2006 Best Original Song - Dreamgirls No Match for Melissa

WON AND SHOULD'VE WON: "I Need to Wake Up," An Inconvenient Truth

I consider Dreamgirls one of the finest American musicals of the past half-century, a rich, often exhilarating look back at a time when producers and their dazzling performers would crank out one two-a-half-minute mega hit after another, many of which proved timeless and still garner plenty airplay to this day...even if many of the actual performers themselves have sadly been forgotten.

Venturing into Bill Condon's 2006 film adaptation of Dreamgirls, I had pretty sky-high expectations, given the strength of the material and my fondness for Condon's prior work. Lo and behold, I was left largely cold by the picture, which I didn't feel nearly captured the magic of the material's stage productions. While I enjoyed Jennifer Hudson's Oscar-winning turn as Effie, I was left restless by the wooden leading turns of Beyonce and Jamie Foxx. I also didn't think - and here's where I loop this into Best Original Song - the new tracks, all by Henry Krieger, resonated even a tenth as strongly as "I Am Changing," "One Night Only" or, of course, "And I Am Telling You."

While the Academy didn't go too head-over-heels for the film, ignoring Condon and looking past the production in Best Picture, Dreamgirls did manage a hefty three noms in Best Original Song.

The best of the three tunes, "Love You I Do," is a modestly enjoyable number, performed by the buoyant Hudson. While it's hardly an A-grade song, it does at least ring of some middle-of-the-road Motown numbers, almost a filler Supremes or Martha and the Vandellas track. The bland "Listen," on the other hand, doesn't sound '60s in the slightest, rather a run-of-the-mill ballad that could've surfaced on any Beyonce album. "Patience," a nod to the great Donny Hathaway, is listenable but wholly forgettable.

Beyond Dreamgirls, this year boasted yet another Randy Newman nomination, this time for Cars' "Our Town." Performed by the terrific James Taylor, it's not half-bad - another example of a Newman-composed tune lifted by not having Newman perform it himself - but I think the Academy actually got it right this year. Even if the song is a tad too on-the-nose, I quite like Melissa Etheridge's "I Need to Wake Up," from An Inconvenient Truth. Is it on-par with something like "Come to My Window"? Not quite. But it's still a nice, above-average piece of adult contemporary-rock and I dig Etheridge having an Oscar under her belt.

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. "Lose Yourself," 8 Mile (2002)
  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. "Flashdance...What a Feeling," Flashdance (1983)
  34. "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," Arthur (1981)
  35. "I Need to Wake Up," An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
  36. "Last Dance," Thank God It's Friday (1978)
  37. "Colors of the Wind," Pocahontas (1995)
  38. "You Must Love Me," Evita (1996)
  39. "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)," Dick Tracy (1990)
  40. "Days of Wine and Roses," Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
  41. "For All We Know," Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
  42. "All the Way," The Joker Is Wild (1957)
  43. "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair (1945)
  44. "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady Be Good (1941)
  45. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  46. "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
  47. "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," Hustle & Flow (2005)
  48. "It Goes Like It Goes," Norma Rae (1979)
  49. "Born Free," Born Free (1966)
  50. "Never on Sunday," Never on Sunday (1960)
  51. "I Just Called to Say I Love You," The Woman in Red (1984)
  52. "Up Where We Belong," An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
  53. "Three Coins in the Fountain," Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  54. "Chim Chim Cher-ee," Mary Poppins (1964)
  55. "Call Me Irresponsible," Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
  56. "Evergreen (Theme from A Star Is Born)," A Star Is Born (1976)
  57. "Al otro lado del río," The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
  58. "Things Have Changed," Wonder Boys (2000)
  59. "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
  60. "Into the West," The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  61. "If I Didn't Have You," Monsters, Inc. (2001)
  62. "You'll Be in My Heart," Tarzan (1999)
  63. "You Light Up My Life," You Light Up My Life (1977)
  64. "Gigi," Gigi (1958)
  65. "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  66. "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
  67. "Buttons and Bows," The Paleface (1948)
  68. "Talk to the Animals," Doctor Dolittle (1967)
  69. "The Shadow of Your Smile," The Sandpiper (1965)
  70. "When You Believe," The Prince of Egypt (1998)
  71. "Say You, Say Me," White Nights (1985)
  72. "The Morning After," The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  73. "We May Never Love Like This Again," The Towering Inferno (1974)