Academy Award for Best Original Song
This award began with the seventh Oscar’s in 1934. The award goes to the composers and writers of the songs, not to the performer unless they contributed to the creation of the song. So typically for the performer there is only the exposure, adulation and people buying their music, but no statue. I discuss this in ‘From the Movies’ posts (parts 1 & 2) though not all of them Oscar winners so there are many more great songs to talk about.
The first winner was “The Continental” performed in the movie by Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Erik Rhodes and Lillian Miles. Con Conrad (music) and Herb Magidson (lyrics). From the Movie ‘The Gay Divorcee’, I’m guessing this title meant something different back in 1934. This song was first released on a record in 1934 by Will Osborne and His Orchestra with vocals by Will Osborne, it has been covered over 70 times. Frank Sinatra (1954).
The winner in 1936 is a song I guarantee you have heard before “The Way You Look Tonight” Written by Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern, performed in the movie ‘Swing Time’ by Fred Astaire. The first recording is actually from someone born and raised in my hometown of London, Ontario, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians which predates the movie release by about a month, the vocals are by his brother Carmen Lombardo. Next was ‘Fred Astaire with Johnny Green and His Orchestra‘. This song is of course not only beautiful, amazing and a classic but one of the lynch pins of The Great American Songbook. Covered over 450 times (even as recently as last year) by artists such as; Teddy Wilson and His Orchestra with the legend Billie Holiday (1936), Tony Bennett (1958), Connie Francis (1963), Frank Sinatra (1964), and perhaps the most well know cover of late Michael Bublé (2003).
“Over the Rainbow” (1939) written by Harold Arlen (music) and Yip Harburg (lyrics), performed of course by Judy Garland. As this is the third time I’ve mentioned this song I’ll keep it short, Covered over 1000 times and one that you just can’t hear too many times ‘Israel Kamakawiwo’ole‘ (1990).
The 1963 movie ‘Papa’s Delicate Condition’ produced the song “Call Me Irresponsible” written by the amazing and prolific Jimmy Van Heusen (music) and the winner of four Oscars, Sammy Cahn (lyrics). Performed in the movie by Jackie Gleason. Covered first by Frank Sinatra in 1963.
Jumping ahead to the more recent, from the movie ‘Selma’ (2014) was the song “Glory” written by Rhymefest, Common and John Legend, performed by Common and John Legend. Evvie McKinney from the talent show ‘The Four’ in 2018. This song also won a BET Award, Golden Globe and a Grammy Award.
It is not uncommon for an animated movie song to win this category as was the case with last years winner from ‘Coco’. “Remember Me” written by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Performed by various characters in the movie but on the soundtrack is a pop version from Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade.
This years winner is …
References: https://secondhandsongs.com/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
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