Academy Bans Soundtrack Screeners

Usually when you read an article about the Academy banning something, piracy is involved somewhere and worse, the MPAA is often in the mix doing something asinine. For once though, that’s not the case. This time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is doing something right by banning the freebie copies of musical scores and sheet music which are traditionally sent to Oscar voters in order to give them something on which to base their votes in musical categories.

The Academy has realized they have it all wrong. The Academy Awards, after all, are supposed to reward achievements in film. So, if a film’s soundtrack is awarded, they want it to be awarded based on how well it works in the context of the movie it’s a part of. If you’re doing that, then there’s no reason for voters to receive copies of sheet music or soundtracks to listen to before putting together their votes. Watch the movie. Turn the volume up really loud. Vote. If you’re deciding based on listening to a score out of context, then you’re simply not doing your job. Anyone who says otherwise is probably just pissed that they won’t be getting more freebies to turn around and sell on Ebay for a tidy profit.

Variety reports that composers and studio music execs may protest the rule, but it doesn’t sound like anyone else really cares. It appears that even the voters who received them are somewhat relieved. “They'd like to not get these things in the mail that have nothing to do with the voting,” says Music-branch governor Charles Bernstein. Speaking as someone who votes in the much more minor DFWFCA awards, I agree. Ever year around voting time I’m inundated with soundtracks and sheet music, most of which is, to me at least, little more than junk mail. I don’t have time to listen to it, it has nothing to do with my vote, get it out of my mail box! I’m happy to say goodbye to For Your Consideration soundtracks. Good riddance.

Josh Tyler