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We’re months away from learning who is up for an Academy Award, but fans are hoping Doja Cat scores a nod for “Vegas,” the original song she performed for the Baz Luhrmann biopic, Elvis. But, will the Academy recognize a song that samples a previously existing hit?
Variety took a deep dive into Doja’s chances of scoring her first Oscar nod and ruled: “Maybe.” The issue here is that “Vegas” samples a portion of Big Mama Thornton‘s 1952 hit “Hound Dog.” Elvis later covered the song in 1956.
Doja credits “Hound Dog” songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in her new track, which uses the line “you ain’t nothin’ but a…” repeatedly. The outlet notes herein lies the issue with her song’s eligibility.
The Oscars mandate that nominated songs “must be the result of a creative interaction between the filmmaker(s) and the composer(s) and/or songwriter(s) who have been engaged to work directly on the motion picture.” That condition might not have been satisfied since Lieber died in 2011; it’s been reported Stoller was not involved in the movie.
Variety also notes Leiber and Stoller might be excluded from consideration themselves because they would be considered “partial contributors,” which, according to the Oscar’s rulebook, are those who were “not responsible for the overall design of the work.”
Finally, a song “must be a clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition” in the movie — of which Variety notes that less than 45 seconds of “Vegas” appears in the film. The portion used is the “Hound Dog” interpolation.
Despite this, it appears Doja’s song has found itself in a gray area because of its unique story and nature. It is unknown at this time if she’s up for an Oscar, but we’ll find out when nominations are announced on January 24.
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