Bret McKenzie is up for an exceedingly rare honor this year, with his ballad "Man or Muppet" earning one of just two nominations in the Oscars' best song category.
Bret McKenzie is up for an exceedingly rare honor this year, with his ballad "Man or Muppet" earning one of just two nominations in the Oscars' best song category. I caught up with The Muppets' musical supervisor today at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank to chat about the awards attention and the unique experience of penning music for Kermit and company. The New Zealand native talked about fighting the temptation to use the word "motherfrogger" in his songwriting and the roundabout way he came on board The Muppets project in the first place. Bret — who previously was best known as one half of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords — also shared his hopes of bringing FOC to the big screen. Check out our conversation below:
PopSugar: It's got to be an honor to be nominated for an Oscar, but also in a year when the Academy only bothered to nominate two songs.
Bret McKenzie: They barely nominated anyone! When I found out, it sounded like there'd been a mistake, and yeah, it's a huge honor. It's great and it's really exciting, and I'm not complaining that there's only two nominees the year I'm nominated. I mean, this is the best chance I'll have of winning an Oscar, ever. It couldn't have been better, unless there was just one nomination, and then it would be a very dull ceremony . . . There's a lot of legendary musicians — tunesmiths — in that list of possible nominations. So it's all very surreal to think that I got in ahead of Elton John.
PS: And Madonna. Those two had a little rivalry going on.
BM: I know. I got nervous about what Elton John's husband was going to say about me. It's crazy, and it's great for The Muppets film, because we're all really proud of the film and it wasn't ever really going to get a best actor. Hey, Jason's good, that's not what I mean, but Kermit, Miss Piggy — they can't win these awards — and comedies don't generally get recognized at these awards ceremonies, so it's kind of cool. It's almost like the film as a whole is being recognized with this category.
For more from our chat with Bret, including what he says about his plans for a Flight of the Conchords film, coaching Jason Segel, and the pressure he felt on the project, just read more