It’s time once again for every opinionated person in the world to chime in with their rants and raves about who is up for an Academy Award for their work last year. Snubs and surprises are always a big part of the debate, as the awards are given on a relatively subjective playing field. The nominations were announced Tuesday morning for the 84th Annual Academy awards, and as usual there were some hits and misses.
One surprise was that only two songs were nominated in the Best Original Song category. Brett McKenzie was nominated for his song from “The Muppets,” entitled “Man or Muppet.” Sergio Mendes, Siedah Garrett, and Carlinhos Brown were also nominated for their song, “Real in Rio” from the motion picture “Rio.” In prior years, there have been a few more nominees, but this year it’s a two horse race.
We thought it might be fun to take a look back at a few of the more notable winners in the Best Original Song category.
“Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard Of Oz” (1939) – Easily one of the most influential films of all time, “The Wizard of Oz” is a classic film that stands the test of time, even today. The bold use of black and white and technicolor stunned audiences, but it was the music and performances that kept them coming back. Perhaps the most remembered and cherished song, thanks in large part to the inimitable Judy Garland’s iconic performance of it, was “Over the Rainbow,” a plaintive song of hope.
“When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio” (1940) – In terms of importance to the art of animated feature films, Walt Disney’s classic “Pinocchio” cannot be overstated. The hand-drawn animations were amazing and the backgrounds were works of art in their own right. Perhaps no song is more easily identified with Walt Disney and his company than this song is. A segment of the melody plays before every Disney distributed film.
“Theme from Shaft” from “Shaft” (1971) – The genre of film known as “Blacksploitation” turned out a surprise Oscar win for the theme song from one of its most memorable and famous films, “Shaft.” Starring Richard Roundtree as the titular character, the film stands as one of the top examples of its time. The song was written and performed by none other than the late Isaac Hayes.
“Fame” from “Fame” (1980) – Fans of both the film and the vintage 1980s era television drama know this song quite well. It was the perfect musical anthem and summation of the film’s message and story. Set around an inner-city performing arts high school, both the movie and the TV show had gritty performances and compelling drama. And who really doesn’t want to “live forever” after hearing this track?
“My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic” (1997) – Maybe a better title for the song would be “That One Song That You Couldn’t Go Anywhere Without Hearing For About Two Solid Years.” It will probably be remembered as much for breaking Celine Dion into mega stardom as anything else, and it’s probably one of the most overplayed songs in the history of recorded music. However, its place in cinematic history is important because it brought home one of eleven Oscars that night and is forever linked to one of the highest grossing films of all time, so you know this song will go on.