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Oscars Change "Original Song" Rules

June 20, 2008 9:04 AM ET

In an effort to prevent a single musical from monopolizing the Original Song field at the Oscars, the Academy has changed the rules of the category. While movies can submit any number of songs they want, starting with the 2009 Oscars, only two songs can be nominated per film. The move comes after two consecutive years in which a musical received nods for three songs in the category, Enchanted in 2008 and Dreamgirls in 2007. In both cases, however, dominating with three nominated songs ultimately proved to a curse, as Once's "Falling Slowly" won this year's Oscar and Melissa Etheridge took the prize in 2007 for An Inconvenient Truth's "I Need To Wake Up." In addition, the Academy will allow DVDs of musical numbers to be sent to members of the voting committee who are unable to attend screenings. Had this new rule gone into effect last year, it's possible Eddie Vedder would have received a nomination for his Golden Globe-winning work on Into the Wild's soundtrack.

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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