Producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman think that their two most recent films — last year’s R-rated “The Fighter” and this fall’s family fare “The Muppets” — have a lot in common. As Hoberman told Chris Beachum and Rob Licuria, “In many ways, it’s the same story — basically, the underdog that has to fight the bad guy, whether it’s your own family or an oil baron and ends up winning in the end. The only constant was us and Amy Adams.”
Their well-received relaunch of the Muppet franchise was directed by James Bobin and written by star Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller. Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) thought it, “blessedly unironic by nature until wised up by nurture, the movie is just shiny, funny, and filled with songs.” And those tunes could be the film’s best hopes for awards recognition.
Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords penned two of them: “Life’s a Happy Song” and “Man or Muppet” while “Pictures in My Head,” was written by Aris Archontis, Jeannie Lurie, and Chen Neeman. Emmy champ Christophe Beck (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) composed the original score
In 1979, “The Muppet Movie” was nominated for Best Original Song — “Rainbow Connection” lost to “It Goes Like It Goes” from “Norma Rae” — while “All That Jazz” beat it for Best Song/Adaptation Score. In 1981, “The Great Mupper Caper” tune “The First Time it Happens” lost Best Original Song to “Arthur’s Theme” from the comedy “Arthur.” And in 1984 “The Muppets Take Manhattan” was bested for Best Song Score by “Purple Rain.”
Hoberman and Lieberman were nominated last year for co-producing Best Picture nominee “The Fighter” along with leading man Mark Wahlberg. While it lost that bid, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo did prevail in the supporting categories with Leo besting, among others, Adams.