2000 Best Original Song - Attack of the Swan!

WON: "Things Have Changed," Wonder Boys

SHOULD'VE WON: "I've Seen It All," Dancer in the Dark

The dawn of a new millennium could have marked a remarkable turn of the page for the Academy in Best Original Song, away from the ho-hum adult contemporary that so often plagued the category over the past three decades, and toward modern artists like Aaliyah, Destiny's Child and Janet Jackson, who, with "Try Again," "Independent Women Part 1" and "Doesn't Really Matter," performed terrific tunes eligible for consideration in 2000.

Instead, the Academy needed to give Randy Newman a 14th Oscar nomination, for his two-minute song from Meet the Parents.

Indeed, with the exception of a single bold nominee (my pick for the win here), '00 Best Original Song was not unlike many recent line-ups of the category, a mixed, mostly vanilla bag of tracks awfully difficult to get hyped about.

The Academy's selection, "Things Have Changed," from the supremely underrated Curtis Hanson film Wonder Boys (which should have marked an Oscar comeback for leading man Michael Douglas), isn't a terrible winner but it does ring somewhat of the victory for "I Just Called to Say I Love You." That is, it marked what could potentially be the sole occasion to honor an unimpeachable music legend at the Oscars. In 1984, it was Stevie Wonder. This time around, Bob Dylan was the victorious one and, much like Wonder's Oscar-winning tune was no "Superstition" or even "My Cherie Amour," Dylan's track is hardly up-to-par with even middle-of-the-road work from his discography. "Things Have Changed" is listenable, perhaps even a step up from some of the really middling stuff Dylan has released more recently, but nothing about it much stands out.

Likewise, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's "A Love Before Time" is a pleasant piece, nicely performed by Coco Lee (who sounds strikingly similar to the likes of Gloria Estefan and Selena) but I'm not sure it would be even the 100th most notable thing about the picture. At least it's mildly enjoyable, which is more than I can say for "My Funny Friend and Me," a sleepy Sting-performed track that seems entirely ill-suited for Disney's side-splittingly funny and manic (and wildly underrated) The Emperor's New Groove. The Newman track is about on-par with his nominations from Parenthood and The Paper, which is to say it stinks.

The one and only nominee in '00 Best Original Song worth a damn - and a tremendous damn at that - is Bjork's sweeping "I've Seen It All," from the hypnotizing Dancer in the Dark, a picture she richly deserved an Oscar nomination for...in Best Actress. At least she garnered some recognition here, and for a superb piece, co-written by filmmaker Lars von Trier, with a vocal assist by the great Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

Bjork surely didn't have a prayer against a juggernaut like Dylan but her presence at least interjected some energy into an otherwise-dud of a category. And, of course, her invitation to the Oscars gave the world the glorious sight of that Swan outfit...

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. "Streets of Philadelphia," Philadelphia (1993)
  5. "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  6. "Mona Lisa," Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950)
  7. "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Neptune's Daughter (1949)
  8. "(I've Had) the Time of My Life," Dirty Dancing (1987)
  9. "The Windmills of Your Mind," The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  10. "The Way We Were," The Way We Were (1973)
  11. "Let the River Run," Working Girl (1988)
  12. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  13. "Under the Sea," The Little Mermaid (1989)
  14. "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, On My Darlin')," High Noon (1952)
  15. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," The Lion King (1994)
  16. "Beauty and the Beast," Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  17. "I'm Easy," Nashville (1975)
  18. "You'll Never Know," Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
  19. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," The Harvey Girls (1946)
  20. "Fame," Fame (1980)
  21. "Theme from Shaft," Shaft (1971)
  22. "Secret Love," Calamity Jane (1953)
  23. "White Christmas," Holiday Inn (1942)
  24. "Moon River," Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
  25. "Take My Breath Away," Top Gun (1986)
  26. "When You Wish Upon a Star," Pinocchio (1940)
  27. "Thanks for the Memory," The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
  28. "Lullaby of Broadway," Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
  29. "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," Song of the South (1947)
  30. "A Whole New World," Aladdin (1992)
  31. "My Heart Will Go On," Titanic (1997)
  32. "Flashdance...What a Feeling," Flashdance (1983)
  33. "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," Arthur (1981)
  34. "Last Dance," Thank God It's Friday (1978)
  35. "Colors of the Wind," Pocahontas (1995)
  36. "You Must Love Me," Evita (1996)
  37. "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)," Dick Tracy (1990)
  38. "Days of Wine and Roses," Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
  39. "For All We Know," Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
  40. "All the Way," The Joker Is Wild (1957)
  41. "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair (1945)
  42. "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady Be Good (1941)
  43. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  44. "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
  45. "It Goes Like It Goes," Norma Rae (1979)
  46. "Born Free," Born Free (1966)
  47. "Never on Sunday," Never on Sunday (1960)
  48. "I Just Called to Say I Love You," The Woman in Red (1984)
  49. "Up Where We Belong," An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
  50. "Three Coins in the Fountain," Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  51. "Chim Chim Cher-ee," Mary Poppins (1964)
  52. "Call Me Irresponsible," Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
  53. "Evergreen (Theme from A Star Is Born)," A Star Is Born (1976)
  54. "Things Have Changed," Wonder Boys (2000)
  55. "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
  56. "You'll Be in My Heart," Tarzan (1999)
  57. "You Light Up My Life," You Light Up My Life (1977)
  58. "Gigi," Gigi (1958)
  59. "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  60. "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
  61. "Buttons and Bows," The Paleface (1948)
  62. "Talk to the Animals," Doctor Dolittle (1967)
  63. "The Shadow of Your Smile," The Sandpiper (1965)
  64. "When You Believe," The Prince of Egypt (1998)
  65. "Say You, Say Me," White Nights (1985)
  66. "The Morning After," The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  67. "We May Never Love Like This Again," The Towering Inferno (1974)