2015 Best Original Song - Someday, Diane Warren, You'll Get This

WON: "Writing's on the Wall," Spectre

SHOULD'VE WON: "'Til It Happens to You," The Hunting Ground

Last year's race in the category of Best Original Song began on a rather disheartening note for me, on the day the Academy released the full list of tunes eligible for consideration in the category. Notably absent from the list, in spite of rave reviews and a Golden Globe nomination, was Brian Wilson's "One Kind of Love," from the superb, supremely underrated Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. With the marvelous Wilson track deemed ineligible, I admittedly lost a fair amount of interest in the horse race for this one.

With that said, even with Wilson out of the running, 2015 Best Original Song ultimately turned out to be a respectable affair, even if I don't quite agree with the Academy's selection for the winner.

To the surprise of many, the Academy sided with Sam Smith's "Writing's on the Wall," from the Bond underwhelmer Spectre, over Lady Gaga and Diane Warren's "'Til It Happens to You," from The Hunting Ground, which was deemed such an important nominee that Vice President Joe Biden attended the ceremony to introduce Gaga's performance of the number. That Warren was viewed as long-overdue for an Oscar victory made its front-runner status all the more (seemingly) commanding.

I know a lot of folks flat-out loathed the Smith win, especially on account of his egregiously incorrect suggestion that he was the first openly gay Oscar-winner, but I don't think "Writing's on the Wall" is all that less deserving of an Oscar than "Skyfall." Neither tune, I would argue, is among the best Bond themes, nor quite among the worst. Both are nicely performed and orchestrated but lack the punch of a "Goldfinger" or "Nobody Does It Better."

"'Til It Happens to You," on the other hand, is perhaps the most substantial piece of music Warren's ever composed, and it's pitch-perfectly performed by Gaga. Not sure I would've sided with it over the Wilson tune but of this fivesome, it deserved its front-runner status.

My runner-up here, and a close one at that, would be David Lang's sweeping, gorgeously performed "Simple Song #3" from Youth. Trailing way back, even behind the Smith winner, are Racing Extinction's "Manta Ray," an intriguing number that nonetheless leaves me a bit restless, given its length, and Fifty Shades of Grey's "Earned It," which has the misfortune of automatically coming off cheesy, on account of the film it's featured in. (Also, "Love Me Like You Do" was the more deserving track.)

All 82 Oscar-winners ranked...

  1. "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  2. "The Way You Look Tonight," Swing Time (1936)
  3. "Streets of Philadelphia," Philadelphia (1993)
  4. "Lose Yourself," 8 Mile (2002)
  5. "High Hopes," A Hole in the Head (1959)
  6. "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  7. "Mona Lisa," Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950)
  8. "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Neptune's Daughter (1949)
  9. "(I've Had) the Time of My Life," Dirty Dancing (1987)
  10. "The Windmills of Your Mind," The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  11. "The Way We Were," The Way We Were (1973)
  12. "Let the River Run," Working Girl (1988)
  13. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  14. "Under the Sea," The Little Mermaid (1989)
  15. "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, On My Darlin')," High Noon (1952)
  16. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," The Lion King (1994)
  17. "Beauty and the Beast," Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  18. "I'm Easy," Nashville (1975)
  19. "You'll Never Know," Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
  20. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," The Harvey Girls (1946)
  21. "Fame," Fame (1980)
  22. "Theme from Shaft," Shaft (1971)
  23. "Secret Love," Calamity Jane (1953)
  24. "White Christmas," Holiday Inn (1942)
  25. "Moon River," Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
  26. "Take My Breath Away," Top Gun (1986)
  27. "When You Wish Upon a Star," Pinocchio (1940)
  28. "Thanks for the Memory," The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
  29. "Lullaby of Broadway," Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
  30. "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," Song of the South (1947)
  31. "A Whole New World," Aladdin (1992)
  32. "My Heart Will Go On," Titanic (1997)
  33. "Let It Go," Frozen (2013)
  34. "Flashdance...What a Feeling," Flashdance (1983)
  35. "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," Arthur (1981)
  36. "I Need to Wake Up," An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
  37. "Last Dance," Thank God It's Friday (1978)
  38. "Colors of the Wind," Pocahontas (1995)
  39. "Falling Slowly," Once (2007)
  40. "You Must Love Me," Evita (1996)
  41. "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)," Dick Tracy (1990)
  42. "Days of Wine and Roses," Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
  43. "For All We Know," Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
  44. "All the Way," The Joker Is Wild (1957)
  45. "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair (1945)
  46. "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady Be Good (1941)
  47. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  48. "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
  49. "Skyfall," Skyfall (2012)
  50. "The Weary Kind," Crazy Heart (2009)
  51. "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," Hustle & Flow (2005)
  52. "It Goes Like It Goes," Norma Rae (1979)
  53. "Born Free," Born Free (1966)
  54. "Writing's on the Wall," Spectre (2015)
  55. "Never on Sunday," Never on Sunday (1960)
  56. "I Just Called to Say I Love You," The Woman in Red (1984)
  57. "Up Where We Belong," An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
  58. "Three Coins in the Fountain," Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  59. "Chim Chim Cher-ee," Mary Poppins (1964)
  60. "Call Me Irresponsible," Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
  61. "Evergreen (Theme from A Star Is Born)," A Star Is Born (1976)
  62. "Al otro lado del río," The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
  63. "Things Have Changed," Wonder Boys (2000)
  64. "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
  65. "Into the West," The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  66. "Glory," Selma (2014)
  67. "Man or Muppet," The Muppets (2011)
  68. "We Belong Together," Toy Story 3 (2010)
  69. "Jai Ho," Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  70. "If I Didn't Have You," Monsters, Inc. (2001)
  71. "You'll Be in My Heart," Tarzan (1999)
  72. "You Light Up My Life," You Light Up My Life (1977)
  73. "Gigi," Gigi (1958)
  74. "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  75. "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
  76. "Buttons and Bows," The Paleface (1948)
  77. "Talk to the Animals," Doctor Dolittle (1967)
  78. "The Shadow of Your Smile," The Sandpiper (1965)
  79. "When You Believe," The Prince of Egypt (1998)
  80. "Say You, Say Me," White Nights (1985)
  81. "The Morning After," The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  82. "We May Never Love Like This Again," The Towering Inferno (1974)