WON AND SHOULD'VE WON: "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Neptune's Daughter
'Pleasant' would have to be the word that most comes to mind when describing the Academy's picks for Best Original Song in 1949 - it's an all-around agreeable, appealing set of songs, though nothing quite veers into movie music greatness.
The selection I can get most excited about is the winner - the classic and iconic "Baby, It's Cold Outside," which here is performed charmingly by Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban, as well as Betty Garrett and Red Skelton. The tune was later covered by the likes of Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer and Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, among others, eventually becoming a go-to during the holiday season. It also marks the sole Oscar for composer Frank Loesser, who soon after this went on to barnstorm Broadway with Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I wouldn't rank "Baby, It's Cold Outside" among my favorite movie or holiday tunes, but it's typically performed so delightfully (as is the case here), that I can still easily get into it.
"It's a Great Feeling" marks another Doris Day-Jule Styne-Sammy Cahn collaboration and it's a fun, breezy track, but I don't find it quite as powerful as "It's Magic," which I selected as my favorite of the 1948 nominees. "Lavender Blue" is another nice selection, performed warmly by Oscar-winner Burl Ives, but it's ultimately too short to leave that significant an impression.
The remaining two nominees are a tad weaker. Come to the Stable is a terrific and enjoyable motion picture, but does anyone really remember this song from it, "Through a Long, Sleepless Night"? It's listenable, performed by Hugh Marlowe, but ultimately completely forgettable. As for "My Foolish Heart," which had the misfortune of debuting in the notoriously underwhelming film of its title (the J.D. Salinger adaptation so inept the author refused to ever again allow his work to be translated to the big screen), the orchestrations are very nice but it's basically as maudlin and sappy as its film.
Onward to the '50s!
The Oscar-winners ranked (thus far)...
- "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- "The Way You Look Tonight," Swing Time (1936)
- "You'll Never Know," Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
- "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," The Harvey Girls (1946)
- "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Neptune's Daughter (1949)
- "White Christmas," Holiday Inn (1942)
- "When You Wish Upon a Star," Pinocchio (1940)
- "Thanks for the Memory," The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
- "Lullaby of Broadway," Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
- "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," Song of the South (1947)
- "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair (1945)
- "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady Be Good (1941)
- "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
- "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
- "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)
- "Buttons and Bows," The Paleface (1948)