What Should Have Won the Best Song Oscar for 1937?

In a strong nominee for one of the worst Oscar wins in Academy history, “Sweet Leilani” from Waikiki Wedding took the field. Here is the original field:

Best Song: Harry Owens’ “Sweet Leilani,” won from Waikiki Wedding, over Frederick Hollander and Leo Robin’s “Whispers in the Dark” from Artists and Models; Harry Warren and Al Dubin’s “Remember Me” from Mr. Dodd Takes the Air; the Gershwins’ “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” from Shall We Dance; and Sammy Fain and Lew Brown’s “That Old Feeling,” from Walter Wanger’s Vogues of 1938″

As I said in the original chapter from V. 1 WHO Won?!? An Irreverent Look at the Oscars:

“God help us all…”Sweet Leilani”?!?!? Blame the extras; they were allowed to vote, and apparently, the Gershwins were too sophisticated for the unwashed masses. Let’s make this clear. Anybody who prefers “Sweet Leilani” over “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” by George and Ira Gershwin from Shall We Dance needs a serious transplant of taste, rhythm, and ears. At least the Academy nominated the Gershwins for this song, even if they also forgot “They All Laughed” from the same film, and “A Foggy Day” and “Nice Work If You Can Get It” from A Damsel in Distress. For that matter they also forgot Irving Berlin’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” from On the Avenue, Cole Porter’s “In the Still of the Night” from Rosalie, and Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer’s “Too Marvelous for Words” from Ready, Willing and Able. All six of those omitted songs definitely deserved a nomination. I suspect the extras just preferred Bing Crosby to Fred Astaire; I can understand that, to a degree. Still, “Sweet Leilani” seems to confirm that the masses are indeed unwashed.

For that matter, so was the Academy, for nominating “Remember Me” and “Whispers in the Dark.” They cleaned up a bit for “That Old Feeling,” by Sammy Fain and Lew Brown.”

Let’s get the rest of the trash out of the way:

Oddly enough, the nominated song was deleted from Marlene Dietrich’s 1936 film, Desire. Here is her recording of it, since I can’t locate the one from Artists and Models:

But here comes the good stuff!

Here is the nominated song by the Gershwins:

They could have also nominated this one from the same movie:

And here’s all the other stuff they forgot, that I mentioned above:

The Gershwins provided the songs for Fred Astaire’s break from Ginger Rogers, Damsel in Distress:

“A Foggy Day”:

“Nice Work If You Can Get It”

And let’s not forget Irving Berlin’s work in On the Avenue:

“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm”:

Cole Porter also deserved some attention for his songs in Rosalie:

“In the Still of the Night” (I couldn’t locate the movie version, so here’s another one from 1937, by Will Osborne and His Orchestra:

Johnny Mercer and Richard Whiting also offered “Too Marvelous for Words” from Ready, Willing and Able:

Those are some pretty powerful songs to ignore — as is the next omission:

“…they went and forgot Snow White. Seriously, while they’re not the adult art the Gershwins, Berlin and Porter produced, few movie songs have lasted as long in the popular consciousness as those by Frank Churchill and Larry Morey for Snow White: “Whistle While You Work” and “Someday My Prince Will Come.”

“And how could they have missed their own theme song, “Hooray for Hollywood” by Richard Whiting and Johnny Mercer from Hollywood Hotel?”

Here’s my opinion (from http://www.amazon.com/WHO-Won-Irreverent-Oscars-1927-1943-ebook/dp/B00A1W9MR4/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1):

“Still and all, the Oscar should have gone to the Gershwins for “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” a song that encompasses longing and love, and the permanent memory and regret that losing that love can bring. Trust me; I just took a shower.”

What’s your choice?

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