Sunday, July 10, 2016

Best Song: "You'll Be in My Heart" (1999)

Scene from Tarzan
Welcome to Best Song, a new weekly column released on Sunday dedicated to chronicling the Best Original Song category over the course of its many decades. The goal is to listen to and critique every song that has ever been nominated in the category as well as find the Best Best Song and the Best Loser. By the end, we'll have a comprehensive list of this music category and will hopefully have a better understanding not only of the evolution, but what it takes to receive a nomination here. It may seem easy now, but wait until the bad years.

The Preface

The year is 1999 and The Academy is celebrating its 72nd year. Director Sam Mendes wins Best Picture with the suburban dark comedy American Beauty. He also becomes the sixth person to win Best Director for his directorial debut. Kevin Spacey's win in the Best Actor field for the same film also made him the 10th person to win in lead and supporting categories. Angelina Jolie's Best Supporting Actress win for Girl, Interrupted put her in the second team of father/daughter Oscar-winning duos (her father being Jon Voight). Meanwhile, Disney ends the decade right with the Tarzan song from Phil Collins called "You'll Be in My Heart."

The Nominees

Song: "Save Me"
Film: Magnolia
Performers: Aimee Mann

I can easily make the argument that the 90's was probably my favorite decade for Best Original Song nominees, and it may just be because it was the last dying breath of the movie soundtrack nominations. Aimee Mann is also a soft spot for me and this song slowly treads through its melancholy with a certain beauty. I like it a whole lot and it's easy to get lost in the melody. It's also got a beautiful subtext lyrically, making this an all around nice cap to a very strong decade. It also doesn't hurt that it's from a Paul Thomas Anderson film. That alone gives it an edge, though not enough to win against this week's very tough competition.

Song: "Music of My Heart"
Film: Music of the Heart
Performers: Gloria Estefan, N*SYNC

I don't even know what's going on anymore. The Oscars had an N*SYNC song nominated for Best Original Song, from a film directed by Wes Craven. There's so much that is confusing about this nominee that I wouldn't do it justice. However, I would have to say that it's a quaint, if corny, song that captures the esteem that it seems to be going for. It has all the enthusiasm that is necessary for an inspirational song. However, it's still so tepid and lacking confrontation that it almost hardly exists as anything else. I simply don't know how this song sneaked into this list. Was it a slow year despite being what many call "the best year for cinema"? I know that doesn't mean best music, but still... it makes you wonder sometimes.

Song: "Blame Canada"
Film: South Park:: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Performers: Mary Kay Bergman and Trey Parker

I love this song and you're not going to convince me otherwise. The real travesty is that we don't have more like it. It's so good, even Robin Williams performed it at the Oscars

Song: "When She Loved Me"
Film: Toy Story 2
Performers: Sarah McLachlan

Right as "Blame Canada" seemed like a shoe-in for this week's Best Loser, this song came into the fold. I'm not mad, actually. It's just that after my expressed love of Toy Story 2, you'll understand why this is one of those overpowering songs that gets me every time. I had to brace myself before listening just because it would hit me hard. I love this song and while I'm not a Sarah McLachlan fan necessarily, her work on this is phenomenal and her tender moans only add to the depth of its longing. It's a great song and one of the best that's ever been nominated. Good luck topping this, any song nominated in the future.

The Winner

Song: "You'll Be in My Heart"
Film: Tarzan
Performers: Phil Collins

Welcome to the club, Phil Collins. I'll admit that I actually began rooting for him to win this ever since his impressive output in the 80's. What's most impressive is that while he may have done the soundtrack for one of the most idiosyncratic Disney movies, his work actually is worth of being its own standalone segment within the film. While it may not be as lyrically challenging or impressive as other Disney winners, Collins confirms himself as a pop king by managing to orchestrate and produce an overwhelming, powerful ballad that makes you feel the emotional power that he's going for. I really like this song, even if Tarzan's far from my favorite of the 90's movies. I can only imagine what is going to happen in the decade to come. I doubt it will compare to the power that was just this year, let alone a rather solid decade. 

Best Loser

A comprehensive list and ranking of the songs that were nominated but did not win. This is a list predicated on which song that was nominated I liked the best.

1. "When She Loved Me"  Toy Story 2 (1999)
2. "The Green Leaves of Summer" - The Alamo (1960)
3. "That's Amore" - The Caddy (1953)
4. "A Town Without Pity" - A Town Without Pity (1961)
5. "The Rainbow Connection" - The Muppet Movie (1979)
6. "Somewhere Out There" - An American Tail (1986)
7. "The Circle of Life" - The Lion King (1994)
8. "The Man That Got Away" - A Star is Born (1954)
9. "Ben" - Ben (1972)
10. "You've Got a Friend in Me" - Toy Story (1995)
11. "Somewhere in My Memory" - Home Alone (1990)
12. "I Love to See You Smile" - Parenthood (1989)
13. "The Sweetheart Tree" - The Great Race (1965)
14. "Carioca" - Flying Down to Rio (1934)
15. "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" - Buck Privates (1941)
16. "Nobody Does it Better" - The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
17. "Out Here on My Own" - Fame (1980)
18. "Journey Into the Past" - Anastasia (1997)
19. "Belle" - Beauty and the Beast (1991)
20. "Ghostbusters" - Ghostbusters (1984)
21. "Friend Like Me" - Aladdin (1992)
22. "Eye of the Tiger" - Rocky III (1982)
23. "Gonna Fly Now" - Rocky (1976)
24. "Charade" - Charade (1963)
25. "Pieces of Dreams" - Pieces of Dreams (1970)
26. "Wild is the Wind" - Wild is the Wind (1957) 
27. "(Love is) The Tender Trap" - The Tender Trap (1955) 
28. "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To)" -Mahogany (1975)
29. "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" - Yentl (1983)
30. "Pass That Peace Pipe" - Good News (1947)
31. "They're Either Too Young Or Too Old" - Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
32. "Cheek to Cheek" - Top Hat (1935)
33. "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" - Orchestra Wives (1942)
34. "Georgy Girl" - Georgy Girl (1966)
35. "The Trolley Song" - Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
36. "Ac-Cent-U-Ate the Positive" - Here Comes the Wave (1945)
37. "Again" - Poetic Justice (1993)
38. "Come Saturday Morning" - The Sterile Cuckoo (1969)
39. "Cry Freedom" - Cry Freedom (1987)
40. "Live and Let Die" - Live and Let Die (1973)
41. "That'll Do" - Babe: Pig in the City (1998)
42. "Blazing Saddles" - Blazing Saddles (1974)
43. "Life is What You Make It" - Koch (1971)
44. "Thoroughly Modern Millie" - Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
45. "Where Love Has Gone" - Where Love Has Gone (1964)
46. "Zing a Little Zong"  - Just For You (1952)
47. "Ready to Take a Chance Again" - Foul Play (1978)
48. "That Thing You Do" - That Thing You Do (1996)
49. "Walk on the Wild Side" - Walk on the Wild Side (1962)
50. "Almost in Your Arms (Love Song from Houseboat)" - Houseboat (1958)
51. "Build Me a Kiss to Dream On" - The Strip (1951)
52. "Separate Lives" - White Night (1985)
53. "Star!" - Star! (1968)
54. "Two Hearts" - Buster (1988)
55. "Wilhemina" - Wabash Avenue (1950)
56. "Through a Long and Sleepless Night" - Come to the Stable (1949)
57. "Waltzing in the Clouds" - Spring Parade (1940)
58. "Endless Love" - Endless Love (1981)
59. "Strange Are the Ways of Love" - The Young Land (1959)
60. "Ole Buttermilk Sky" - Canyon Passage (1946)
61. "Julie" - Julie (1956)
62. "Dust" - Under Western Stars (1938)
63. "The Woody Woodpecker Song" - Wet Blanket Policy (1948)
64. "I Poured My Heart Into a Song" - Second Fiddle (1939)
65. "Remember Me" - Mr. Dodd Takes the Air (1937)
66. "I've Got You Under My Skin" - Born to Dance (1936)

Best Best Song

A comprehensive list and ranking of the songs that won this category. 

1. "Moon River" - Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
2. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - The Wizard of Oz (1939)
3. "My Heart Will Go On" - Titanic (1997)
4. "A Whole New World" - Aladdin (1992)
5. "The Way We Were" - The Way We Were (1973)
6. "The Way You Look Tonight" - Swing Time (1936)
7. "The Morning After" - The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
8. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
9. "Swinging on a Star" - Going My Way (1944)
10. "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" - The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
11. "Under the Sea" - The Little Mermaid (1989)
12. "It Goes Like It Goes" - Norma Rae (1979)
13. "You'll Be in My Heart" - Tarzan (1999)
14. "Colors of the Wind" - Pocahontas (1995)
15. "Theme From Shaft" - Shaft (1971)
16. "For All We Know" - Love and Other Strangers (1970)
17. "All the Way" - The Joker is Wild (1957)
18. "Never on Sunday" - Never on Sunday (1960)
19. "Chim Chim Cher-ee" - Mary Poppins (1964)
20. "I'm Easy" - Nashville (1975)
21. "Beauty and the Beast" - Beauty and the Beast (1991)
22. "Talk to the Animals" - Dr. Dolittle (1967)
23. "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - Neptune's Daughter (1949)
24. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" - Here Comes the Groom (1951)
25. "Born Free" - Born Free (1966)
26. "Fame" - Fame (1980)
27. "Three Coins in the Fountain" - Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
28. "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')" - High Noon (1952)
29. "Love is A Many Splendored Thing" - Love is a Many Splendored Thing (1955)
30. "It Might as Well Be Spring" - State Fair (1945)
31. "White Christmas" - Holiday Inn (1942)
32. "Thanks for the Memory" - The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
33. "The Last Time I Saw Paris" - Lady Be Good (1941)
34. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?" - The Lion King (1994)
35. "High Hopes" - A Hole in the Head (1959)
36. "Gigi" - Gigi (1958)
37. "Mona Lisa" - Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950)
38. "The Streets of Philadelphia" - Philadelphia (1993)
39. "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" - Dirty Dancing (1987)
40. "You Light Up My Life" - You Light Up My Life (1977)
41. "The Days of Wine and Roses" - The Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
42. "Up Where We Belong" - An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
43. "The Shadow of Your Heart" - The Sandpiper (1965)
44. "Take My Breath Away" - Top Gun (1986)
45. "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" - Dick Tracy (1990)
46. "Buttons and Bows" - The Paleface (1948)
47. "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" - Song of the South (1947)
48. "When You Wish Upon a Star" - Pinocchio (1940)
49. "The Windmills of Your Mind" - The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
50. "You Must Love Me" - Evita (1996)
51. "Last Dance" - Thank God It's Friday (1978)
52. "Secret Love" - Calamity Jane (1953)
53. "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)" - Arthur (1981)
54. "When You Believe" - The Prince of Egypt (1998)
55. "Say You Say Me" - White Night (1985)
56. "Evergreen (Theme From A Star is Born)" - A Star is Born (1976)
57. "Call Me Irresponsible" - Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
58. "You'll Never Know" - Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
59. "On the Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe" - Harvey Girls (1946)
60. "The Continental" - The Gay Divorcee (1934)
61. "Let the River Run" - Working Girl (1988)
62. "The Lullaby of Broadway" - Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
63. "Flashdance... What a Feeling" - Flashdance (1983)
64. "We May Never Love Like This Again" - The Towering Inferno (1974)
65. "Sweet Leiulani" - Waikiki Wedding (1937)
66. "I Just Called to Say I Love You" - The Woman in Red (1984)

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