WON AND SHOULD'VE WON: "Mona Lisa," Captain Carey, U.S.A.
I've always been quite fond of the 1950 Oscars - not only does it include one of my all-time favorite pictures (Billy Wilder's sensational Sunset Boulevard), but you have unimpeachable classics like All About Eve, Born Yesterday, The Third Man and (to a little lesser extent quality-wise, but still great) Father of the Bride in there too with lots of nominations.
Best Original Song in 1950, I'm afraid, is more of a mixed bag, with really only two particularly memorable nominees - one, the winning "Mona Lisa," and second, the catchy-as-can-be "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo."
"Mona Lisa," featured in the forgettable Alan Ladd war pic Captain Carey, U.S.A., is performed sumptuously here by the always-marvelous Nat King Cole. I consider myself quite a Cole fan and while I've never typically considered "Mona Lisa" among my favorite tunes of his', I am awfully taken by it during this revisit. His performance, coupled with the rich orchestrations, makes for a simply irresistible product.
I do like "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" as well - it has admittedly been stuck in my head in recent days as I've run through this category, and Verna Felton's delivery of it is pitch-perfect. At the same time, I would probably argue Cinderella's "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" and "The Work Song" were even more deserving of Oscar nods. And at less than a minute and a half, the song is a little on the fleeting side. Still, it is an iconic and memorable tune and I wouldn't be protesting much if it had prevailed.
The other three nominees are tough to get very excited about. "Be My Love" is richly performed by Kathryn Grayson and Mario Lanza but the song itself isn't terribly interesting, a rather cookie-cutter duet from the lackluster musical The Toast of New Orleans. "Wilhelmina," performed by Betty Grable, reeks of a '50s television commercial jingle. And "Mule Train," while mildly endearing with its "clippetty-clop" chorus, just isn't anywhere near in the same league as something like "Mona Lisa."
The Oscar-winners ranked (thus far)...
- "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- "The Way You Look Tonight," Swing Time (1936)
- "Mona Lisa," Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950)
- "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)