Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds isn't nominated for an Oscar for his part in the song "When You Believe" from the "Prince of Egypt" soundtrack, and as a result, he doesn't think his version of the tune should be performed live at the awards show, according to the Los Angeles Times. He also contends that he was deliberately excluded from the nominations.
The song was first written for the animated Dreamworks movie by Stephen Schwartz, who was flown to Egypt by the producers for inspiration. Schwartz subsequently penned the version that appears in the film as a duet by the characters voiced by actor Michelle Pfeiffer and a singer named Sally Dworsky. The composition includes a section sung in Hebrew.
However, Dreamworks also requested a more pop friendly rendition to run at the end of the credits and to release to radio as a single. Edmonds was called in to 'doctor' the tune and did so by adding a bridge and making other adjustments that saw him earn a 15% credit as a co-writer of
the single. That version was recorded by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey and became a radio hit.
Now the Academy has nominated the original version as best original song, sans Edmonds, but they've asked Houston and Carey to perform it live, and that duo apparently intends to offer up the same version they recorded -- with the added bridge, and without the Hebrew.
Edmonds tells the Times the reason he wasn't included as a co-writer on the nomination is that Schwartz deliberately refused to sign a required form entitling Edmonds to submit the song for consideration. The writers are responsible for submitting their own works, Schwartz only entered his solo version and didn't take part in Edmonds' entry, which kept the latter out of the running.
The Times reports that Schwartz denies having seen the form and says he knew nothing about Edmonds' application. Schwartz also contends that under the Academy's rules, Edmonds isn't eligible, the nod goes to the song in the body of
the movie, and to the primary writer, not additional contributors.
Clouding the issue even further as to which version the Academy members voted for, DreamWorks ran a series of Oscar ads in movie industry trade papers promoting the song recorded by Houston and Carey as an Oscar contender. Edmonds was acknowledged in those ads.
The awards are being staged March 21 in Los Angeles.