If you haven't noticed lately, which would be absolutely astonishing, Pharrell's song "Happy" from Despicable Me 2 is playing literally everywhere these days. The song is catchy as hell and I'm sure will be around for a long time but somehow, it didn't win the Oscar for Best Song. No matter how much you love "Let It Go" from Frozen (and boy do I), it's a guaranteed FACT that you'll hear "Happy" about 100x as much as you'll hear that song for the rest of your life.
So it got me thinking, what are some of the other songs that were nominated for Best Song at the Oscars in the past that are better than what won for that particular year or just awesome in general.
But before we get there, just take a look at the songs from 1984 that were nominated. It was easily the best year of music at the Oscars in its history...
Phil Collins for "Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)" from Against All Odds
Kenny Loggins for "Footloose" from Footloose
Tom Snow & Dean Pitchford (Deniece Williams) for "Let's Hear It For The Boy" from Footloose
Ray Parker, Jr. for "Ghostbusters" from Ghostbusters
WINNER - Stevie Wonder for "I Just Called To Say I Love You" for The Woman In Red
I'd have to say that I "I Just Called To Say I Love You" is probably my least favorite song out of the nominees, but what a list for a single year, AmIRight?
So here's the list of the 10 Best Songs that didn't win Best Song at the Oscars.
Irving Berlin (Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers) for "Cheek to Cheek" from Top Hat
Winner - Harry Warren & Al Dubin for "Lullaby of Broadway" from Gold Diggers of 1935
I had to start with a real throwback and a really, really, far throwback at that. If your song is from 1935 and I know it, I think that qualifies for making this list. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are names that people know today, so a dance sequence with the two to a great song probably should've won.
Burt Bacharach (Tom Jones) for "What's New Pussycat?" from What's New Pussycat?
Winner - Johnny Mandel & Paul Francis Webster for "The Shadow of Your Smile" from The Sandpiper
Burt Bacharach has some great songs in movies having been nominated for 6 Oscars (winning three) with such movies like Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid and the original Casino Royale. With "What's New Pussycat?," I don't think he could have sung this song like Tom Jones sung this song. Just not his style. But ask yourself this, does Tom Jones have a scene in two Austin Powers movies?? 'Cause Burt Bacharach sure does.
Diane Warren (Aerosmith) for "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" from Armageddon
Winner - Stephen Schwartz for "When You Believe" from The Prince of Egypt
This is half because of it being a really memorable song and half being because a song from the freaking Prince of Egypt won that year. I will pay $5 to whoever can sing "When You Believe" off the top of their head. Or can name a single character in that movie. This song was Aerosmith's first number 1 hit in their 28 years together. So, yeah, it probably should have won that year.
Elliott Smith for "Miss Misery" from Good Will Hunting
Winner - James Horner & Will Jennings (Celine Dion) for "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic
The only reason that this isn't higher is because "My Heart Will Go On" is a classic song for what was, the highest grossing film of all time, sung by the 3rd best selling female artist of all-time. Celine Dion has sold more than 220 million records. That is INSANE. Elliot Smith is awesome and tragically died so young. His song "Miss Misery" was prefect for Good Will Hunting's tone and feel.
Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman for "Blame Canada" from South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut
Winner - Phil Collins for "You'll Be In My Heart" from Tarzan
Randy Newman for "You've Got A Friend" from Toy Story
Winner - Alan Menken & Stephen Schwartz for "Colors of the Wind" from Pocahontas
"Colors of the Wind" is a good Disney song but unlike most of Randy Newman's other songs that I can't stand, "You've Got A Friend" is the perfect song for Toy Story. Just absolutely perfect. And this is what I think Randy Newman actually sounds like and how he writes lyrics to most of his songs.
Adam Schlesinger for "That Thing You Do!" from That Thing You Do!
Winner - Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice for "You Must Love Me" from Evita
From Fountains of Wayne, the group behind "Stacey's Mom," Adam Schlesinger delivered maybe the hardest song to write on this list. He had to create a song that would be played over and over again during the movie, sound like it would be a hit in 1964, and also not have the audience get annoyed with hearing it a couple of dozen times. Too bad he couldn't do that for his group too.
Their other song "Dance With Me Tonight" was sneaky really good too by the way.
Huey Lewis & The News for "The Power of Love" from Back to the Future
Winner - Lionel Richie for "Say You, Say Me" from White Nights
Classic Huey Lewis & The News here. This song is so 80's and so Back to the Future, it's not even funny. It was cool of director Robert Zemekis to give Huey a little cameo of telling Marty this his band was too loud to play the school dance as they play his song.
Fun Fact, Michael J. Fox actually played the guitar during the Johnny B. Goode song at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance.
Bill Conti, Carol Conners, & Ayn Robbins for "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky
Winner - Barbara Streisand & Paul Williams for "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star is Born)" from A Star is Born
Jim Peterik & Frankie Sullivan (Survivor) for "Eye of the Tiger" from Rocky III
Winner - Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, & Will Jennings for "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer and a Gentleman
One of the songs deserved to win. I don't care which, but one of them did. "Eye of the Tiger" is a better song but "Gonna Fly Now" accompanied by the scene with Rocky running up the stairs in Philly is iconic...but "Eye of the Tiger" is pretty much on every single person in the world's workout playlist, so you be the judge.
David Foster & Linda Thompson (Whitney Houston) for "I Have Nothing" from The Bodyguard
Winner - Alan Menken & Tim Rice for "A Whole New World" from Aladdin
One of the best singers of all-time singing one of her best songs. Now, I love Aladdin. I love everything about Aladdin. It's my favorite Disney movie of them all. But you have Whitney Houston at the absolute top of her game here. Imagine you're the person who beat Whitney Houston singing this song and you sang "A Whole New World." Would you think you deserved to beat her? I didn't think so.
Paul Williams & Kenneth Ascher (Kermit) for "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie
Winner - David Shire & Norman Gimbel for "It Goes Like It Goes" from Norma Rae
So what if I included 12 songs in a top 10 list. This is such a beautiful song and I own it on vinyl, so that should tell you what you really need to know about how good it is.