Siedah Garrett on the Oscar Best Song Controversy

Siedah Garrett on the Oscar Best Song Controversy

The twice Oscar-nominated songwriter explains to why her tune made the cut and Mary J. Blige’s didn’t.

Published February 27, 2012

Much of the press leading up to Hollywood’s biggest night has been the big snafu over the Academy Awards Best Song category. Mary J. Blige was very vocal in the press about feeling slighted that her song "The Living Proof" from The Help (which she co-wrote) was omitted from this year’s list of nominations because the category was reduced from five songs to two.

But two-time Oscar-nominated Siedah Garrett, songwriter of "Real in Rio" from the animated film Rio, told it was a technical “rule change” that kept the Queen of Hip Hop Soul out of the running.

“The Academy decided you have to reach a certain amount of [voting] points to be nominated,” says Garrett. "[The number was] 8.25 and the other songs didn’t have enough points to qualify according to the new rules. That’s my understanding of it.”

The 2012 Academy Award for Best Original Song ended up going to the tune "Man or Muppet" from the film The Muppets, but that didn’t taint the overall experience for the 52-year old co-songwriter of the Michael Jackson anthem "Man in the Mirror." She says some of her fondest memories are of writing her most recent Oscar-nominated song.

“I was supposed to go home and write a lyric and I did. Then I came back the next day thinking I was just going to sing the song to the composer. But there were six background singers, six suits from FOX, [the composer] Sergio [Mendes], eight musicians and they were all tapping their feet waiting for me like, ‘What is it that you’re gonna have us sing?’ I was just praying, ‘I hope they like it.’ Because if they don’t I’m really in trouble,” remembers Garrett. “But they did and that day we sang the song, did all the vocals and it sounded great. They sent me home with another track and I ended up with four songs in the movie Rio.”

With the tremendous output this singer-songwriter has had in her nearly 30-year career, Siedah will be seeing plenty of that little gold guy in her future. is your #1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music.

(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Written by Ronke Idowu Reeves


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