Day-Lewis stars)

Oscar 2008: Art Directors Seminar

The Art Directors Seminar, which will feature this year's Oscar nominated art directors and set decorators, will take place at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23. In addition to Art Directors Guild president Thomas A. Walsh, who will moderate the event, the scheduled participants are the following:

Arthur Max (Art Direction); Beth A. Rubino (Set Decoration), American Gangster (Ridley Scott, director; Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe star)

Sarah Greenwood (Art Direction); Katie Spencer (Set Decoration), Atonement (Joe Wright, director; James McAvoy, Keira Knightley star)

Dennis Gassner (Art Direction); Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), The Golden Compass (Chris Weitz, director; Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig star)

Dante Ferretti (Art Direction); Francesca Lo Schiavo (Set Decoration), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Tim Burton, director; Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter star)

Jack Fisk (Art Direction); Jim Erickson (Set Decoration), There Will Be Blood

Both the American Cinema Editors' and the Art Directors' seminars are free. Tickets will be available on the day of seminar at the Egyptian's box office. The Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood. For more information, visit the American Cinematheque website.

Josh Brolin No Country for Old Men photo: Miramax Films / Paramount Vantage.

I Met the Walrus - Josh Raskin

Oscar 2008 Shorts Screening in Los Angeles

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen the 2007 Academy Award-nominated films in the Animated and Live Action Short Film categories, on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The program will feature onstage discussions with the nominated filmmakers (subject to availability).

They are:

Animated Short Film

  • I Met the Walrus (top photo), Josh Raskin, director
  • Madame Tutli-Putli, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, directors
  • Meme les Pigeons Vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go to Heaven), Samuel Tourneux, director; Simon Vanesse, executive producer
  • My Love (Moya Lyubov), Alexander Petrov, director
  • Peter & the Wolf, Suzie Templeton, director; Hugh Welchman, producer

The Mozart of Pickpockets - Philippe Pollet-Villard

Live Action Short Film

  • At Night, Christian E. Christiansen, director; Louise Vesth, producer
  • Il Supplente (The Substitute), Andrea Jublin, director
  • Le Mozart des Pickpockets (The Mozart of Pickpockets, above), Philippe Pollet-Villard, director
  • Tanghi Argentini, Guido Thys, director; Anja Daelemans, producer
  • The Tonto Woman, Daniel Barber, director; Matthew Brown, producer

Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Doors open at 6 p.m. All seating is unreserved. For more information, please call the Academy at (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org/events.

The 2008 Academy Awards ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 24 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

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2 Comments to 'Once' Song 'Falling Slowly' Controversy Resolved + Academy Award-Nominated Movies Screenings

  1. Nat O'Rourke

    Love film “Once”. How can you not? If you have not watched it yet get it and watch it soon. Love it! Love this song and all the songs in the movie. Great job! Thanks!

  2. Jan O'Connor

    I'm glad this song was nominated and won the Oscar. Beautiful song, beautiful film.