Brazil and Oscar, not a good match

The country was sure it’s time had come, only to see New Zealand take the statue away.

By Pedro Schuman

Oh, the Oscar fever. How quick it passes. Probably by now the memories of the pompous ceremony at the Kodak Theatre have already faded for most people: the audience, the organisers, the presenters and even the winners. They won their new golden naked friend and quickly placed them on their shelves in their huge mansions. A few probably forgot them at the back seat of a taxi. Not in Bahia. Somewhere in the heart of Salvador someone is cursing themselves for not doing a “macumba” that was strong enough.

Joking apart, the media frenzy in Brazil was so intense before this year’s Oscars that you would’ve thought that Brazil’s time had arrived not only economically but also at the biggest award stage in the world. True, it was only a musical category but the hype built around it by the press gave the fact as almost for certain, Brazil was definitely going to win.

Bird or Muppet?

This time it was easy, they said. The category was one Brazil is famous for: “Original Song”. Better still, it had just one other competitor! A 50% chance to finally win it after many years of getting close. The battle was on and the competition came in the form of a song about a puppet with an existential crises singing that he was not sure what he was, a man or a Muppet?

Brazil’s entry was written by two of world music’s biggest stars, Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown. One of them famous is the USA since the 60s that recently came back from the dead to collaborate with one of the biggest pop groups around, the Black Eyed Peas, and the other a recognised face in many parts of the world, including Europe and a big star in his home country, Brazil. The song praised the rhythms of the birds of feather and explained why “magic could happen for real in Rio”. Musically it was a pastiche of everything Mendes and Brown created in their career put into a blender, and that’s not to say the end result was juicy…

Some people even said that the nominees were actually not even good enough to deserve the customary live moment at the awards ceremony. But quality aside, no one in Brazil was betting the Oscar was actually going to an island close to Australia. To a Muppet!

Well, it did. Blind by the 50% chance of getting the Oscar the Brazilian press forgot to mention that the New Zealander in question is a darling in America, with his sucessful HBO show Flight of The Conchords. Not to mention how popular the Muppets actually are in the US and how many Academy Members probably have dear childhood memories of the show. Another important reason Brazilians should have thought twice was the view count on YouTube, with the Muppets song beating the Rio birds by a big margin.

Did Brazil ever really had a chance? Well it had a song that sounds like many others by the two artists involved. It was more energetic and more colourful. Did it deserve an Oscar? That is open for debate.

Listen to both songs and tell us what you think. Bird or Muppet?

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