1972 Best Original Song - Not Even Gene Hackman Can Save This

WON: "The Morning After," The Poseidon Adventure


1972 marked a perfectly respectable year at the Oscars, for the most part. Five fantastic films, in fact, filled up Best Picture - Cabaret, Deliverance, The Emigrants, The Godfather and Sounder. Add to that nominations for terrific pictures like Sleuth, Lady Sings the Blues and Travels with My Aunt, and there was no shortage of great cinema on display.

This good fortune, however, did not extend to Best Original Song. In fact, '72 marks what might well be the all-time worst line-up in the category, a shortlist chock-full of lackluster material that's awfully difficult to embrace in nearly any way.

The category's victor, "The Morning After," for sure is among the worst Best Original Song winners, if not ultimately the most abysmal, and this is coming from a fan of Ronald Neame's star-studded disaster flick The Poseidon Adventure. The thing is, I love just about everything in Poseidon, except for the scene in which Carol Lynley sings this insipid, turgid ballad. The Maureen McGovern version proved a big Billboard hit, which really only serves to call into question listeners' tastes at the time. It's a song so insipid even Celine Dion would experience nausea.

My pick this year I suppose would have to be "Ben," from the eponymous rat horror flick, which is gorgeously performed by a young Michael Jackson, though tough to take very seriously given...well, it's featured in a movie about a rat. But that's still a step-up from "The Morning After" and the comparably dreadful "Come Follow, Follow Me" and "Strange Are the Ways of Love."

The fifth nominee, "Marmalade, Molasses and Honey," has to be the worst thing Maurice Jarre, Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman ever received Oscar recognition for. Performed by Andy Williams, it is, however, a little more listenable than the three non-"Ben" nominees.

The real insanity of this year is the Academy had an obvious opportunity to reward terrific material in Best Original Song by nominating John Kander and Fred Ebb for their three original tunes in Cabaret - "Mein Herr," "Money, Money" and "Maybe This Time." It is completely inexplicable to me how these well-regarded tunes were ignored, and yet dreck like "The Morning After" and "Strange Are the Ways of Love" showed up, particularly considering how much the Academy adored Cabaret, even giving Bob Fosse the upset over Francis Ford Coppola in Best Director. Bizarre.

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. "High Hopes," A Hole in the Head (1959)
  4. "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  5. "Mona Lisa," Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950)
  6. "You'll Never Know," Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
  7. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," The Harvey Girls (1946)
  8. "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Neptune's Daughter (1949)
  9. "The Windmills of Your Mind," The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  10. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  11. "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, On My Darlin')," High Noon (1952)
  12. "Theme from Shaft," Shaft (1971)
  13. "Secret Love," Calamity Jane (1953)
  14. "White Christmas," Holiday Inn (1942)
  15. "Moon River," Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
  16. "When You Wish Upon a Star," Pinocchio (1940)
  17. "Thanks for the Memory," The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
  18. "Lullaby of Broadway," Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
  19. "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," Song of the South (1947)
  20. "Days of Wine and Roses," Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
  21. "For All We Know," Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
  22. "All the Way," The Joker Is Wild (1957)
  23. "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair (1945)
  24. "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady Be Good (1941)
  25. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  26. "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
  27. "Born Free," Born Free (1966)
  28. "Never on Sunday," Never on Sunday (1960)
  29. "Three Coins in the Fountain," Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  30. "Chim Chim Cher-ee," Mary Poppins (1964)
  31. "Call Me Irresponsible," Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
  32. "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
  33. "Gigi," Gigi (1958)
  34. "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  35. "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
  36. "Buttons and Bows," The Paleface (1948)
  37. "Talk to the Animals," Doctor Dolittle (1967)
  38. "The Shadow of Your Smile," The Sandpiper (1965)
  39. "The Morning After," The Poseidon Adventure (1972)