24 years of existence and no awards: THIS Oscar category has never had nominees

For all his many years of achievements, the Oscar has been the scene of changes and adaptations to improve recognition of the different areas of film production.

While some categories appear and others disappear, one of them draws attention due to the absence of nominees and winners: ‘Best Original Musical‘, created in 2000.

The search for musical prominence

The emergence of the category was an attempt to highlight musicals, recognizing the uniqueness of this cinematographic genre.

Like other categories, it came to adjust to the process of film production and offer a special stage for musical productions.

However, since its creation, the category has faced significant challenges, marking a contradiction in its very existence.

Troubled history of the Oscar musical categories

The trajectory of the awarding of soundtracks and original songs at the Oscars is marked by divisions and mergers over the years.

From the unification of the ‘Best Score’ category in the 1930s to the multiple subdivisions in the following decades, the Academy sought to find the right balance.

In 1980, the Academy simplified the musical categoriesestablishing only ‘Best Original Soundtrack’, excluding adaptations.

This single category remained until the 2000s, when the Academy reintroduced the distinction between comedy and drama in this category.

German composer Volker Bertelmann upon receiving the Oscar for ‘Best Original Score’ in 2023 – Image: Patrick T. Fallon/Reproduction

The ‘Best Original Musical’ category was introduced in 2000, seeking to recognize musical productions with an innovative approach.

However, this intention ran into obstacles, as the category never reached the minimum number of ten films qualified to present nominees.

Strict rules, such as requiring at least five songs originals, and the need for these songs to further the film’s plot, contributed to the lack of eligibility of many potential candidates.

Contradictions and controversies

The creation of the category raised controversy, with notable films like ‘Tarzan’ being excluded due to time constraints.

Composer Mark Mancina expressed concerns that the category would discourage new musicals as a lack of competition would prevent their inclusion.

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While ‘Best Original Musical’ remains without nominees or winners, musicians and filmmakers question the effectiveness of the category.

Despite its initial objective of promoting musicals, its contradictory existence raises doubts about its real role in the Oscar scenario.

As the Oscars continue to evolve, it is uncertain whether the ‘Best Original Musical’ category will find its place in the spotlight or whether, as in previous years, it will remain a quirky category with no nominees.

The debate over the appropriate recognition of musicals in the cinematic scene persists, as the Oscars seek the perfect balance in their categories.