WON AND SHOULD'VE WON: "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz
Between the years of 1938 and 1945, on seven occasions, the Academy nominated 10 or more entries in the Best Original Song category. The one year in that batch the Academy opted not to do - and instead rather strangely recognize just four tracks - was 1939.
What a damn shame that was, considering you could practically fill an entire category with just classics from The Wizard of Oz - not only the timeless, sumptuous "Over the Rainbow," unforgettably performed by Judy Garland (and later the likes of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Harry Nilsson and more), but also "We're Off to See the Wizard," "If I Only Had a Brain," "The Merry Old Land of Oz" and heck, even "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead."
Instead, inexplicably, the Academy nominated three supremely lackluster songs from other pictures - two truly grating tracks, "Faithful/Forever" from Paramount's first-ever animated feature Gulliver's Travels and "Wishing (Will Make It So)," which has to be the absolute worst part of the classic Love Affair. The final nominee, "I Poured My Heart into a Song," is a rather middling Irving Berlin effort, performed not-so-memorably by Tyrone Power in the not-so-memorable Berlin musical Second Fiddle.
Its competition aside, "Over the Rainbow" really is one of the all-time great movie songs - the American Film Institute understandably ranked it number one on their "100 Years...100 Songs" list - so even if the Academy screwed up by not nominating any other Oz classics and instead recognized garbage, at least they got the winner right.
The Oscar-winners ranked (thus far)...
- "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- "The Way You Look Tonight," Swing Time (1936)
- "Thanks for the Memory," The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
- "Lullaby of Broadway," Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
- "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
- "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)