2000-2011 Best Oscar Songs

In 2001 the Academy, saw the writing on the wall. It was a new Century another new decade and a newly created category; Best Animated Feature. One thing is for certain animated movies are here to stay. There is no longer a studio system to keep actors busy. Animated features seem to fill the bill. Animated features keep working actors working.
Best songs for the decade introduced two rap songs, Lose Yourself by Eminem and It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp by Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman, Paul Beauregard.
Innovation, modernization, new technologies it all began in 20th century Hollywood and is carried on into the 21st century Hollywood. What goes around comes around and movies definitely have returned back to where they began. Sex, drugs, music, forbidden topics and Silent movies (Best Picture of the Year 2011 The Artist).
2000-2011 Best Songs
2000 Things Have Changed from the movie Wonder Boys Scott Rudin/Curtis Hanson Production Paramount and Mutual Film Company. Music and lyrics by Bob Dylan.
2001 If I Didn’t Have You from Monsters Inc Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios Production, Buena Vista. Music and Lyrics by Randy Newman.
2002 Lose Yourself from the film 8 Mile Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment Production, Universal. Music by Eminem, Jeff Bass and Luis Resto. Lyrics by Eminem
2003 Into the West from The Return of the King-Fran Walsh Howard Shore, Annie Lennox
2004 Al Otro Lado Del Rio from The Motorcycle Diaries – Jorge Drexler
2005 It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp from the movie Hustle & Flow – Jordan Houston, Cedric Coleman, Paul Beauregard
2006 I Need to Wake Up from An Inconvenient Truth – Melissa Etheridge
2007 Falling Slowly from Once – Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová
2008 Jai Ho from Slumdog Millionaire – A.R. Rahman Music-Gulzar Lyrics
2009 The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart – Ryan Bingham, T Bone Burnett
2010 We Belong Together from Toy Story 3 – Randy Newman
2011 Man or Muppet from The Muppets – Bret McKenzie
2000-2011 Best Pictures
2000- Gladiator
2001- A Beautiful Mind
2003-Lord of the Rings:Return of the King
2004-Million Dollar Baby
2006-The Departed
2007- No Country for Old Men
2008- Slumdog Millionaire
2009-Hurt Locker
2010-Kings Speech
2011-The Artist

Best Oscar Songs of the Seventies

Best Songs? I don’t know…I’m just not crazy about any Oscar winning songs in movies during the seventies (well maybe Shaft –Isaac Hayes did an awesome performance of his song during the April 10, 1972 Oscar Awards night). When I think of the early seventies I think of disaster movies like The Poseidon Adventure or The Towering Inferno. At the end of the decade we had Jaws and Star Wars. Disappointed in the movie songs I started paying more attention to the scoring of the music in the movies. The most memorable scores for me were the ones by John Williams. John Williams was nominated ten times for his music scores in the seventies with three wins for: Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws and Star Wars. Best songs and John Williams scores are listed below asterisk denotes wins for Williams. Which are your movie favorites of the seventies songs or scores?
1970-1979 Best Songs
1970 For All We Know from Lovers and Other Strangers ABC Pictures music by Fred Karlin Lyrics by Robb Royer and James Griffin aka Robb Wilson and Arthur James.
1971 Theme from Shaft from the movie Shaft MGM music and Lyrics by Isaac Hayes
1972 The Morning After from The Poseidon Adventure 20th Century Music and Lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
1973The Way We Were from the movie The Way We Were music by Marvin Hamlisch Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
1974 We May Never Love Like This Again from The Towering Inferno 20th Century. Music and Lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn
1975 I’m Easy from Nashville ABC Weintraub-Altman Paramount music and lyrics by Keith Carradine
1976 Evergreen from the movie A Star is Born Barwood/Peters-First Artists Warner Brothers. Music by Barbara Streisand. Lyrics by Paul Williams.
1977 You Light Up My Life from the movie You Light Up My Life – Session Company, Columbia. Music and Lyrics by Joseph Brooks.
1978 Last Dance from the movie Thank God It’s Friday Casablanca-Motown, Columbia. Music and Lyrics by Paul Jabara
1979 It Goes Like it Goes from the movie Norma Rae 20th Century. Music by David Shire Lyrics by Norman Gimbel.
1970’s Original Song Scores-John Williams
*1971 Fiddler on the Roof Mirish-Cartier UA(Best Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation )
1972 Images Hemdale-Lion’s Gate Films Columbia- Original Dramatic Score
1972 The Poseidon Adventure, Irwin Allen 20th Century Fox- Original Dramatic Score
1973 Cinderella Liberty Sanford Prod., 20th Century Fox- Original Dramatic Score
1973 Tom Sawyer-, Jacobs, Reader’s Digest UA (Best Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation) Richard & Robert Sherman and John Williams
1974 The Towering Inferno, Irwin Allen 20th Century Fox/Warner Bros. (Dramatic Score)
*1975 Jaws, Zanuck/Brown Universal (Original Score)
1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Columbia (Original Score)
*1977 Star Wars 20th Century Fox (Original Score)
1978 Superman, Dovemead, Salkind, Warner Bros. (Original Score)

Best Picture Ben Hur 1959


Reading a best seller that was written in 1880 is certainly a challenge. I was curious how the book Ben Hur  written by General Lew Wallace held up to the screenplay written by Karl Tunberg for the 1959 Best Picture of the Year. It was an arduous read and left me shaking my head at the Academy Membership not voting Tunbergs screenplay as Best for 1959. Although I have never seen ‘Room at the Top’ I’m thinking the Academy deserves the Hole in the Head award for naming Neil Paterson’s Screenplay as Best over Karl Tunberg’s Screenplay for Ben Hur.
Best Song for 1959 was High Hopes from the Frank Sinatra film Hole in the Head, music by James Van Heusen, Lyrics by Sammy Cahn. This was the second win as Best Song for the Van Heusen and Cahn duo.







The most anticipated film of the year was based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gone With the Wind a book about a sixteen year old southern Belle’s loves and losses during the civil war and reconstruction.
Twenty-six year old Vivien Leigh would play two sixteen year old characters in her film career, Scarlett in 1939 and Cleopatra in the 1946 British film Caesar and Cleopatra.
Another film anticipation took place that year for tweenagers all over the world. The release of the modern day at the time re-make of Cinderella titled First Love starring seventeen year old Deanna Durbin. Hearts were atwitter…Deanna would be receiving her first on screen kiss. Pasternak and Koster chose well for the knight in shining armor, the twenty year old Robert Stack. Stack was dashing; tall and good looking First Love was a perfect retelling of the classic love story. The Academy nominated First Love for Music Scoring, Art Direction and was on a list of eleven black and white movies that voters narrowed down to two movies to choose from for Best Cinematography, Stagecoach and Wuthering Heights, Wuthering Heights received the Oscar. Deanna Durbin was a Universal girl; she shared the 1938 Special Award with Mickey Rooney (an MGM boy) for their significant contribution to the screen the spirit and personification of youth and as juvenile players setting a high standard of ability and achievement. In 1939 the Special Award miniature statuette went to Judy Garland for her outstanding performance as a screen juvenile during the past year.

It Happened One Night

1934 was the first year to choose pictures for eligibility for Academy Awards within a calendar year: January 1st thru December 31st. It was the first year all of the major awards were swept away by one single movie, It Happened One Night. Talk about your sour grapes these awards were received by Columbia Studios a poverty row studio. Columbia Studios did not have a large stable of actors but what it did have was Frank Capra. And the Hollywood moguls also had a way of punishing contract players by loaning them out to lower studios to appear in low budget movies to keep them in line.
I’m sure Clark Gable an MGM boy and Claudette Colbert a Paramount girl were laughing all of the way to the podium when they received their Best Actor, Best Actress Oscars. I can picture Clark thumbing his nose to old Louis B.
On a side note 1934 was the year that almost 6 year old Shirley Temple received her miniature Oscar statuette for her ‘outstanding contribution to screen entertainment’. Shirley appeared in nine features during the calendar year.

Ben Hur

The 1959 version of Ben Hur was one of the greatest movies made in the past century. Best Picture, Best Actor(Charlton Heston), Best Supporting Actor(Hugh Griffith), Best Director(William Wyler, MGM), Best Cinematographer – Color(Robert Surtees), Best Art Direction/Set Direction, Best Costume Design-Color(Elizabeth Haffenden), Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Music Score(Miklos Rozsa), and nominated for Best Screenplay based on a novel.
Who knew? The novel Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ was written by Union General Lewis (Lew) Wallace and published in 1880. Wallace’s inspiration for the book came after a long train ride and conversation with a noted atheist at the time Robert Ingersoll.
Lew Wallace a son of Indiana, a Civil War General, a Governor of New Mexico Territory during the famous ‘Lincoln County’ wars and U.S. Minister to Turkey in 1885 wrote a story that first saw the light of day on film two years after he passed away in 1905. Then another version in 1925 was filmed with the hunky Francis X. Bushman as Messala, and Ramon Novarro as Ben-Hur. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would be founded two years later in 1927. Is the 1959 version of Ben Hur historically accurate? I’m thinking you have to read the book to find out. I’ll let you know.

WWI Academy Awards

1927 was the first year of the Academy Awards and Film makers were still obsessed about telling the stories of the First World War that a lot of the Writers, Directors, and Actors had witnessed firsthand and survived. Outstanding Picture went to Wings, directed by William Wellman who had flown during the war with the Lafayette Escadrille. Janet Gaynor received the first Best Actress Award for the WWI dramatic romance 7th Heaven. Frank Borzage received the Best Director Award for the same movie, 7th Heaven. And to round out the WWI theme Lewis Milestone received the Best Director Award for a Comedy movie titled Two Arabian Knights  about two doughboys captured by the Germans and their escapades attempting to escape from their captors. If you are going to learn about WWI Silent movies are the place to start.

All About Eve ~ Best Picture 1950

I like this Best Picture because the characters can be related to not only the stage or say the screen but in everyday life. We all have our little Eve’s to deal with, sweet and seemingly innocent and worshipful at first and then BAM. Fourteen nominations six wins who knew a movie (metaphorically speaking) about getting stabbed in the back could be so lucrative.
When the interviewer in the clip asks Bette how can such a woman fool so many? Bette is correct in her answer: How does any Eve do it?
How many of you out there in Classic Hollywoodland have encountered an Eve in your life?

Gregory Peck Academy President 1967

Sometimes the Oscar show is rescheduled due to a National Tragedy which happened April 10, 1968.
The assassination of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968 shocked the nation. The Oscars were programed for April 8th but due to Dr. King’s funeral the show went on, only a couple of days later. Gregory Peck the President of the Academy for 1968 spoke eloquently about ‘the fateful week in the history of our nation’, how ‘we must unite in compassion in order to survive’ and to ‘continue to celebrate in film the dignity of man’. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night two movies out of five dealing with thought provoking issues of racial understanding garnered ten nominations for Dinner with two wins and seven nominations for Night with four wins.
There was a time in the 60’s when nominees tried to get out of attending this award night for various reasons. For 1967 Gregory Peck twisted arms to make sure people showed up. The only nominees that did not attend that year were Katherine Hepburn (who won for Best Actress) because she was in France filming the Mad Woman of Chaillot and Spencer Tracy who had been nominated posthumously. In the Heat of the Night was honored as Best Picture. In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner were both honored for their Screenplay’s one adapted one original.

‘I gave up the best years of my life, and what have you done?’

These are the angry words uttered by Virginia Mayo’s character to her husband Fred. Returning WWII bombardier Captain in the Air Force played by Dana Andrews, towards the end of the movie, ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ premier date New York November 21, 1946.
Oscar winner Robert E. Sherwood’s screenplay was exceptional. Hitchhiking a ride on an Air Transport Command, three veterans thrown together by the circumstances of ‘Going Home’.  Almost ‘Three on a Match’ except for the double amputee’s superstitions, Fredrick March’s character is returning home to a twenty year marriage and family.

Dana is returning to the wife he met, courted, and married after knowing her only twenty days.  Harold Russell the real life veteran in an acting role is returning home to his High School girl next door sweetheart that he told he would marry when he returned but he hadn’t expected to be returning as a double amputee…what girl would want him.

This is a great ‘Memorial Day’ remembrance movie.  First because the people that fight the wars will never forget their buddies that did not make it home.  Second because it shows the turmoil of the families that were left behind. They carried on, but weren’t quite sure how to respond to returning loved ones, and thirdly this is a movie that changed the history of movie making. Movie makers had also gone to war, (directors, writers, and actors) their experiences also documented the history of this war and authenticated the aftermath…

This is Myrna Loy’s first appearance on screen since the war started. Not by the studio’s choice but by her choice, (volunteerism in the war effort took up most of her time). She received top billing in the credits; ‘Someone to come home to’… Theresa Wright best supporting actress in ‘Mrs. Miniver’ 1942 played Myrna and Fredrick’s daughter Peggy.

However the men walked away with the Oscar rewards. Best Actor – Fredrick March, Best Supporting Actor – Harold Russell (Double arm amputee between hands/forearm), Best Director  William Wyler, Best Screenplay – Robert E. Sherwood, Film Editing – Daniel Mandell, Music Score of Drama or Comedy- Hugo Friedhofer, Special Award – Harold Russell –The hope and courage award for fellow veterans for appearing in the movie, Irving Thalberg Award – Samuel Goldwyn, and last but not least the ‘Best Picture of the Year’ 1946.