In the age of the playlist, we should recognize the people assembling previously published and original music for films.
Hollywood's film-music scene received a blow this year when, for the first time, the Academy nominated only two tracks for Best Original Song: one from The Muppets, and one from the animated Rio. It's a subject that's already generated complaints--about the quality of songs, the Academy's arcane nomination rules, and the decoupling of Hollywood with the recording industry. What's inarguable, however, is that film music has changed. It's the rare modern song written for a film that becomes an enduring hit like Jerome Kern's "The Way You Look Tonight," and it's the even rarer film score that stands alone in the manner of, say, Bernard Hermann's "Psycho." Today's composers are often required to write music that fits a contemporary, often more interstitial, film's tone and form; the proclivities of the director; and in a larger sense, the broad aesthetics of an increasingly less patient, Internet-raised pop culture.
How should the Academy respond?
Why not by adding a new category that the Grammys have included since 2000: Best Musical Soundtrack? To be fair, a "soundtrack" might be considered property of the music industry only: many soundtrack albums cannot, due to clearance rights and budget issues, include every sound and song you hear in a movie. The Grammys awards "soundtrack" albums, specifically: products. But the Oscars should consider "Musical Soundtrack" a category of creative work, like Art Direction. Musical Soundtrack could distinguish itself by referring to pre-written songs, original songs, an original or pre-written score, and any other notes and chords heard in the course of a film.