|Knockin' On Heaven's Door|
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid
1973 Best Original Song winner: The Way We Were (The Way We Were)
Saturday Night Fever
1977 Best Original Song winner: You Light Up My Life (You Light Up My Life)
The Jazz Singer
1980 Best Original Song winner: Fame (Fame)
|Fight the Power|
Do the Right Thing
1989 Best Original Song winner: Under the Sea (The Little Mermaid)
|Exhale (Shoop Shoop)|
Waiting to Exhale
1995 Best Original Song winner: Colors of the Wind (Pocahontas)
I figure now that we have two Original Song nominees, 2011 will be seen as a lousy year for this category. Of all the songs from The Muppets they could have nominated, they picked one of the worst (and one of the most self-consciously stupid). Man or Muppet is showy in how the lyrics are suppose to be silly (if I'm a Muppet/then I'm a very manly Muppet--how genius). I can't say that Bret McKenzie is another 'comedic genius' given I've never seen Flight of the Concords (and honestly, have no interest in doing so). However, I always got the sense that McKenzie was mocking both the Muppets and the conventions of a musical. That's within his right to do so, but I question how one can be rewarded for laughing at the thing he's been rewarded for.
Real In Rio is a cute little song (and I love a good samba number as much as the next guy) but it's not the greatest song I've heard from a film all year (cue Star-Spangled Man from Captain America). The only negative is that we would be stuck having to hear Jesse Eisenberg sing for time and eternity, and given he has no range as an actor (he ALWAYS plays the same nebbish character, even in the alleged Citizen Kane of our time: The Social Network), what makes one think he would make a great singer? I'm not rooting for either of those, though if pressed I'd go for Real In Rio only because I DETEST Man or Muppet so much (even though I think that will win...unfortunately).
I make a prediction: whichever one wins, it won't be remembered the same way such songs as White Christmas from Holiday Inn, The Shadow of Your Smile from The Sandpiper, Que Sera Sera from The Man Who Knew Too Much, Mona Lisa from Captain Carey, U.S.A., or the Citizen Kane of movie songs: Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz are. Those songs, along with others like When You Wish Upon A Star (Pinocchio), Flashdance...What A Feeling (Flashdance), Let The River Run (Working Girl), The Windmills of Your Mind (The Thomas Crown Affair) or the title song from Beauty & The Beast, are truly beautiful and will be remembered, perhaps more than the movie (when was the last time Captain Carey, U.S.A. or The Sandpiper were shown on television or rereleased). I doubt Man or Muppet or Real In Rio will.
Instead, when we think of them, we'll mention them in the same sentence as lesser Best Original Song winners like For All We Know from Lovers & Other Strangers, Sweet Leilani from Waikiki Wedding (which beat out They Can't Take That Away From Me from Shall We Dance) or You'll Be In My Heart from Tarzan (which beat out When She Loved Me from Toy Story 2, a song I'm not ashamed to admit always gets me crying). When the actual winner is announced, the writer/writers will take the prize, make their speeches, and the world will forget their Oscar-winning song...because both of them are completely forgettable.