1980 Best Original Song - Don't Mess with Dolly

WON: "Fame," Fame

SHOULD'VE WON: "9 to 5," 9 to 5

1980 marks a refreshingly sensational year for Best Original Song at the Oscars - and that's even in spite of the Academy not recognizing the memorable likes of Blondie's "Call Me" (from American Gigolo), Kenny Loggins' "I'm Alright" (from Caddyshack), Olivia Newton-John's "Magic" (from Xanadu) and Neil Diamond's "America" (from The Jazz Singer). My hunch, of course, is the Academy had scant interest in recognizing the likes of American Gigolo, Caddyshack, Xanadu or The Jazz Singer.

What the Academy did offer us this year were five terrific songs, arguably marking the first time ever that every nominee was richly deserving of honor.

The Academy's pick for the win here, "Fame", from the eponymous film, is an irresistibly infectious toe-tapper, performed pitch-perfectly by leading lady Irene Cara, who also delivers a fine turn on the nominated "Out Here on My Own." Both songs were composed by Michael Gore, who went on to score the Oscar-winning Terms of Endearment before his work on Broadway's infamous Carrie: The Musical unfortunately tarnished his career. His sister Lesley, the '60s icon who'd scored a big Billboard hit with "It's My Party," was responsible for the lyrics on "Out Here on My Own." Both Fame tracks are marvelous - I really can't knock its win here at all, except to say I prefer...

...Dolly Parton's supremely delightful "9 to 5," again from the eponymous film, which clocked in at #78 on AFI's list of "100 Years...100 Songs." (For what it's worth, "Fame" did rank a tad higher on that list, at #51.) I may be a bit biased here, as 9 to 5 is among my all-time favorite comedies. Even as a young lad in elementary school, I got a huge kick out of the picture, and particularly at the sight of Parton, Lily Tomlin (robbed of an Oscar nomination this year) and Jane Fonda getting their long-overdue revenge on Dabney Coleman. Two decades later, and I adore the film (and the title song) more than ever.

The remaining two nominees here are terrific too. Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" is among the all-time great road trip tunes, a superb country-adult contemporary piece that found its artist operating at the very top of his game. "People Alone," composed by Lalo Schifrin and performed by the wonderful R&B vocalist Randy Crawford (who was something of a one-hit wonder with "Street Life"), is also prime stuff from the soft rock genre, a fine piece featured in the unfairly forgotten Richard Dreyfuss vehicle The Competition.

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. "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Neptune's Daughter (1949)
  7. "The Windmills of Your Mind," The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  8. "The Way We Were," The Way We Were (1973)
  9. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  10. "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, On My Darlin')," High Noon (1952)
  11. "I'm Easy," Nashville (1975)
  12. "You'll Never Know," Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
  13. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," The Harvey Girls (1946)
  14. "Fame," Fame (1980)
  15. "Theme from Shaft," Shaft (1971)
  16. "Secret Love," Calamity Jane (1953)
  17. "White Christmas," Holiday Inn (1942)
  18. "Moon River," Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
  19. "When You Wish Upon a Star," Pinocchio (1940)
  20. "Thanks for the Memory," The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
  21. "Lullaby of Broadway," Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
  22. "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," Song of the South (1947)
  23. "Last Dance," Thank God It's Friday (1978)
  24. "Days of Wine and Roses," Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
  25. "For All We Know," Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
  26. "All the Way," The Joker Is Wild (1957)
  27. "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair (1945)
  28. "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady Be Good (1941)
  29. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  30. "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
  31. "It Goes Like It Goes," Norma Rae (1979)
  32. "Born Free," Born Free (1966)
  33. "Never on Sunday," Never on Sunday (1960)
  34. "Three Coins in the Fountain," Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  35. "Chim Chim Cher-ee," Mary Poppins (1964)
  36. "Call Me Irresponsible," Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
  37. "Evergreen (Theme from A Star Is Born)," A Star Is Born (1976)
  38. "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
  39. "You Light Up My Life," You Light Up My Life (1977)
  40. "Gigi," Gigi (1958)
  41. "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  42. "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
  43. "Buttons and Bows," The Paleface (1948)
  44. "Talk to the Animals," Doctor Dolittle (1967)
  45. "The Shadow of Your Smile," The Sandpiper (1965)
  46. "The Morning After," The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  47. "We May Never Love Like This Again," The Towering Inferno (1974)