1991 Best Original Song - Beauty and the Beast (and Bryan Adams)

WON: "Beauty and the Beast," Beauty and the Beast

SHOULD'VE WON: "Belle," Beauty and the Beast

"Be Our Guest" vs. "Belle vs. "Beauty and the Beast" - it's practically like having to choose among Casablanca, Citizen Kane and The Godfather.

The brilliant and timeless Beauty and the Beast dominated Best Original Song at the 1991 Oscars, with three tunes composed by the duo of Ashman and Menken, and deservedly so. It also marked the first animated film to garner a nomination in Best Picture, keeping the likes of Boyz 'n the Hood and Thelma & Louise on the sidelines.

In terms of which of the three Beauty nominees I admire most, it's awfully hard to knock the Academy's selection of the title song - it's a splendid, supremely romantic song, performed heavenly by Angela Lansbury. I also adore "Be Our Guest," a splashy ensemble number that's right about on-par with "Under the Sea" in sheer energy and enthusiasm. But I actually most love "Belle," the picture's delightful opening number, which rings of Ashman-Menken's "Skid Row (Downtown)" from Little Shop of Horrors and other great, ensemble-driven opening tunes from Broadway.

Of course, there were also other nominees in '91 Best Original Song, one decent and one not-so-hot.

The more agreeable of the remaining two contenders is Bryan Adams' smash hit "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You," from the ho-hum Kevin Costner starrer Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. For better or worse, the record, which spent most of the summer of '91 atop the Billboard Hot 100, is the epitome of early '90s adult contemporary, competently performed and produced but more than a tad schmaltzy and overbaked. It is, however, more satisfying than "When You're Alone," a dreary Hook number from John Williams and Leslie Bricusse, who struck lightning the prior year on Home Alone but completely miss the bullseye this time around.

Instead of settling on the old standbys of Williams and Bricusse, the Academy should have certainly recognized the incredible Eric Clapton, whose heartbreaking, Grammy-winning "Tears in Heaven" was featured on the Rush soundtrack.

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