Oscars 2012: Why Only Two Songs Were Nominated for Best Original Song

'Man or Muppet,' 'Real in Rio' only songs picked from 39-track shortlist

January 24, 2012 4:20 PM ET

Kermit the Frog, Jason Segel and Miss Piggy in 'The Muppets.'
Kermit the Frog, Jason Segel and Miss Piggy in 'The Muppets.'
Andrew Macpherson © The Muppets Studio, LLC

Last month, the Academy Awards released a 39-song shortlist of songs – including tunes by high-profiles acts such a Elton John, Lady Gaga, Chris Cornell, Zooey Deschanel, Mary J. Blige, the National, Willie Nelson and Brad Paisley – in consideration to be nominated for Best Original Song at the 84th Annual Academy Awards. This morning, when the Academy announced its nominations, only two songs were chosen – "Man or Muppet," from The Muppets, and "Real in Rio," from Rio. You may be wondering: what gives?

As it turns out, the sheer number of songs in the running split votes to the point that only two songs could be featured on the ballot, per current Academy rules. Basically, voters had to sort through the 39 songs and score each on a scale of 6 to 10 points, and only songs that received an average of 8.25 points could be nominated. Hence, only two songs made the cut.

Though this is bad news for the artists who narrowly missed their shot at Oscar glory, it's great news for viewers of the famously long telecast, who may only have to sit through two musical performances this year. Then again, this may free up space in the broadcast for the Oscars' musical consultants, Pharrell Williams and Hans Zimmer, to go wild.

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