What Should Have Won the Best Song Oscar for 1935?

Welcome to the second go-round of Best Song. The Academy did considerably better this time in its selections, although the omissions still bug the clef right out of me. I’m a lot less snotty and snooty this time around, although probably not less opinionated…

Again, I’ve chosen to use the text (mostly) from v.1 of WHO Won?!? An Irreverent Look at the Oscars, marked off by quotes.

Here are the official nominees:

Best Song: Harry Warren and Al Dubin’s “Lullaby of Broadway” won from Gold Diggers of 1935, over Jerome Kern, Dorothy Fields, and Jimmy McHugh’s “Lovely to Look At” from Roberta, and Irving Berlin’s “Cheek to Cheek” from Top Hat

” The winner, “Lullaby of Broadway” is a very good song – but compared to “Cheek to Cheek,” “Isn’t This a Lovely Day?” and “Top Hat, White Tie and Tails” from Top Hat, it’s distinctly second class. With music by Harry Warren and lyrics by Al Dubin, “Lullaby of Broadway” became a standard. Sung by Winifred Shaw and Dick Powell, I suspect the number won more for the unique Busby Berkeley number than for its own merits. The Oscar definitely wasn’t the best choice, but a nomination would have still been a good idea.”

“Irving Berlin’s songs for Top Hat, including “Cheek to Cheek,” represent one of the highest peaks of American songwriting. I simply cannot do justice. Go watch the movie again. Better yet, may I suggest Ella Fitzgerald’s The Irving Berlin Songbook?Your ears will thank me.”

“Irving Berlin’s songs for Top Hat, including “Cheek to Cheek,” represent one of the highest peaks of American songwriting. I simply cannot do justice. Go watch the movie again. Better yet, may I suggest Ella Fitzgerald’s The Irving Berlin Songbook?Your ears will thank me.”

 

“Lovely to Look At” from Roberta is but one of the great songs in this Astaire and Rogers musical. But then, we are talking music by Jerome Kern, one of the giants of American songwriting. This time out, with lyrics by Otto Harbach, Dorothy Fields, and Jimmy McHugh, we get “I’ll Be Hard to Handle,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” and “I Won’t Dance” as well. Irene Dunne and Randolph Scott also star, but things never quite gel in this lesser entry in the RKO musicals. Still, the four songs I’ve mentioned here should have received nominations.”

Wonderful year, across the board, no?

As always, I have much more to say in my book: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OPEELH0

 

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