Saturday, February 26, 2011

Remember When Oscar Songs Didn't Suck?

Remember when the Oscar for Best Original Song included a field of noms you had not only heard of, but cared about? Anymore, every nomination seems to be A) from an animated kiddie movie or B) composed by Randy Newman. Oh, wait, those are kind of one and the same. (Among 21 nods for Song and Score, Newman has won only once: for 2002's "If I Didn't Have You" from "Monsters, Inc.," which nobody has ever heard of.)

You have to go all the way back to 2002 before you find a victor that isn't wholly dubious: Eminem's loud, angry "Lose Yourself" from "8 Mile." Before that, it was Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart" in 1999 (granted, from animated "Toy Story").

Oh, for the days of Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," "I've Had (The Time of My Life)" from Jennifer Warnes and Bill Medley, Irene Cara's "Flashdance," "Take My Breath Away" from Berlin, "Beauty and the Beast" from Dion & Peabo Bryson (geez, again animated), "Up Where We Belong" from Jennifer Warnes & Joe Cocker, Cara's "Fame," "Arthur's Theme" from Christopher Cross (which, curses, trumped the more deserving "For Your Eyes Only" from Sheena Easton)...

"Last Dance" from Donna Summer, Debby Boone's "You Light Up My Life," Barbra Streisand's "Evergreen" and "The Way We Were," Maureen McGovern's "The Poseidon Adventure" or B.J. Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head."

You get the point. These songs are classics—markers of their era, made all the more noteworthy by their association with films. A win-win.

Where the fuck is Cher's "You Haven't Seen the Last Of Me" in 2011, which won the Golden Globe for writer Diane Warren? This year's nominations: "Almost There" and "Down in New Orleans" by Newman from "The Princess and the Frog"; "The Weary Kind (Theme from Crazy Heart)"; "Loin de Paname" from French musical "Paris 36" (?!?!); and "Take It All" from the flop musical "Nine." Oh, good god, who cares? What a flaccid category. Where's Esparanza Spalding when you need her?