That year at the Oscars, there were only two nominees for the award for Best Original Song (the other being from Rio) but there’s no doubt this song would still have taken top prize anyway. Having spent a lot of time with The Muppets and his brother Walter, Gary (Jason Segel) completely forgets about his anniversary with Mary (Amy Adams). He shows up to make things right, however, he finds that she’s already left. She leaves him a note, asking him a pivotal question: Is he a man or a Muppet? Gary and Walter sing about the uncertainties of who they are, and see their reflections as the opposite species (With Sheldon Cooper himself, Jim Parsons, portraying the human version of Walter).
Bret McKenzie is a genius for writing this song; it’s just perfect. Everything that needs to be said about these two characters, a grown man who has spent too much time protecting and being there for his brother when he didn’t need it to the point he neglected is love, and a kid who believes that he has no talent and doesn’t belong amongst his idols, comes out brilliantly. It’s when they come to their final conclusion and realise who they are, and they utter the last line “That’s what I am” that I’m not afraid to admit I tear up a little bit. It’s the happiness of these 2 characters discovering their true selves that makes an emotional impact on the viewer. On top of all that, Jason Segel is a surprisingly good singer, and Jim Parsons was the only cameo not confirmed at the time, so seeing him pop up was a lovely surprise.
'Man or Muppet' is the perfect theme song to a perfect film, and one of the most deserving songs in the awards history.