Historical Oscar Short-Lists

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Precious Doll
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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Precious Doll » Mon May 21, 2018 8:11 am

Today I rewatched MASH for the first time since the early 1980s. At the time that I first saw the film I had seen the TV series which I found to be nothing much more than serviceable. The film was and certainly remains better. I was astonished to see that the theme song Suicide is Painless was not nominated for best song and furthermore, Altman's son Mike, who wrote the song was only 14 at the time. The version of the song used in the film is far better than the one used in the TV series. It's some much more sombre, very fitting for the themes of the film, whereas the TV version was a more upbeat take on the on song, appropriate for what is essentially a sitcom with easy laughs scattered throughout from what I can remember.

Does anyone know if the song was expected to gain a nomination? And could Mike Altman's age have anything to do with its exclusion. The songs that were nominated are a forgetful lot and only Suicide is Painless and Let It Be from Let It Be still have any standing nearly 50 years later. Anyway I've been humming the Altman song all day today. I should buy a copy from iTunes.
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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Big Magilla » Tue May 15, 2018 12:58 pm

Echoes of Laura then.
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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Mister Tee » Tue May 15, 2018 11:46 am

Correct on Mrs. Robinson. The version in the film consists of the chorus only; the verses first appeared on Bookends (and didn't hit radio play till a week or two after the Oscars). Thus, the song's most famous line ("Where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio...?") was missing. Of course, the same could be said for I Just Called to Say I Love You years later -- the verses weren't heard till Stevie's hit single.

I'd long thought the same as you about This Is My Song, but I recently saw the film for the first time and found, to my shock, that it was never sung in the film -- an instrumental version plays while Brando & Loren dance, but that's it. The Petula Clark single clearly identified it as coming from the film, but that was apparently misleading.

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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Big Magilla » Tue May 15, 2018 2:55 am

I had always assumed "Mrs. Robinson", which was written by Paul Simon, not Simon and his singing partner, Art Garfunkel, was passed over because the version used in The Graduate was just a snippet of the song that lasted a little over a minute and wasn't even copyrighted until January, 1968 when the soundtrack album was released. The full song didn't appear until three months later when it was included on Simon & Garfunkel's follow-up album, Bookends.

The big omission from 1967, in addition to "To Sir, with Love" and "Theme from The Valley of the Dolls, " was Charlie Chaplin's "This Is My Song" from the otherwise lamentable A Countess from Hong Kong which was a huge hit for Petula Clark.
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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby anonymous1980 » Mon May 14, 2018 11:35 pm

Mister Tee wrote:
...but no mention of Mrs. Robinson...


I'm not sure if this was at all accurate, but in the case of "Mrs. Robinson", apparently I've heard from at least two sources that Simon & Garfunkel failed to do the necessary paperwork in order to qualify for consideration.

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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Big Magilla » Mon May 14, 2018 6:49 pm

That's a good question. From my discussions with Damien, I gathered that Mason did most of the research and Damien did most of the writing.

The "songs not nominated" that Damien lists go beyond just those that were short-listed. I never had a conversation with him about the songs, but I did have several conversations with him about the "films not nominated for best picture" that he listed. He always said that the films listed were the ones most audiences of "today" would want to have been nominated, not necessarily what was popular at the time of their eligibility . He probably had the same thought in mind when he was listing songs.

In the case of the two songs I mentioned, both were highly popular at the time of their eligibility . "You're Gonna Hear from Me" had popular cover versions by Connie Francis, Jim Nabors and others in the days when songs could still bring in audiences to a film. "The Theme from New York, New York" wasn't recorded by Frank Sinatra until 1980, but anyone who saw the film in 1977 was immediately taken with Liza Minnelli's knockout performance of it, which was the best thing in the film.
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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Mister Tee » Mon May 14, 2018 6:25 pm

OscarGuy wrote:When Damien wrote inside Oscar, one section that always interested me was the "songs not nominated." Were these his own observations or were these the shortlists?


His (their) own -- he and Mason, in fact, included many of those songs Magilla and I noted below as missing from even the shortlist.

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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby OscarGuy » Mon May 14, 2018 6:00 pm

When Damien wrote inside Oscar, one section that always interested me was the "songs not nominated." Were these his own observations or were these the shortlists?
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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Big Magilla » Mon May 14, 2018 4:27 pm

Speaking of songs, two of the most shocking omissions for me have always been "You're Gonna Hear from Me" from Inside Daisy Clover and Theme from New York, New York which made the shortlists but were left out of the actual nominations which went to far inferior songs, in the case of "Theme from New York, New York", all of the nominees.
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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Mister Tee » Mon May 14, 2018 4:20 pm

There's really too much information in these lists to hunt out all the interesting elements, but a few things I looked for or noted:

Two hugely famous musical themes -- The Third Man and A Summer Place -- were not only not nominated, they didn't even make the cut of 10.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote more famous songs for A Hard Day's Night and Help! than many composers have in a lifetime, but not a single one was even shortlisted. Let It Be, in 1970, was shortlisted, but then cut for songs no one's ever heard of. It was only when McCartney went off on his own (and started sucking) that nominations came his way.

Two films you'd have thought naturals for editing nominations in 1967 -- Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate -- DID make the initial list, but were naturally left off in favor of Dr. Dolittle.

The best song list for that same year has always been a "how could they???" for me. I note that one of the obvious omittees -- The Happening, a top five hit for the Supremes -- did make the ten (along with In the Heat of the Night), but no mention of Mrs. Robinson, the Valley of the Dolls theme, or To Sir, With Love, the latter of which was the number one record of the year.

But Springtime for Hitler was a semi-finalist the next year!

For all those who cleave to "an editing nomination is essential for a best picture win", three of the notable exceptions -- Tom Jones, A Man for All Seasons and The Godfather Part II -- DID make the initial 10, anyway. So, the stat isn't entirely useless.

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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Big Magilla » Mon May 14, 2018 4:10 pm

Interesting.

"Song for a Musical Picture"from 1950-1956 and 1960-1961 should obviously be Score for a Musical Picture.
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Re: Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby mlrg » Mon May 14, 2018 3:47 pm

I have also seen this today. It also has a link to letterbox.

Pretty fun list to check out.

Another fun stat is that not a single James Bond theme song was shortlisted aside from the ones that were nominated. Not even the iconic songs sang by Shirley Bassey.

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Historical Oscar Short-Lists

Postby Mister Tee » Mon May 14, 2018 2:32 pm

Those of us who've been around a long time will remember there was a time when the crafts branches, at some point shortly after Christmas, released lists of the ten finalists from which the ultimate five nominees (then released in mid/late February) would be culled.

In those days, when Oscar nerd-dom was a niche thing, these lists didn't get wide publicity -- they were printed in the Hollywood trades only. I'd been following the Oscars voraciously since about 1964, and only became aware of these lists in 1971. Sometimes, they gave us important information early -- as in 1972, when the production design category omitted The Godfather from even its initial 10 (Gordon Willis' cinematography did make the 10; it was only on Nominations Day that it was left off), presaging the film's less-than-expected showing when the awards were presented.

This tradition was stopped in 1980, except for a few small categories like make-up and visual effects. And, of course, it was revived in recent years for a number of categories (including documentaries), with song ostensibly to join this year.

Well, someone at Awards Watch has found a more-or-less complete compilation of these lists, dating back to 1949. Presented for your Oscar geek pleasure:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1kLL ... E97FI/edit

ON EDIT: If by chance this has been linked earlier, my apologies for redundancy. But I've see it nowhere else.


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