The Oscar-nominated song "Blame Canada," an obscenity-laced song about censorship from the South Park movie, has put ABC's censors and the producers of the Academy Awards in a quandary.
ABC has told producers they need to either clean up or bleep out profanity in the tune so that it can be performed with the four other best-song nominees on the March 26 Oscars telecast, composer Marc Shaiman, who wrote the song with South Park co-creator Trey Parker, told Reuters on Wednesday..
In the song, angry parents and community leaders in the United States condemn Canada for exporting an obscenity-laced kids' movie they accuse of corrupting their children.
The song contains such expletives as the notorious "f"-word, a different "f"-word that means an expulsion of intestinal gas, and a swipe at a famed Canadian singer-songwriter, "that bitch Anne Murray."
"We'll figure out a creative way to make light of the whole situation," Shaiman said. "It's a song about censorship from a movie about censorship, so the irony is not lost on any of us that we're being asked to censor the song."
Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, told Reuters the producers have devised a few "clever" ways to "work around the big f-word" and are trying to decide which is funniest. However, "we're not looking to pioneer in that area."
Davis said the word bitch has already become fairly commonplace on prime-time television. He added, "Anne Murray has been very gracious about the reference to her and finds the song very amusing ... so we probably will deliver that line. We tried to get her to sing that line, but she's on tour and can't do it, but she liked the idea."
The big question is what to do about the second "f" word. According to Davis, the academy, songwriters and ABC are "still in conference" over that one.
Shaiman joked that the academy should urge this year's Oscar presenters and recipients to "incorporate the word ... into their intros and speeches, so that by the time the song rolls around, the censors will be in a coma."
"I never thought I'd grow up to be the person who is fighting the good fight so that fart could be said on the Academy Awards, but if that is my mission in life, so be it," he added.
As it happens, "Blame Canada" is one of the cleaner songs from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, whose soundtrack also includes such chestnuts as "Uncle Fukka" and "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch."
Still, the surprise nomination of "Blame Canada" is posing a unusual dilemma for this year's Oscar broadcast.
"I'm not aware that we have ever had quite that problem before," Davis said. "Everybody knew what the movie was like, and part of the joke was that the songs were scatological and foul to the extreme."
"Blame Canada" is up against much tamer fare in the contest for the best-song Oscar — Diane Warren's "Music of My Heart" from Music of the Heart; Aimee Mann's "Save Me" from Magnolia, Randy Newman's "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2 and Phil Collins' "You'll Be In My Heart" from Tarzan.