In a little over a month, Taylor Swift will take over theaters across America with her forthcoming concert movie, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour. The title is already heading toward a massive opening weekend, with perhaps $100 million or more in ticket sales. But can the film earn the singer a coveted Academy Award nomination?
Shortly after the superstar announced Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, The Wrap highlighted the fact that the movie was not going to compete for an Oscar, at least in one specific category. The title is not eligible for Best Documentary Feature, which some fans immediately suggested it could be submitted for once news of the project broke online.
“Works that are essentially promotional or instructional are not eligible, nor are works that are essentially unfiltered records of performances,” states rules outlined by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the organization that awards the Oscars.
Those guidelines make it pretty clear that Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour won’t win the singer any trophies as a documentarian, but that’s not the only field in which the movie could be eligible. If Swift writes and records a new song for the project, she could submit her movie for the Best Original Song Oscar instead.
While the bulk of the movie will surely feature Swift performing her biggest hits on stage, she could certainly find a space to include a new track if she wants to. There’s no word yet on whether Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour will also include any footage that’s not performance-based, such as her preparation for the show, backstage moments or more. There could potentially be plenty of opportunities for Swift to work in a new composition, but for the moment, she’s keeping quiet as to whether or not she’s done so.
According to AMPAS rules regarding Best Original Song submissions, “An original song consists of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the motion picture.” The tune in question must also be “used in the body of the motion picture or as the first music cue in the end credits.”
Swift could conceivably write and record a new song and play it at the tail end of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour and meet eligibility requirements. In the past, tracks ended up in the running for this prize when they only played over the credits, but that was changed several years ago. Now, the tune must actually be in the film, but only a small portion. Several recent nominated songs have essentially ended a picture by beginning while the movie is still going (but before the credits have started), so this is a tried-and-true method of securing eligibility.
Swift has been working toward an Oscar nomination for years, but so far, the honor has eluded her. She was attempting to earn a Best Live Action Short Film nod recently for her All Too Well: The Short Film music video last year, but it fell short. She has also been nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Original Song a number of times, but somehow, none of that work has translated into an Academy Award nomination.
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour could change that, but there’s no telling whether it’s even eligible until Swift announces a new song…or it hits theaters and fans are treated to the tune without warning.