By: Eric D. Snider (originally posted on 11/15/08)
Note: The ruling on The Dark Knight was later reversed, and it was eligible for a Best Score nomination -- though it still didn't get one.
With the news that the musical score from The Dark Knight has been disqualified from Academy Awards consideration on the grounds that too many people were credited with composing it, outrage against the Academy's stringent, complicated rules has erupted afresh. In the interest of fueling this indignation and making the world an angrier place, let's take a belligerent march down memory lane and look at seven other controversial disqualifications.
The Jazz Singer disqualified for being a talkie. When the very first Academy Awards were held in May 1929, honoring films released between August 1927 and July 1928, everyone was talking about The Jazz Singer -- the first feature-length movie to use recorded sound in some of its talking and singing scenes. So great was the attention that the Academy disqualified the film from the inaugural Best Picture category, reasoning that its use of sound put it on an uneven playing field against the films still stuck in silence. Instead, the Academy gave Warner Bros. a special award "for producing The Jazz Singer, the pioneer outstanding talking picture, which has revolutionized the industry." It's true, too! I don't know if you've noticed, but pretty much all movies nowadays have talking in them.