1968 - Best Original Song
The nominees were...
WON AND SHOULD'VE WON: "The Windmills of Your Mind," The Thomas Crown Affair
I have to give the Academy serious kudos for awarding Mel Brooks the Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 1968 for his brilliant The Producers - I'm awfully skeptical such would happen today, though he might well at least muster the nomination. I also love that Gene Wilder garnered a nomination, even if the nod in Best Supporting Actor makes close to no sense.
What would've made '68 all the more fantastic, however, was if Brooks' spectacularly funny "Springtime for Hitler" managed to pop up in Best Original Song. If "Blame Canada" from South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut could garner Oscar love, I certainly don't see why "Hitler" couldn't have done the same. Oh well. What we're ultimately left with in '68 Best Original Song is a bit of a mixed bag, with a terrific winner and some rather unremarkable competition.
The Academy's selection, "The Windmills of Your Mind," from the marvelous Steve McQueen-Faye Dunaway starrer The Thomas Crown Affair, is a top-notch pick, beautifully composed by Michel Legrand, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman and delivered in an idiosyncratic vocal performance by Noel Harrison. The tune has a bit more edge to it than the average Bond theme, for instance, and it's lyrically far more interesting. Notable covers included Dusty Springfield and, of course, Babs.
Speaking of Streisand, '68 of course marked the year she took the big screen by storm with her Oscar-winning turn as Fanny Brice in William Wyler's Funny Girl. The picture is full of terrific showtunes, including "People," "Don't Rain on My Parade" and "My Man." As has been the case with so many stage-to-screen adaptations, an original song was composed specifically for the picture and, as is usually (if not always) the case, it doesn't quite stack up to the rest of the catalogue. "Funny Girl," while performed splendidly by Streisand, just isn't terribly memorable.
Likewise, "For Love of Ivy," composed by Quincy Jones for the middling Sidney Poitier vehicle of the same name, is nicely performed by the great Jazz pianist and vocalist Shirley Horn but too fleeting to leave a real impact. Julie Andrews is in the mix too, for "Star!" (from the eponymous picture), and her nominated track is just as grating and overblown as the film itself. Dick Van Dyke rounds out the line-up with the title track from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and it's at least more fun than his former Mary Poppins co-star's selection but still, it's no "Windmills of Your Mind." Or "Springtime for Hitler," of course.
The Oscar-winners ranked (thus far)...
- "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- "The Way You Look Tonight," Swing Time (1936)
- "High Hopes," A Hole in the Head (1959)
- "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)
- "The Windmills of Your Mind," The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
- "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, On My Darlin')," High Noon (1952)
- "Secret Love," Calamity Jane (1953)
- "White Christmas," Holiday Inn (1942)
- "Moon River," Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
- "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)
- "Days of Wine and Roses," Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
- "All the Way," The Joker Is Wild (1957)
- "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)
- "Born Free," Born Free (1966)
- "Never on Sunday," Never on Sunday (1960)
- "Three Coins in the Fountain," Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
- "Chim Chim Cher-ee," Mary Poppins (1964)
- "Call Me Irresponsible," Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
- "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
- "Gigi," Gigi (1958)
- "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)
- "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
- "Buttons and Bows," The Paleface (1948)
- "Talk to the Animals," Doctor Dolittle (1967)
- "The Shadow of Your Smile," The Sandpiper (1965)