According to Nikki Finke over at Deadline Hollywood Daily, Peter Gabriel has pulled out of the Oscars. As most people know, the Oscars are being revamped this year with new producers Mark Condon and Larry Mark. One change is the original songs will be performed in a medley (90 seconds each) rather than in their entirety. According to Gabriel, he was only offered 65 seconds. If that is true, then I'm not really sure why the Academy would do that.
I actually think this is a bad idea. For the most part, I enjoy the songs as part of the telecast. It's also an Oscar tradition and I have a feeling that they will go back after people complain this year. I'm assuming that Gabriel will be replaced, but it won't be the same. Also, Gabriel is a great performer, so whoever it is will probably not in be in the same league as him. This is a big loss.
It should also be interesting to see if Gabriel's announcement will hurt the song's chances to win the Oscar. Sometimes if the Academy knows someone is no showing the ceremony, they may be less inclined to vote for them. This is a development I will keep my eye on and see if Gabriel changes his mind.