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'Blame Canada'?

Songwriter Trey Parker, left, and composer Marc Shaiman don't expect to take home an Oscar Sunday night, but Parker insists he knew they would get a nomination for their obscenity-laced tune
Song clip: MP3 or WAV sound

Raunchy song's creators tuning up for Oscar night

March 23, 2000
Web posted at: 2:59 p.m. EST (1959 GMT)

In this story:

Singing the F-word

Satirizing finger pointers


Should we blame the government?
Should we blame society?
Should we blame the images on TV?
No! Blame Canada! Blame Canada!

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- "Blame Canada" is the sole Oscar nomination earned by the animated movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut." Peppered with four-letter words, it's created a chorus of speculation as its date with TV on the Academy Awards ceremony nears.

The song, in which the mothers of South Park seek a scapegoat for their children's filthy language and disobedient behavior, has been nominated for best original song.

That didn't surprise Trey Parker, one of the creators of "South Park," who co-wrote the movie with Matt Stone.

The tongue-in-cheek song "Blame Canada" is sung by the mothers of South Park. They blame the nation to the north for their kid's behaviorial problems  

"I was like, 'We're going to get nominated for an Academy Award for this.' I really was," Parker says, nudging composer Marc Shaiman. "I even told him."

But predicting it and having it come true are, of course, two different things -- as are getting a nomination and actually winning the Oscar.

Parker harbors no illusions on that score. He suspects older Academy voters will overlook his song in favor of more sentimental numbers in competition: "Music of My Heart" from the movie "Music of the Heart," "Save Me" from "Magnolia," Randy Newman's "When She Loved Me" from "Toy Story 2," or Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" from "Tarzan."

"And that's why we don't have a chance to actually win," Parker says. "People don't realize (that) it's a different group that nominates you than actually votes for you to win."

· Get the bios on nominated stars
· Review those nominated plotlines and movie trailers
· Cast your unofficial Oscar ballot
· Visit the Oscar message board
· ...and more!

Singing the F-word

But for now, winning isn't as much a concern as the song's performance on Oscar night (this Sunday, March 26; the broadcast starts on ABC at 8 p.m. ET, with the awards ceremony beginning 30 minutes later). The Academy virtually requires all nominated songs be aired during the show.

Unlike the other nominated songs, "South Park's" "Blame Canada" is loaded with un-airable language -- not nearly as much as some of the other songs in the movie, viewers know, but more than you'd probably expect.

It certainly has more profanity than Parker and Shaiman were prepared to change for viewers at home. They were unwilling to write new, TV-friendly lyrics for the tune, as ABC censors requested.

"We're not being unreasonable," Shaiman says. "We understand there's the F-word, and you're not going to say that on network TV, the big F-word. But there's the other F-word they don't want to say: that's 'fart.'

"And they're like, 'We can't say that on the air,' and I was really surprised. We're like, ''Fart'? What's wrong with 'fart'?"

Finding someone who would sing the song for the Academy Awards was another issue. Their first choice, Canadian singer Anne Murray -- called "that bitch" in the song, though Parker says she's OK with the line -- declined.

Williams is to perform the controversial song on the awards show  

Who else to sing it? Parker and Shaiman next suggested Robin Williams, and he accepted.

"We thought he could pull it off and he would get it, and not cheese it up too much," says Parker. "It was either that or go the other route and have, like, Jewel do it acoustically." He laughs at the very idea.

Satirizing finger pointers

The song has nothing to do with the current battle over film and TV productions fleeing Hollywood for Toronto and Vancouver. In fact, Parker and Shaiman say, it's really not even about Canada.

"We're making fun of people who pick ridiculous targets to blame anything about what's going on in their lives, so Canada was just the perfect, ridiculous, innocuous choice for a target," says Shaiman.

Parker advises celebrities and viewers at home to bring their sense of humor with them. He's bringing his.

"It's ... just going to be a total trip, and I'm just going to enjoy it," Parker says. "Because I'm sure I'll never be back."

Mary Kay Bergman, voice-over actress, dead
November 17, 1999
'Tarzan,' 'South Park' scores shut out of Oscars
December 8, 1999
What Park? 'South Park'? Not us.
August 30, 1999
Summer of the big box-office gross (out)
July 8, 1999
Chef keeps Isaac Hayes' career simmering along
July 7, 1999

Official 'South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut' site
Comedy Central: 'South Park'
South Park Central (fan site)

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