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Category Archives: Oscars

Best Original Song Nominees (89th Academy Awards)


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Does anything about that top image look slightly off to you? If so, it’s probably because there are only four films nominated in the Best Original Song category instead of five. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t five nominated songs. It’s just that one of these movies has two. No points for guessing which one.

This is actually not that uncommon. In fact, the Best Original Song category has a history of wonky nomination counts for a variety of reasons. Back in 2013 one of the songs had its nomination revoked. Prior to that, a series of rules changes designed to reduce any perception of the category being “filled out” with unworthy nominees sometimes resulted in fields of three or four. A nomination process that required voters to rate each song, with only those rated higher than a set target gaining a place on the Oscars stage produced a situation in 2011 in which only two songs were nominated (prompting one high-profile singer to accuse the Academy of being “mean”). Over the first eleven years of the category’s existence voters were permitted to nominated as many songs as they liked…and boy did they like! Throughout the early forties no less than nine songs were nominated every single year, topping off at a whopping FOURTEEN in 1945. Obviously that was an out of control situation. People love being honored and they certainly love seeing their projects get free promotion. With no television show to keep on time, why not pile up as many nominations as possible if you can?

For a good long time after that, the Academy put a cap of five nominations on the category and as far as I can tell that was working pretty well. There were a few times when there were a small number of songs which the Academy considered to be qualified, and they would automatically reduce the number of nominated songs to three. This happened in 1988 when Carl Simon’s song from Working Girl took home the gold over Phil Collins’ retro bit of fluff from his otherwise unknown starring vehicle Buster. Considering the well-publicized demographics of the Academy it’s a little hard to swallow when they proclaim that only two or three songs deserve nominations. I’m going to stop short of criticizing them for nominating more than one song from a single movie, though. I personally think it’s pretty great if a particular musical is really that good that they can shower it with praise. Disney’s Beauty & the Beast really is that good, and a lot of people felt the same way about The Lion King. Besides, if they were limited to one song per film, my favorite movie song of the year probably wouldn’t have been nominated this time around.
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Best Actress Bracket Game: Meryl Streep Vs. Jodie Foster


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We have three actresses left in our bracket game, but only two spots in the final round.  One of them has already been claimed which means either Meryl Streep or Jodie Foster is going to be sent packing.  Both are two-time winners, but Streep is the Nomination Queen.  Can Foster, who hasn’t been nominated for an Oscar in over twenty years, possibly pull off the upset that eluded Sissy Spacek and Diane Keaton?  That’s up to you guys.

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Secret Love”


Gee whiz that’s a great melody. And I guess it should be since it was kind of lifted from a piano sonata by Schubert. There are other versions I like better, but we’ll get to at least one of those below. Yes, Doris Day is undeniably square by today’s standards, but she also had one of the clearest, cleanest singing voices you’ll ever hear in the style. That probably contributed to her squeaky clean image which fell out of fashion in the late 1960s. The reputation is not entirely undeserved, as the tone of her films failed to change with the times and she refused the role of Mrs Robinson in The Graduate, saying in her memoirs that she had done so on moral grounds. People began calling Day “the world’s oldest virgin” and her once boffo film career cooled relatively quickly. It has been generally forgotten what a big star she actually was.
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Oscars Against the Clock!


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Lots of us have been there: A friend invites you to a party to see the Oscars telecast and you say “Yeah! I love movies! I’ll be there!” You’ve been to these parties before. They can be fun. Then as the days go on and you get caught up in your day to day life the memory of this invite recedes. Now it’s just a week until the party and you take another look at that list of nominees your favorite pop culture blog posted a few weeks ago and realize that you’ve seen practically none of the nominated movies. What the heck are you going to do? Come up with an excuse for missing your friend’s party? Risk looking like an uncultured slob?

Well, if you’re willing to dig in just a little you can probably hit some sort of happy middle ground. We here at LeBlog want to help you if you have found yourself in this sort of conundrum. Below you’ll find a list of the top nominated films and performances and where you can find them. If you make efficient use of this information you can look like a relatively with-it individual at your big social gathering!
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Best Actress Bracket Game: Ingrid Bergman Vs. Katharine Hepburn


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We’re down to just four competitors battling for the crown in our Best Actress bracket game.  All four of our semi-finalists have won multiple Oscars.  In the first of our two semi-final matches, we have two legendary actresses whose respective careers spanned decades.  Both Ingrid Bergman and Katharine Hepburn peaked early, faced challenges over which they ultimately triumphed.  In today’s write-up, we’re going to focus on the final stages of their acting careers.

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Chim Chim Cher-ee”


I’m realizing as I go along that I have personal attachments to some of these songs that go back to childhood. That’s the case again this time around, with “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from Mary Poppins. Back in elementary school our music teacher chose me to sing this as a solo as a part of a school-wide variety show that included performances by each of the grade levels. For my school that meant everyone from kindergarten to seventh grade. As a fourth grader I wasn’t yet eligible for a lead in the yearly musical, but this solo gig as a singing chimney sweep meant that I was in line for that sort of thing in a couple of years. It was also the first time I remember getting positive reactions from the kids around me related to my performing aspirations. Boys who I knew mostly as grubby playground antagonists suddenly seemed to be recognizing that I had value. It was weird. Unfortunately because this performance happened back in the olden days of the Carter administration all photographic records of the event have been lost in the sands of time. I know we’re all really sad about that.
The rest of this article will actually be about the song itself. I promise.
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Best Actress Bracket Game: Jodie Foster Vs. Hilary Swank


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We’re closing out round two of the Best Actress Bracket Game with a pair of two-time winners.  Both of these actresses are known for their portrayals of strong, determined women.  In today’s write-up, we’ll be concentrating on their victory laps.

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “White Christmas”


“Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written—heck, I just wrote the best song that anybody’s ever written!” – Irving Berlin

Well, at least that’s one story about what he told his secretary after dreaming up “White Christmas” during a late night session. Two different hotels have staked a claim to being the location where he penned what has since become the top selling single recording of all time. One is the La Quinta Hotel in La Quinta, California which is a standard retreat for Hollywood types while the other is pretty far from there at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona. Another story has Berlin humming the melody to Fred Astaire and director Mark Sandwich on the set of Top Hat back in 1935. What is relatively uncontested is that Berlin wrote the song as a nostalgic take on a more traditional environment while languishing in the decidedly less holiday-centric American southwest.
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Best Actress Bracket Game: Diane Keaton Vs. Meryl Streep


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Meryl’s looking confident, isn’t she?  She probably should be.  Diane, not so much.  For the second day in a row, we have a David and Goliath story playing out in the bracket game.  Can Diane Keaton’s Oscar-level adorability stop Meryl Streep in her tracks?  Or will she continue her seemingly inevitable march to the finals with pieces of Annie Hall stuck to her heel?  There’s only one way to find out.

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”


This is one of those songs which is pretty strongly tied to the era in which it was recorded. I personally can’t hear it without thinking of standing next to my Dad and singing it from the sheet music while he played the piano. It is forever associated with that part of the post-hippie era in which there was an attempt to create quite a lot of feel-good content. With Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid‘s October 1969 release date, the song seems like a sort of kick-off to the early 1970s, the decade which brought us the “Love Is…” comic strip and quite a few of our Cheesetastic Classics. The fact that it was written by one of the more honored and loved songwriting teams of the last fifty-plus years does go a long way to softening any scorn a person might be tempted to heap on it. Besides, it’s kind of an undeniable gem.
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Best Actress Bracket Game: Katharine Hepburn Vs. Julie Andrews


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If Julie Andrews looks a little concerned in the picture above, she has reason to be.  She’s facing off against the only four time Best Actress winner in Oscar history.  Going strictly by the numbers, Mary Poppins doesn’t stand a chance against Katharine Hepburn.  But she’s been known to have a little magic on her side.  Will a spoonful of sugar be enough?

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15 Great Oscar-Winning Songs!: “On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe”


Uh yeah! Ya think?! There’s quite a lot to like here, even if your Dad wasn’t a steam engine enthusiast who introduced you to the song when you were a kid. Judy Garland shows off her natural charisma and uniquely mid-century American singing voice in a sequence which takes its time in building from easy going to full steam ahead in an obvious nod to the gradual acceleration of the sort of train she’s singing about taking a trip on. The filmmakers even play into this, going from static and slow shots with mostly stock-still supporting characters to shots which open up the world around Garland and allow her cohorts to get in on the act. Even if you’re the type who considers the whole thing a little cheesy for your taste it’s a pretty accomplished use of the variety of skills on display.
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Best Actress Bracket Game: Vivien Leigh Vs. Ingrid Bergman


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The Academy Awards are just under two weeks away as we move into the second round of our Best Actress Bracket Game.  Most of the contestants who advanced to the second round are multiple winners.  So for those who have them, the write-ups this time around will focus on second wins.  Both of today’s competitors are two-time winners in the Best Actress category.

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