Original Song from Up in the Air Won't Be Eligible for an Oscar

October 10, 2009
Source: The Wrap

Up in the Air

Why does this seem to happen every year? Steve Pond over at The Wrap reports that the song titled "Up in the Air" that plays in Jason Reitman's new film Up in the Air will most likely not end up getting Oscar consideration (even though it deserves it) because of some ridiculous rules that are a part of the Original Song category. Since most people haven't seen Up in the Air yet, the song plays in the end credits second half. It was written by Kevin Renick, a St. Louis musician who gave Reitman the song on a cassette tape after a Q&A. He had written it when he lost his job and it fit perfectly in the film and Jason decided to use it.

You may remember last year during Oscar season there were a few big controversies in various music categories. First, The Dark Knight score encountered problems because of some technicality in its notes. Second, the original song "The Wrestler" written by Bruce Springsteen for Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler got snubbed last year for no real reason when they only announced a total of three nominees in the Original Song category, two of which were for Slumdog Millionaire. The year before that, the Academy disqualified the title song from John Carney's Once because they claimed it had been written before the movie and not for the movie. That was thankfully cleared up and the song then went on to win the Oscar that year.

Apparently Kevin Renick's "Up in the Air" was written years before the movie existed, which immediately (and sadly) disqualifies it. Additionally, "an end-credits song is eligible for a nomination only if it's the first piece of music heard during the credits, whereas Renick's song comes midway through the credits." Some of these rules seem a bit archaic and unnecessary and will really upset fans of Up in the Air and that song. Kris Tapley of In Contention thinks that another song called "Help Yourself" by Brad Smith that plays in the middle of Up in the Air also may get nominated. I really hope that's the case - both songs are wonderful.

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way to go oscars, ignoring real talent.

Xerxex on Oct 10, 2009


Go 'Merica!

daniel on Oct 10, 2009


Wait a second. So, what was the reason again for the disqualification for The Wrestler's song by Bruce Springsteen? I missed hearing about that controversy and only see it being overlooked. What gives?

DJ Heinlein on Oct 10, 2009


Disqualified because it was written long before the flick existed? This makes no sense whatsoever!

Spider on Oct 10, 2009


Alex and Kris, It is a shame that Kevin Renick's song "Up in the Air" will not be eligible for consideration for the Academy Award for best song. Jason Reitman during the group interview at the Toronto International Film Festival that Mr. Resnick wrote the song prior to knowing the film would be produced. If Mr. Resnick wrote the song with Walter Kirn’s book in mind, could one argue that he wrote the song indirectly with the film in mind? Likewise, just because the song may be ineligible for an Academy Award, this would preclude it from being nominated for a Golden Globe or Grammy. Source: Video of George Clooney, cast & crew Q&A at "Up in the Air" World Premiere I have not had the opportunity of seeing Up in the Air, but hope to see it at the St. Louis International Film Festival, November 12-22, 2009. Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley joined Cinema St. Louis in announcing details on Thursday. Source:,0,3915227.story Mr. Reitman’s film festival schedule is truly amazing. * September 5 and 6, 2009 - Telluride Film Festival * September 8, 2009 - The first clip of the film debuted on Apple Inc. website * September 10, 2009 - Trailer available on iTunes * September 11, 12, 13 and 19, 2009 - Toronto International Film Festival * September 18, 2009 - Trailer screened before The Informant! and Love Happens * October 2, 2009 - Second trailer became available * October 2, 2009 - Aspen Filmfest * October 4, 2009 - Tenth Annual Woodstock Film Festival * October 8-12, 2009 - The 2009 Hamptons International Film Festival * October 14, 2009 - Mill Valley Film Festival * October 14-19, 2009 - 53rd London Film Festival * October 17-19, 2009 - Fourth annual International Rome Film Festival * October 29, 2009 - Austin Film Festival * October 29, 2009 - Palm Springs International Film Festival * November 12-22, 2009 - St. Louis International Film Festival * December 4, 2009 - Limited North American Release * December 11, 2009 - Expanded North American Release * December 25, 2009 - Wide North American Release

Dan Dassow on Oct 10, 2009


Correction: I meant to write: Likewise, just because the song may be ineligible for an Academy Award, this would NOT preclude it from being nominated for a Golden Globe or Grammy.

Dan Dassow on Oct 10, 2009


The music people involved with the nomination process don't like "credit songs." They prefer to choose songs that play during the actual film and add something to the experience. This is why Bruce didn't get his nomination. If they had used the song during the movie, then he would have. Sometimes they will nominate Credit Songs, but in the case of Bruce, I think they skipped him because they didn't want a credit song to win, and they figured if he was nominated he'd win for sure, because everyone loves him. That's not what they said, but that's my hunch. What they said is that all the people involved with the nominating process rate the songs on a numerical scale, and to get through, you have to pass a certain threshold, which they claim he didn't. I think they also wanted to stack the deck for Slumdog because it was multicultural, and music people get a real hard-on for that kind of thing. As for the Up in the Air song, well, if it was written some time ago, and not for the film, then it shouldn't be nominated. Doesn't matter how good it is. That category is to spotlight original songs written for movies. This isn't the Grammys, it's the Oscars. If you don't like the rule, you can always blame Jerome Kern:

bradley on Oct 10, 2009


I do agree with above that the song shouldn't be nominated if it wasn't written for the film. It maybe well written and placed but the catagory is Best Original Song For A Motion Picture. Not best original song PLACED in a motion picture. But you also have to to think though that Jai Ho was also played during the end credits of Slumdog Millionaire, the only reason the song might have stood out more is because the end credits were shot like a music video. Which as sad as it is to say might be one of the factors why it won, lot more flash. I thought it was very low that Bruce didn't get a nom last year because that was one hell of a song, but the Academy still live in the past when it comes to nominating real talent and achievement in film. 25 years from now I think more people will have seen Benjamin Button and Milk way before ever getting to Slumdog Millionaire which is already to me a forgotten film. I can see that they are trying to correct some of the problems after the clusterfuck of backlash that they got last year from their snubs of The Dark Knight, Gran Torino, and The Wrestler but it isn't enough. The Academy needs real reform on its rules.

Bryan on Oct 11, 2009


How can you not mention that Eddie Vedder wasn't nominated for into the wild? He won the golden globe and should have won an oscar.

ryderup on Oct 11, 2009


I agree that credit songs shouldn't be qualified, unless the credits contains some kind of epilogue sequence in which the song is used. Otherwise the song is essentially just marketing for the film. It may be a great song but the movie is over, people are walking out of the theater. The only purpose is so they can use it in commercials or a soundtrack to get people to see the film. It pisses me off when credit songs win, especially when they beat songs that were actually used IN the film.

cajaygle on Oct 11, 2009


I know Mr. Renick and think it's a real shame that the placement of his song and it's disqualification happened the way it did. He could use a good job and the recognition that he deserves.

Thomas on Oct 12, 2009

12 SLIFF 2009 Spotlight | Kevin Renick and “Up in the Air” Written by Jason Green Thursday, 12 November 2009 ... One of Renick's compositions that he continued to revisit over the years was a contemplative number called, coincidentally enough, "Up in the Air." "I actually don't remember when the idea first came," Renick says of the song, "but it has been one of my signature songs for awhile, kind of an ‘old friend.' I poured my angst about the uncertainty of life, the difficulty of finding a good job, the sadness about wanting my family to see me happy, and the unresolved hopes and ambition I felt, into that song. It's a contemplative ballad about longing and uncertainty at its core." As Renick began performing his music live last fall, he brought "Up in the Air" back with him. His timing couldn't have been more perfect. "I dusted off the song last fall, changed a word or two and started singing it again," Renick recalls, "and it was around that time I learned that a movie with the same title was being filmed in St. Louis. ‘Hmmm,' I thought. ‘This is a coincidence. What if, somehow, the plot/theme of the movie, was similar enough to my song to make it relevant?' Well, the big surprise was that this turned out to be the case." The next step was to get the song into the right hands. "I attended Jason Reitman's talk at Webster University this past February," Renick recalls. "I'd gone with the idea of giving him a copy of the song, which coincidentally had the same title as his new movie. I felt I needed to push myself out of my past tendency to be timid or reluctant when a big challenge presented itself. I didn't know if I could get close enough to Jason for this to happen, but when I raised my hand to ask a question during his talk, I concluded by asking if it was okay if I gave him a copy of my song. He said, ‘Sure, the more unusual the way I get the music, the better...' or something to that effect. After the lecture, I went up to him as he was heading out and gave him the cassette, which surprised him. ‘A cassette?' he asked. ‘You don't have a CD-R or something?' I replied that I didn't, and felt foolish and quickly headed out. [I] thought nothing more about it and literally forgot about it [until] a full six months later, [when] the music producer of the film, Randall Poster, emailed me and told me that Jason wanted to use the song. I was naturally thrilled and incredulous. I still find it hard to believe even now!" ... Up in the Air screens Saturday, November 14th, at the Tivoli Theatre, with a half-hour performance by Kevin Renick prior to the showing. For more information, visit . Note: The tickets for the St. Louis International Film Festival showing of Up in the Air sold out before they officially went on sale.

Dan Dassow on Nov 14, 2009

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