The Bret McKenzie-penned "Man or Muppet," an identity crisis ballad that's the musical centerpiece of Walt Disney Pictures' 2011 film "The Muppets," has made Muppet history. Previous Muppet-related songs have been nominated for an Academy Award, but "Man or Muppet" marks the first-ever Oscar win for a Muppet film. Of course, "Man or Muppet" had solid odds, as it was competing against only one other song.
Last year, four songs were nominated, and the winning track was Randy Newman’s “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3.” McKenzie was asked backstage for his thoughts on this year's svelte original song Oscar category. "Man or Muppet" was competing against “Real in Rio,” from the animated film “Rio.”
"Well, I am not sure how [or] why they only nominated two songs, but I was very happy with that situation," McKenzie said, dodging the question with a little humor. "I think the system, you know, leads itself toward musicals instead of songs."
Qualifying songs (there were 39 this year) are screened to voting members of the Film Academy’s music branch, who rate them according to a point system. Nominees were determined by averaged points, and there could be a maximum of five. McKenzie acknowledged that "Muppets" director James Bobin and star Jason Segel shared in the credit, if not the songwriting.
"To be honest, I think it was one of those musical numbers where everyone did a great job," he said. "James Bobin, the director, did such a cool video. Jason Segel just channeled his -- I don't know -- he went really deep in his performance, both in the recording and on the screen."