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This year, only two songs — a record low — were deemed worthy of Oscar nominations by the Academy’s music branch: “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets, music and lyrics by Flights of the Conchords‘ Bret McKenzie, and “Real in Rio” from Rio, music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, lyrics by Siedah Garrett. Today, THR is pleased to exclusively premiere a clip, provided to us by 20th Century Fox, of “Real in Rio” being performed by beautifully-animated exotic birds in Rio.
While The Muppets is currently getting a lot of press, with some of its celebrity supporters Tweeting their outrage that the Academy plans not to feature either song during its Oscar telecast on Feb. 26, the truth is that Rio has something even bigger going for it: Mendes.
The Brazilian, who will turn 71 on Saturday, helped to invent and popularize bossa nova in the 1960s, a decade during which he was one of the biggest musical sensations in the world, performing for tens of thousands in stadiums and giving command performances at the White House for two U.S. presidents.
Mendes, whose album “Brasileiro” won best world music album at the 1993 Grammys, remains tremendously well-known and well-liked — not least of all by Hollywood elites. As I mentioned earlier this week, of the 150 Oscar nominees in attendance at Monday’s Oscar nominees luncheon, his name generated one of the loudest rounds of applause.
Mendes has actually been to the Oscars before… in 1968, when he performed Burt Bacharach and Hal David‘s Oscar-nominated song “The Look of Love” from the film Casino Royale (1967) during the show. (His version made it all the way to #4 on the charts!) Though it looks like he won’t get to perform again on this year’s show, there is a 50/50 shot that he will get to do something that he didn’t get to do 44 years ago: take home an Oscar.
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