WON AND SHOULD'VE WON: "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," The Man Who Knew Too Much
Ah, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, circa 1956. This could've been such a swell year at the Oscars, had you just given Giant the full sweep. Alas, Around the World in Eighty Days? Yul Brynner and Anthony Quinn hamming it up? At least Ingrid Bergman and especially Dorothy Malone were aces, and George Stevens prevailed to boot.
With that said, Best Original Song is a category the Academy got right in 1956.
The Man Who Knew Too Much's "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," performed memorably by Doris Day, is really one of the all-time great winners in this category, probably a contender for my top 10 when all is said and done. Sure, it's a rather short track but Day's exquisite vocal sells it from the get-go and it's catchy as can be. That it's featured in a terrific picture certainly doesn't hurt either. Less, unfortunately, can be said for "Julie," also performed by Day this year - her vocal is very nice on that one too but it's not a terribly memorable song and I find the background vocals more eerie than anything. Also, not that is matters much, but Julie is no The Man Who Knew Too Much.
The other three nominees fall somewhere in the middle of the two Day nominees, though closer to "Julie" in quality.
I adore Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind for its stunning art direction, costumes, cinematography, juicy performances and brilliant directing but, approaching this category, I couldn't even recall the Four Aces' title track to the picture. Revisiting it, I still don't find it very noteworthy, though it's enjoyably corny in the same fashion of "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing" (which, of course, I still ranked dead last in its line-up).
I also really like Friendly Persuasion but the sappy-as-molasses Pat Boone title song? Meh. Cole Porter's "True Love" from High Society, performed by Bing Crosby with a modest assist from Grace Kelly, is a little more agreeable, if mostly devoid of energy or enthusiasm. Really, nothing comes remotely close to the winning song this year.
The Oscar-winners ranked (thus far)...
- "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- "The Way You Look Tonight," Swing Time (1936)
- "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
- "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)
- "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, On My Darlin')," High Noon (1952)
- "Secret Love," Calamity Jane (1953)
- "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)
- "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," Here Comes the Groom (1951)
- "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
- "Three Coins in the Fountain," Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
- "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)