1945 Best Original Song - Vera-Ellen Steals the Show

WON: "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair

SHOULD'VE WON: "So in Love," Wonder Man

At last, we have arrived at 1945, the final year (to date, at least) in which the Academy nominated 10 or more entries in the Best Original Song category. In fact, they went out with something of a bang, recognizing a hefty 14 songs. Ultimately, I'm afraid to say, there isn't enough strong material at play here to even fill up a solid category of five.

Let's get the most lackluster nominees out of the way first: "More and More" marks yet another rather bombastic Deanna Durbin song recognized by the Academy; "Love Letters" is just as melodramatic and ludicrous as the Jennifer Jones-Joseph Cotton yarn it hails from (though it was admittedly a decent hit back in the day and later used quite effectively in David Lynch's Blue Velvet); "I'll Buy That Dream" sounds and is staged like a gratingly cheerful TV commercial; and "Linda," clocking in at about one minute in length, is just inexplicable as an Oscar nominee in every regard.

Then there are the nicely performed, but mostly forgettable numbers: "I Fall in Love Too Easily," charmingly delivered by Frank Sinatra but not one of the more memorable moments from the delightful Anchors Aweigh; Bing Crosby doing fine, serviceable deliveries of "Aren't You Glad You're You" and "Accentuate the Positive"; and then Martha Mears (dubbing for Rita Hayworth) and Dinah Shore in lovely form on the undistinguished "Anywhere" and "Some Sunday Morning," respectively.

I can't knock the win for "It Might As Well Be Spring" too much - I do adore State Fair, Jeanne Crain sounds terrific and I'm certainly glad Rodgers and Hammerstein were able to pick up an Oscar in their tremendous careers. I'm just not sure it's really a standout moment from the film or even one of the best Rodgers and Hammerstein pieces.

Contrast that with "So in Love," a truly dynamite number from a not-so-dynamite film, that nonetheless lifts its picture to high heavens, even if it's only for about six and a half minutes. The song itself is terrific and it's staged just marvelously on screen, beautifully choreographed and performed exquisitely by Vera-Ellen, who really doesn't get enough recognition these days. "So in Love" is perhaps the most purely fun song I've come across thus far in Best Original Song.

The Oscar-winners ranked (thus far)...

  1. "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  2. "The Way You Look Tonight," Swing Time (1936)
  3. "You'll Never Know," Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
  4. "White Christmas," Holiday Inn (1942)
  5. "When You Wish Upon a Star," Pinocchio (1940)
  6. "Thanks for the Memory," The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
  7. "Lullaby of Broadway," Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
  8. "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair (1945)
  9. "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady Be Good (1941)
  10. "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
  11. "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
  12. "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)