Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why Hasn't Madonna Won the Oscar for Best Original Song?

Why hasn't Madonna won (or even been nominated for) the Oscar for Best Original Song - for one of her songs? I will answer - because the Academy is so jaded. I mean really jaded. She's won awards for Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice but I'm here to say her songs wipe the Academy's stage right clean.

It all should have began here in 1985 - with not only the biggest song of that year - coupled with another huge Madonna song - Crazy For You from Vision Quest - but one of the biggest pop songs of all time - Into the Groove from Desperately Seeking Susan written by Madonna and Stephen Bray. The movie was the sleeper hit of that year. They didn't like her, they thought she was a slut and they were jaded. That's the excuse for 1985. Whatever. Onward!!!

1985 (58th) "Say You, Say Me" — White Nights • Music and lyrics: Lionel Richie
  • "The Power of Love" — Back to the Future • Music: Chris Hayes and Johnny Colla • Lyrics: Huey Lewis
  • "Surprise, Surprise" — A Chorus Line • Music: Marvin Hamlisch • Lyrics: Edward Kleban
  • "Miss Celie's Blues (Sister)" • The Color Purple • Music: Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton • Lyrics: Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie
  • "Separate Lives" — White Nights • Music and lyrics: Stephen Bishop

Ok, she was new in 1985 and they really didn't want or trust that The Hussy was anything more than that. Bets were elsewhere. But whats their excuse in 1986 with the brilliant and haunting Live To Tell - her 3rd Number One single - written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard - from At Close Range?

1986 (59th) "Take My Breath Away" — Top Gun • Music: Giorgio Moroder • Lyrics: Tom Whitlock
  • "Somewhere Out There" — An American Tail • Music: James Horner • Lyrics: Cynthia Weil
  • "Glory of Love" — The Karate Kid, Part II • Music: Peter Cetera and David Foster • Lyrics: Peter Cetera and Diane Nini
  • "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" — Little Shop of Horrors • Music: Alan Menken • Lyrics: Howard Ashman
  • "Life in a Looking Glass" — That's Life! • Music: Henry Mancini • Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse

By 1987, Madonna had proved that she was beyond a force to be reckoned with in music. Who's That Girl was her 6th Number One hit - written by Madonna and Patrick Leonard. One of the biggest songs that year, again snubbed. Causing a Commotion should also have been given a nod. But no. The movie was a bomb but that's never stopped The Academy before.

1987 (60th) "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" — Dirty Dancing • Music: Franke Previte, John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz • Lyrics: Franke Previte
  • "Shakedown" — Beverly Hills Cop II • Music: Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey • Lyrics: Harold Faltermeyer, Keith Forsey and Bob Seger
  • "Cry Freedom" — Cry Freedom • Music and lyrics: George Fenton and Jonas Gwangwa
  • "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" — Mannequin • Music and lyrics: Albert Hammond and Diane Warren
  • "Storybook Love" — The Princess Bride • Music and lyrics: Willy DeVille

In 1992, Madonna starred in another hit film, A League of Their Own. She wrote This Used To Be My Playground with Shep Pettibone. Her 10th Number One single. This song is right up the tight assed Academy's alley. Again, snubbed.

1992 (65th) "A Whole New World" — Aladdin • Music: Alan Menken • Lyrics: Tim Rice
  • "Friend Like Me" — Aladdin • Music: Alan Menken • Lyrics: Howard Ashman (posthumous nomination)
  • "I Have Nothing" — The Bodyguard • Music: David Foster • Lyrics: Linda Thompson
  • "Run to You" — The Bodyguard • Music: Jud Friedman • Lyrics: Allan Rich
  • "Beautiful Maria of My Soul" — The Mambo Kings • Music: Robert Kraft • Lyrics: Arne Glimcher

In 1994, Madonna penned a song with Patrick Leonard and Richard Page for Alek Keshisian's With Honors. I'll Remember went to number 2 on the Billboard singles charts. A fantastic song that was so played out on the radio and another song that the Academy turned their back on.

1994 (67th) "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" — The Lion King • Music: Elton John • Lyrics: Tim Rice
  • "Look What Love Has Done" — Junior • Music and lyrics: Carole Bayer Sager, James Newton Howard, James Ingram and Patty Smyth
  • "Circle of Life" — The Lion King • Music: Elton John • Lyrics: Tim Rice
  • "Hakuna Matata" — The Lion King • Music: Elton John • Lyrics: Tim Rice
  • "Make Up Your Mind"— The Paper • Music and lyrics: Randy Newman

In 1999, Madonna wrote and recorded Beautiful Stranger with William Orbit for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. Sexy, fun and the summer song of 1999! Although winning a grammy for Best Song written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media in 2000, The Academy once again snubbed our girl.

1999 (72nd) "You'll Be in My Heart" — Tarzan • Music and lyrics: Phil Collins
  • "Save Me" — Magnolia • Music and lyrics: Aimee Mann
  • "Music of My Heart" — Music of the Heart • Music and lyrics: Diane Warren
  • "Blame Canada" — South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut • Music and lyrics: Trey Parker and Marc Shaiman
  • "When She Loved Me" — Toy Story 2 • Music and lyrics: Randy Newman

In 2000, Madonna starred in John Schlesinger's The Next Best Thing with Rupert Everett. While she covered Don Mclean's American Pie, she also wrote Time Stood Still with William Orbit. Not released as a single in the US, it doesn't matter. That has never been a prerequisite of a nominated song. Again, another great song that was ignored.

2000 (73rd) "Things Have Changed" — Wonder Boys • Music and lyrics: Bob Dylan
  • "I've Seen It All" — Dancer in the Dark • Music: Björk • Lyrics: Lars von Trier and Sjón
  • "My Funny Friend and Me" — The Emperor's New Groove • Music: Sting and David Hartley • Lyrics: Sting
  • "A Fool in Love" — Meet the Parents • Music and lyrics: Randy Newman
  • "A Love Before Time" — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon • Music: Jorge Calandrelli and Tan Dun • Lyrics: James Schamus

In 2002, Madonna and Mirwais wrote and produced Die Another Day for the Bond film of the same name. Although it won the Golden Globe for Best Original Song, the dear Academy once again fucked Madonna over. A progressive and brilliant song that was a huge hit all over world, Die Another Day is the last Madonna soundtrack song we have.

2002 (75th) "Lose Yourself" — 8 Mile • Music: Eminem, Jeff Bass and Luis Resto • Lyrics: Eminem
  • "I Move On" — Chicago • Music: John Kander • Lyrics: Fred Ebb
  • "Burn It Blue" — Frida • Music: Elliot Goldenthal • Lyrics: Julie Taymor
  • "The Hands That Built America" — Gangs of New York • Music and Lyrics: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr. (U2)
  • "Father and Daughter" — The Wild Thornberrys Movie • Music and Lyrics: Paul Simon
Did I miss any? Who cares? So did they - since 1985. The Academy has always been jaded of Madonna's true star quality. Her ability to sustain immense popularity and remain at the forefront of popular culture. When the Grammys finally acknowledged her properly with 1998's Ray of Light, I always wanted her to pull a Brando and tell them to fuck off. She didn't. However, when the Academy comes around (and they will) I hope Madonna gives them the finger right in their ugly face.


  1. Fuckin' BRILLIANT post Pud - LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!!!!! :-) :-) :-)

    I felt the same about this matter through the years. It was always *so* annoying that her BRILLIANT movie songs were continually ignored by the Oscars.

    Reading your post and thinking back through them all - I agree wholeheartedly, but one song just jumped out as I read, above all the others in the context of Oscar winning songs. LIVE TO TELL - my favourite Madonna ballad of all time and a song which is every bit as spine-tingling today as it was 25 years ago. If EVER she deserved an Oscar for Best Original Song - that's the one.

  2. Live to Tell was brilliant and definitely should have been recognized. I see your whole point with this post, but in the end, she doesnt need awards for her music. She didnt need the Grammy back then in 1998. She was doing well all by herself, right?

  3. Wow.... I had no idea she was snubbed like this. I remember thinking that it was odd that "This Used To Be My Playground" wasn't nominated and always attributed it to the whole Erotica video/Sex book/Body of Evidence movie overexposure that kind of just wore everyone out. But clearly, that probably didn't make a difference.

    Whenever I think of Madonna at the Oscars, I remember her going to either the 1990 or 1991 Oscars with Michael Jackson. It was during the Dick Tracy time period and she performed one of her songs from that movie. I thought she won an award for it, but I might be wrong. She definately performed though....

  4. Live To Tell, This Used To Be My Playground, I'll Remember...
    These should have all won, hands down... especially compared to the other nominees! Live to Tell is just an epic song that echos the film in a beautifully haunting manner... what a snub!

  5. There's a snobbery about Madonna from certain people, and I think it's to do with the fact that she was (and is) so popular. It does seem odd when music and film so often went together for her. However, it is impressive that the two songs she did sing (Sooner or Later + You Must Love Me) won the Oscar.

  6. good point Dontlookback... and there's also a snobbery FROM Madonna which turns people off. Her self-confidence, flair for controversy and ruthless ambition have made her very unpopular with critics and awards shows. I heard a critic once say Madonna is very primitive, thus adored by the primitive masses. It's sad that her music has been judged by how she has chosen to live her life.

  7. This Used To Be My Playground, I'll Remember, Crazy For You, and Live To Tell are some of Madonna's best songs!!

  8. I certainly dont care about this. She doesnt need one.

  9. They're jaded because they don't want to hear or see "Academy Award Winner MADONNA" on everything, everywhere.

    But I agree, Beautiful Stranger should have been nominated and the fact that she didn't/wasn't win/nominated for TUTBMP is REEDONKULOUS.

    Erotica backlash. Bitches ain't shit.

  10. "Erotica backlash. Bitches ain't shit."

    Best.Line.Ever. Lol!

  11. But SOONER OR LATER had won the academy award right? Isn't she credited for that? Anyway... You're right puddy. Oscar jury was never kind towards her. Even grammy came too late for her. Actually she deserved grammy for every album (except for hc in my opinion) since like a virgin. I don't mean that her debut album MADONNA wasn't that good. Even then she deserved one for the best new artist. So why blaming oscar alone? Fuck the grammy also. It was only in 99 that the grammy jury showed justice to her. Then also they gave award for MY HEART WILL GO ON which became THAT popular just because of the movie titanic.

  12. i guess the problem is that she's a woman. there was no problem with eminem when he won the award for lose yourself. i still believe that if she was a man people would give her more credits for her more than OBVIOUS talents! she's the ONLY woman who has such a legendary career between so many men (elvis, jackson, beatles, rolling stones etc.). she's the most successful female artists ever! and this is kinda hard for a mans world. sexism is (still) all around (unfortunately).

  13. It's The Academy. What can we do? She also was snubbed for a Best Actress Oscar. My Dad always brings it up, "She should have gotten an Oscar for Evita." I think most people feel that way. Thank goodness she won the Golden Globe! Munawar Shah is right about "Sooner Or Later" (Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1991) but she was the performer (not the writer) and Stephen Sondheim got it.

  14. I've heard somewhere the problem is that Madonna began as a singer and she is belonged to music industry, not to the cinema one. Anyway she is a really strong person if she keeps going on, because all these awards are really important to artists, as recognized by peers, industry, etc.

  15. @Munawar Shah

    The thing with the Oscar for "Best Original Song" is that the award is solely for the songwriter.

    So in the case of SOONER OR LATER the award went to Stephen Sondheim - Madonna watched & applauded from the audience as this was annouced - but that's all.

    And for YOU MUST LOVE ME, the award went to Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Would have been AWESOME to have seen Madonna nominated over the years for her OWN songwriting and to have walked onto that stage to accept an Oscar - not to mention the thought of seeing her perform "Live To Tell" at the 1987 Oscars (or any of her other personally-written movie songs through the years). I would have died!!!

  16. There are very strict Academy rules regarding song nominees, in most cases, much more strict than the same category at the Golden Globes or the Grammys. It would be interesting to go back and see which of these songs were even eligible. For instance, Into the Groove & Live to Tell were not written for the movies they were in, they simply ended up in the movies. That means they can't be nominated. Of course, many of these WERE written for the movies they were in and should have been noticed by the Academy. I agree with the point of the posting. Bigger issue - no recognition for Truth or Dare.

  17. The Oscars are a total joke and becoming more and more irrelevant. They take no risks and they're so predictable and conservative. BORING!

  18. Just an update I believe the Academy Awards snubbed Madonna again with "Master Piece" from her movie WE which won a Golden Globe for best song from a motion picture in 2012.

  19. Just an update I believe the Academy Awards snubbed Madonna again with "Master Piece" from her movie WE which won a Golden Globe for best song from a motion picture in 2012.