A Century of Film
Original Song

Like with score, the first awards for such film music came in 1934 when the two categories were added at the Academy Awards.  Unlike with Score, where they seemed to be confusion for quite a while over what qualified, the Oscars from the start tried to limit this category to songs that were written for the film in which they appeared.  This would be more stringent than what the Golden Globes would eventually do, after finally getting started in this category in 1961 and much more so than the BAFTAs which only tried a false-start with such a category and then gave up after just a few years.

Various rules and machinations over the years made the category confusing.  For years, the Oscars allowed every studio to submit a song (and automatically receive a nomination) but that also meant that studios were limited to the one nomination (and thus films were as well).  The Oscars would later have different rules about how many songs from a film could be eligible and when they had to play in the film while the Globes would have no such rules.  Also, because of the rule on original songs, people would often be confused, with some people thinking that a film like Casablanca or Singin’ in the Rain should have earned an Oscar for a song that had existed for years.

For my own rules, I have tried, with some variations, to stick to the Oscar concept.  That means I try to find films in which a song is written for the film that contains both original music (ruling out any song that is new but uses an old tune) and lyrics (ruling out a song like “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” in which the lyrics were from the novel even if the music was new).  For the most part, I have tried to rely on the old oscars.org database which listed songs in various years but that database sometimes listed ineligible songs and sometimes didn’t list songs that actually earned nominations.  In some cases, I have gone with what I know or at least suspect to be the case.

My own list limits itself to five songs in a film only because my Top 5 only has room for five.  But I don’t care which songs were Oscar submitted in determining my own five.

I will also go ahead and point out my posts on the Top 250 songs of both the 80’s and the 90’s, each of which include several songs that earn Nighthawk wins or nominations.  Those posts will go into depth on each song listed.

My Top 5 Original Songs in Film History:

  1. “Over the Rainbow”, The Wizard of Oz, 1939
  2. “The Rainbow Connection, The Muppet Movie, 1979
  3. “Help”, Help!, 1965
  4. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, Mary Poppins, 1964
  5. “A Hard Day’s Night”, A Hard Day’s Night, 1964

(more…)

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This opening bit might not be in the book but most of what follows is.

My Top 10

  1. That Obscure Object of Desire
  2. King Lear
  3. Equus
  4. Oh God
  5. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  6. The Marquise de O
  7. Dersu Uzala

Note:  That’s it.  That’s all I’ve got.  I had actually placed Jacob the Liar on the list (at #4) but when I looked at it again, I realized that it was a screenplay first, then, when cutbacks in film production in East Germany delayed the film for nearly a decade, it was rewritten as a novel.  But the screenplay had already existed which means, in spite of the credits, it’s not really an adapted script and I can skip having to review a very good film (and book) that are also brutally depressing so Happy New Year (2019) to me. (more…)

One of film’s most iconic moments and not in the original at all.

My Top 10:

  1. Dr. Strangelove
  2. High and Low
  3. Harakiri
  4. Mary Poppins
  5. The Americanization of Emily
  6. The Best Man
  7. The Night of the Iguana
  8. The Chalk Garden
  9. Goldfinger
  10. My Fair Lady

Note:  There are 20 films on my list.  Only one of the other ten is reviewed below as a WGA nominee (Seven Days in May).  The other nine are all listed towards the bottom of the post. (more…)

“I was hiding under your porch because I love you.” My favorite film dog of all-time.

The 82nd Academy Awards for the film year of 2009.  The nomination were announced on 2 February 2010 and the awards were held on 7 March 2010.

Best Animated Film:  Up

  • Coraline
  • The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • The Secret of Kells
  • The Princess and the Frog

Most Surprising Omission:  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Ponyo

Rank (out of 16) Among Best Animated Film Years:  #8

Oscar Score:  87.5

Alternate Oscar Score:  97.2 (more…)

One of film’s most lovable couples.

The 81st annual Academy Awards, for the film year 2008.  The nominations were announced on 22 January 2009 and the awards were held on 22 February 2009.

Best Animated Film:  Wall-E

  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Bolt

Most Surprising Omission:  Waltz with Bashir

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Waltz with Bashir

Rank (out of 16) Among Best Animated Film Years:  #11

Oscar Score:  81.8

Alternate Oscar Score:  91.8 (more…)

Best traffic jam ever.

My Top 20:

  1. La La Land
  2. Arrival
  3. The Handmaiden
  4. Manchester by the Sea
  5. Moonlight
  6. Silence
  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  9. Zootopia
  10. Moana
  11. Finding Dory
  12. The Salesman
  13. Nocturnal Animals
  14. Fences
  15. Hell or High Water
  16. Julieta
  17. Kubo and the Two Strings
  18. A Monster Calls
  19. 20th Century Women
  20. Sing Street

note:  All 20 films are ****.  There were several high ***.5 films that I wish could have made the list – Captain America: Civil War, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Hail Caesar! and Passengers were among my considered choices.  There are only a handful of films that earned any award nominations that I haven’t seen yet (I Daniel Blake, Certain Woman, Allied, Your Name, King’s Choice) so I don’t think this list will be changing (depending on Your Name, perhaps), unlike the last several years, when this list was written more closely after the Oscars. (more…)

The gang’s all here. And hey, look, Frozone found his super suit!

The 77th annual Academy Awards, for the film year 2004.  The nominations were announced on 25 January 2005 and the awards were held on 27 February 2005.

Best Animated Film:  The Incredibles

  • Shrek 2
  • Shark Tale

Most Surprising Omission: The Polar Express

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

Rank (out of 16) Among Best Animated Film Years:  #8

Oscar Score:  76.9

Alternate Oscar Score:  91.8 (more…)