Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.

Donate

Oscar has honored lots of great songs but bypassed a bunch of other memorable music

A lot of great songs have won Academy Awards since the first Oscar in the category was handed out to honor 1934 films.

But over the years, a lot of other deserving nominees haven’t been so lucky in the Best Original Song category.

I never really minded when one of my favorites fell, other than the realization that stellar runner-up songs often fade from memory as Oscar-worthy compositions.

Musical favorites, or course, are a matter of personal taste and as hard to agree on as any Oscar category.

As we get ready for Sunday’s ceremonies, you can check out this roundup of all the winning songs, their competitors and the category’s rule changes over the years.

And you can see how often you agree with the judges. Feel free to set the voters straight on a better choice in the Comment section below.

Without trying to take anything away from the winning song, I wanted to take a look at 10 years when I thought an equally fine song was passed over.

And then I’m ending with the most spectacularly competitive year in Oscar history when all five nominees were so popular with the public that they all reached No. 1 on the charts.

This is the second of my two Academy Award lists. You can check out last week’s one here. (And for the record, the years listed below refer to the films’ release dates.)

The 10 years
1935: Irving  Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek,” from “Top Hat,” which lost to “Lullaby of Broadway,”  originally from “Gold Diggers of 1935.”

1944: Judy Garland’s “Trolley Song,” from “Meet Me in St. Louis,” was bested by Bing Crosby’s “Swinging on a Star,” from “Going My Way.”

1946: Hoagy Carmichael’s “Ole Buttermilk Sky,”  from “Canyon Passage,” which lost to “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe,” another Judy Garland song, from “The Harvey Girls.”

1953: Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore,” from “The Caddy,” which lost to Doris Day’s “Secret Love,” from “Calamity Jane.”

1956: The Bing Crosby-Grace Kelly duet of Cole Porter’s “True Love,” from “High Society,” which lost to another Doris Day song, “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera),”  from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”

1963: Henry Mancini’s “Charade,” from the Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn thriller “Charade,” was beaten by “Call Me Irresponsible,” from “Papa’s Delicate Condition.”

1969: Glen  Campbell’s “True Grit,” the theme song from theoriginal ersion of the like-titled John Wayne film, which in a battle of “outlaw” shows lost to “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

1975: Barbra Streisand’s “How Lucky Can You Get,” from “Funny Lady,” which lost to “I’m Easy,” from Robert Altman’s “Nashville,” one of my favorite films.

1979:  Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection,” from “The Muppet Movie,” which lost to “It Goes Like It Goes,” from “Norma Rae.”

1993: Harry Connick Jr.’s “A Wink and a Smile,” from “Sleepless in Seattle,” which realistically never had a chance of beating the Boss and the socially conscious “Streets of Philadelphia,” from “Philadelphia.”

* * * *

And then the most special year for Oscar songs — 1984 — the only time all five nominated songs had hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100:  

Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You,”  from “The Woman in Red,” won the Oscar. But the unprecedented competition also included:

–Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now),” from “Against All Odds.”

–Ray Parker Jr.’s “Ghostbusters,” from “Ghostbusters.”

–And two songs from “Footloose” — Kenny Loggins’ title song and Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” 

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by rolf westgard on 02/24/2012 - 12:45 pm.

    Those other songs

    I’m no music expert, but I am with you, Don, on several of those 2nd place songs.

Leave a Reply