Sampling the Oscars

A semi-rhetorical question today: When is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscar people) going to have to distinguish what constitutes a "new" film?

For the purposes of the Academy Awards, the Academy already distinguishes what constitutes "new" in regards to songs for film– in 1995, Coolio‘s "Gangsta’s Paradise" was not eligible for nomination for Best Song because it was based on a sample from Stevie Wonder‘s "Pastime Paradise" off of Songs in the Key of Life. (Go buy it, it’s a great album…)

The question then becomes, what constitues an original work in film? If the Academy had wanted to give the Star Wars Special Edition releases awards for their visual effects in 1997, what would the protocol be? And when some future film is inevitably created from a collage of "samples" of scenes from existing films, what will the industry do?

I suppose we would have already faced this question in the late 80’s in the music industry, if they had been willing to consider Public Enemy as being worthy of the Best Album Grammy…