What Should Have Won the Best Song Oscar for 1934?

No, I haven’t made a mistake. Well, not any that I know of…but I’m sure you folks will let me know the minute you find one! I haven’t forgotten 1927-1933 — 1934 was the very first year for the Best Song category.

The text below is taken (mostly) from WHO Won?!? An Irreverent Look at the Oscars, v. 1: 1927-1943. I’ve marked off the original text in quotes. Be warned — I’m about to get extremely opinionated. Feel free to get opinionated back in the comments below. Normally, I’m not this pig-headed or decisive about these things.

The original nominees were as follows:

“Best Song: Con Conrad and Herb Magidson won for “The Continental,” from The Gay Divorcee,over Vincent Youmans, Edward Eliscu, and Gus Kahn’s “Carioca” from Flying Down to Rio; and Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin’s “Love in Bloom” from She Loves Me Not”

“I will now proceed to prove to you, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how boneheaded the Academy voters were then. The song that should have won is “Night and Day” by Cole Porter, from The Gay Divorcee. If you don’t know that song, what the hell is wrong with you?!? I suggest the Frank Sinatra rendition from A Swingin’ Affair. Sheesh – do I have to teach you EVERYTHING?!?”

Here is “The Continental”:

And here, from the same movie, is “Night and Day.”:

“The Carioca” is a novelty number at best, but it made Fred Astaire and Ginger Roger into a bankable team, which led to The Gay Divorcee:

The last nominee:

“Some other songs they didn’t bother nominating include “I Only Have Eyes for You”; “I’m in the Mood for Love”; and “On the Good Ship Lollipop” – hey, that Temple kid was cute! All three of those would have been better than the ones they nominated. Why does the Academy have no ear for music?!”

“I Only Have Eyes for You” is from a now-forgotten Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler musical called Dames. Busby Berkeley choreographed the dance numbers:

“I’m in the Mood for Love” was introduced by Frances Langford in the equally forgotten Every Night at Eight:

This isn’t the recording from the movie, because it was unavailable:

“On the Good Ship Lollipop” is actually set on an airplane, believe it or not, in the Shirley Temple vehicle, Bright Eyes:

“And don’t bother telling me that “Night and Day” wasn’t written for the movie. Over the years, the Academy has handed nominations and Oscars for Best Song to tunes that clearly weren’t written for the movies. If they can break their own rules, so can I – at least for Cole Porter and this song.

“The Oscar should have gone to Cole Porter for “Night and Day,” a classic work of elegant passion.”

Well, after that soapbox oration, it may seem a little silly to offer you the option to disagree, but here’s the link to my book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OPEELH0

And the poll:


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