In a career that’s spanned nearly a decade, with worldwide sales of nearly 100 million albums and a boatload of Grammys under her carefully toned arm, you get the feeling that Beyoncé probably doesn’t hear the word “no” a whole lot.
And yet that’s exactly what she’s being told by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which, as noted in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, has decided not to recognize her as a primary songwriter of “Listen” — her signature number from the film “Dreamgirls” — even though she is credited as one of the song’s four writers.
That means unless Beyoncé earns a Best Actress nod when the Academy Award nominations are announced on January 23, her name won’t be on the list. And even if “Listen” does land a nom for Best Original Song — which it is widely expected to do — she won’t be eligible to receive Oscar gold for the song.
Why not? Well, it has a lot to do with recently enacted rules, confidential committees and … well, general bad luck for our girl, B.
In 2005, the AMPAS ratified a pair of rules designed to limit the number of statuettes handed out on awards night. One of those rules — officially known as Rule 16 — capped the number of songwriters who can receive an Oscar at three, stating that “no more than two statuettes will normally be given,” but making a provision for a third statuette “when there are three essentially equal contributors to a song,” according to the organization’s Web site.
Rule 16 was meant as a way to combat the ballooning songwriting credits attached to songs submitted for Oscar consideration (seven different co-writers were credited on the Counting Crows’ nominated song “Accidentally in Love,” from 2004’s “Shrek 2″). AMPAS spokesperson Teni Melidonian told MTV News that the rule was enacted “to ensure that the songwriters/composers who made the greatest contributions to the song are recognized accordingly.”
In the event of a studio submitting a song with three or more credited songwriters, the executive committee of the Academy’s music branch — a committee made up of composers, songwriters and “individuals involved in making music for motion pictures” — determines which three writers made the greatest contribution to the song. And only those three individuals are eligible for an Academy Award.
According to Melidonian, in the case of “Listen” — which is credited in the soundtrack’s liner notes to Henry Krieger, Scott Cutler, Beyoncé Knowles and Anne Preven — the executive committee met in December, determined that of the four songwriters listed, Knowles contributed the least, and, as such, her name will not be included on Oscar ballots.
Melidonian declined to comment on how the committee arrived at its decision because it is “an internal AMPAS procedure.”
At press time, a spokesperson for Knowles had not responded to MTV News’ requests for comment, but her rep, Alan Nierob, told the Times, “It’s wrong to say that Beyonce was disqualified because she never qualified. Beyoncé is aware of the Oscar rule that says only three songwriters can be nominated. It’s all about percentages — how much each person contributed to the song. Beyoncé contributed greatly to ’Listen,’ but her percentage is lower, so she didn’t expect to be eligible for nomination. She’s very happy that her co-writers may be recognized.”
However, fans should take heart: “Listen” is also nominated for Best Original Song at the Golden Globe Awards — with Knowles’ name appearing alongside those of Krieger, Cutler and Preven (see ” Beyonce, ’Borat’ And ’Babel’ Lead Golden Globes” ).
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This story was originally published at 3:39 p.m. ET on 1.3.2007.