The disqualification has been attributed to a designation within Rule 16 of the Academy's Special Rules for Music Awards
(5d under "Eligibility"), which excludes "scores diluted by the use of tracked themes or other pre-existing music."
Greenwood's score contains roughly 35 minutes of original recordings and roughly 46 minutes of pre-existing work (including selections from the works of Arvo Pärt, as well as pieces in the public domain, such as Johannes Brahms' "Concerto in D Major"). Peripheral augmentation to the score included sporadic but minimal useage (15 minutes) of the artist's 2006 composition "Popcorn Superhet Receiver."
"Popcorn" is a 20-minute work commissioned by the BBC in 2005. The piece premiered at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall in November of 2006.
All musical inclusions were indicated on the score's cue sheet, of which the Academy has been in possession since early December. The organization had over a month to run over rules and eligibility, sending out reminder sheets to Academy voters that included Greenwood's score for consideration along the way.
Other scores that were deemed ineligible include "Enchanted" and "Into the Wild," from Alan Menken and Michael Brook respectively. Both were disqualified due to the "predominant use of songs." But sources say Paramount Vantage was alerted to the ineligibility of "Into the Wild" far in advance. The situation with "Blood," however, has come at the last minute, catching the studio entirely off guard.
Vantage was made aware of the Academy's "Blood" decision on January 19, seven days after balloting closed. Greenwood himself first received word via postal mail from the Academy at his home in London on January 17. Price Waterhouse has been instructed to discount all votes for Greenwood on Academy ballots.
According to the studio, the Academy's decision has also come, in part, due to a situation which arose with Nino Rota's score for "The Godfather" in 1972, which was pulled from the list of nominees after it was discovered that the film's love theme was used in another film, 1958's "Fortunella." The Academy would like to right a wrong now rather than withdraw a nomination further down the road. "The Godfather Part II" won the original score Oscar and featured the same love theme which rendered Rota's initial score ineligible.
Sources at the studio say that, though they are baffled by the surprising turn of events, they respect the Academy's decision. They only wish they had been advised of the situation in enough time to properly appeal it.