Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Friday, 13 February 2009

Peter Gabriel pulls out of Oscars

Peter Gabriel
Gabriel is nominated for his first Oscar for the animated film Wall-E

Peter Gabriel has pulled out of the Oscar ceremony after learning his performance as a best song nominee would be limited to just 65 seconds.

The singer, co-nominated for Down To Earth from Wall-E, said he had hoped to perform the song in its entirety.

The three shortlisted songs will be performed as part of a medley.

"It's a bit unfortunate," said Gabriel in a video on his website, adding that he was "an old fart" who could afford to "make a little protest".

The Academy had no comment.

Ceremony revamp

In a change to previous years, producers - eager to bolster viewing figures for the Oscar ceremony later this month - have chosen to cut back on song performances.

But the British singer, nominated alongside American composer Thomas Newman, said songwriters "deserve a place in the ceremony as well".

"The songwriters are a very small part of the filmmaking process, but we still work bloody hard," he said.

Gabriel, 59, in the running for his first Oscar, said he hoped the Soweto Gospel Choir would perform in his place but added that he will still attend the ceremony on 22 February.

World music

"I'm an old fart and it's not going to do me any harm to make a protest. But the ceremony should be fun and I'm looking forward to it."

Down To Earth is nominated alongside two songs from Slumdog Millionaire by Indian composer AR Rahman.

It lost out to Bruce Springsteen's track from The Wrestler at the Golden Globes last month.

Peter Gabriel, a former member of Genesis, had a string of hit albums in the 1980s.

More recently, he has become well-known for his promotion of world music and his involvement in the charity, Womad.

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