WON: "Up Where We Belong," An Officer and a Gentleman
SHOULD'VE WON: "It Might Be You," Tootsie
For some time growing up, my movie-loving immediate family could not afford to make weekly trips to the local Blockbuster. (In hindsight, much I adored and still miss Blockbuster, weren't their prices absolutely absurd?) Instead, we'd venture over to the town library and pick out flicks from their slim VHS collection.
The two pictures I'd rent out most from the library actually happen to both be Best Original Song nominees - '80s comedy classics Tootsie and Ghostbusters. Much as I enjoyed Ghostbusters, though, I didn't love it nearly as much as I completely ate up Tootsie. Even in elementary school, I couldn't get enough of the Dustin Hoffman comedy. When my friends sang the praises of Mrs. Doubtfire, I, the eight-year-old film snob, would of course note how Tootsie was the vastly superior cross-dressing picture, I imagine leaving my pals confused as to why they hadn't heard of a film about, presumably, Tootsie Rolls.
Alas, in 1982, the Academy didn't quite share my intense affection for the Sydney Pollack film. While it was showered with nominations, including surprise nods for Teri Garr and the film's sound, Tootsie was clobbered by Richard Attenborough's exhausting Gandhi on Oscar night, leaving the Pollack picture in the dust in all categories, sans Supporting Actress, where Jessica Lange picked up a consolation prize for not winning in Lead Actress for her superior work in Frances.
Among the Oscar categories Tootsie came up short in was indeed Original Song, where the picture's lovely "It Might Be You," performed by Stephen Bishop and composed by Dave Grusin and Alan & Marilyn Bergman, was shown the exit by "Up Where We Belong," the number-one Billboard hit from An Officer and a Gentleman.
Performed by Joe Cocker and Oscar favorite Jennifer Warnes (whose comparably mellow "It Goes Like It Goes" had prevailed just a few years prior), "Up Where We Belong" is a listenable but awfully sappy piece of adult contemporary, one of the lesser efforts for sure of composer Jack Nitzsche, who did exciting, innovative work on records with the likes of Phil Spector and the Rolling Stones in the '60s before moving his focus to film music in the '70s and onward, where his output, I'm afraid, wasn't quite as exceptional.
Speaking of soft rock, '82 also features "How Do You Keep the Music Playing" (from the Burt Reynolds-Goldie Hawn dramedy Best Friends) and "If We Were in Love" (from the infamous Luciano Pavarotti misfire Yes, Giorgio), both also written by the Bergmans, with Michel Legrand composing on the former and John Williams on the latter. Neither is terribly noteworthy, though I actually think I slightly prefer both to the winner. The former proved a surprise standard over the years to come, with the legendary likes of Sinatra, Bennett and Streisand all giving it a go. And the latter is of course gorgeously performed by Pavarotti, even if it does bring to mind that damn film.
The final nominee, Rocky III's "Eye of the Tiger," marks the biggest Billboard hit of the five, perhaps of the category ever (it spent an incredible six weeks at number one), and probably the only nominee you'd still frequently come across on the airwaves, unless you're listening to '80s Love Songs on Pandora. Performed by Survivor, it's a smashingly successful and iconic rock record, perfectly fitting to the film, albeit not as uplifting as the "Gonna Fly Now" theme from the first Rocky.
It's a pretty close call for me between "It Might Be You" and "Eye of the Tiger," but my head-over-heels affection for Tootsie is veering me over to the former's column.
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)
- "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Neptune's Daughter (1949)
- "The Windmills of Your Mind," The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
- "The Way We Were," The Way We Were (1973)
- "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
- "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, On My Darlin')," High Noon (1952)
- "I'm Easy," Nashville (1975)
- "You'll Never Know," Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
- "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," The Harvey Girls (1946)
- "Fame," Fame (1980)
- "Theme from Shaft," Shaft (1971)
- "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)
- "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," Arthur (1981)
- "Last Dance," Thank God It's Friday (1978)
- "Days of Wine and Roses," Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
- "For All We Know," Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
- "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)
- "It Goes Like It Goes," Norma Rae (1979)
- "Born Free," Born Free (1966)
- "Never on Sunday," Never on Sunday (1960)
- "Up Where We Belong," An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
- "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)
- "Evergreen (Theme from A Star Is Born)," A Star Is Born (1976)
- "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
- "You Light Up My Life," You Light Up My Life (1977)
- "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)
- "The Morning After," The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
- "We May Never Love Like This Again," The Towering Inferno (1974)