‘Best Original Song’: The Other Way To Win An Oscar

Thursday, February 23 by
"I'd like to pour some out for my homey Pete Postlethwaite. Mourn ya till I join ya, PeePee." 

While there are many Oscar controversies regarding who deserved what award or nomination, these conversations normally exist at least in the context of filmmaking. This is not usually the case with the Best Original Song recipients. Sure, sometimes the discussion will veer towards the song’s role in a scene or film, but for the most part, the award seems almost entirely divorced from the film itself, which is fine, because the song performances at the ceremony are my favorite part of the show. What’s that? They don’t do those any more?

I hate the Oscars so much.

8 Mile – “Lose Yourself”

One of the best singles of the 2000’s was certainly deserving of all the acclaim it got, which I can also say about its film, 8 Mile, only because 8 Mile got virtually no acclaim. What served as a fictionalized Eminem biopic fell flat with both audiences and critics alike, but the song was able to transcend, well, everything and get stuck in our heads for the next year or so.

“If you had one shot…one opportunity…”

Top Gun – “Take My Breath Away”

I wish there was an Oscars Jr. ceremony for films that people love but they know are no good. Top Gun would have been like Silence of the Lambs at that ceremony. Here, we get a cheeseball anthem to a cheeseball film taking home a Best Original Song Oscar, which is funny, because it’s hard to imagine this song winning Best Anything. The band that wrote and sang it was Berlin, and the reason you haven’t heard anything else from them is that they’re not very good. But the siren call of Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis making silhouetted love to this jam was too good for the voters to pass up. And who can blame them? They’re only human.

Hustle and Flow – “It’s Hard Out There For A Pimp”

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my honor to present to you…Academy Award winners Three 6 Mafia.

I’m glad that a year after they won this award, Martin Scorsese was able to catch up with them by winning an Oscar of his own. Now, much to his relief, people will mention Scorsese and Three 6 Mafia in the same breath.

Three 6 Mafia almost certainly will go down in history as the least likely Oscar winners of all time. Serisously, click above and enjoy their awesome Oscar performance.

Dick Tracy – “Sooner or Later, I Always Get My Man”

Strangely enough, this comic-book film (that actually did look like a comic book) boasted an all-star cast and was nominated for seven awards, taking home three, including best song for “Sooner or Later, I Always Get My Man,” which was written by Stephen Sondheim and performed by Madonna (who also starred in the film as Breathless Mahoney). The film itself was pretty lackluster, as most films that star Madonna are, and the song wasn’t much better, but it was Madonna performing a song in the context of the film, so the law said it had to be nominated and chosen. And there you go.

Tarzan – “You’ll Be In My Heart”

Tarzan and Phil Collins. A match made in the darkest depths of my hell. Adding to the travesty of this selection is that “Blame Canada” from South Park was nominated, which would have been the pick of the decade, and there’s no end to my ire.

I mean, I like 1980’s Phil Collins. I do not like 1990’s Phil Collins, who came in with Genesis’ “We Can’t Dance” and ended the decade with a song called “You’ll Be In My Heart” from the damn Tarzan soundtrack.

Shaft – “The Theme from Shaft”

This song is awesome, but it’s just hilarious that this borderline blaxploitation film got Academy recognition. It was written by Isaac Hayes, who barks out “Shut yo mouth!” and informs us that John Shaft does, in fact, deliver ten times out of ten. So let’s put that issue to rest right now, okay?

The song walks a line between funk and a porn score in such a delightful way that I’m shocked the Academy members allowed themselves to like it to such an extent that they would allow the word “shaft” to be spoken on their hallowed stage. The 1971 Academy gets props from me, but the 1972 Academy squandered that goodwill by awarding Best Song to some crappy ditty from The Poseidon Adventure.

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