Fifty years ago, Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger, arguably the greatest James Bond theme of all, and one of the most explosive musical compositions in the history of cinema missed winning the Academy Award for Best Song -- in fact, it missed a nomination altogether. Yes, you read that correctly. Shirley Bassey's Goldfinger wasn't even nominated.
Goldfinger's omission makes even less sense when you see the forgettable song choices that actually received the nomination slots that year: Dear Heart, theme from the film Dear Heart and Where Love Has Gone, theme from the film Where Love Has Gone (anyone?)
For what its worth, Goldfinger is in great company when it comes to legendary movie songs that failed to garner any Oscar attention at all. In chronological order, here are 20 particularly shocking omissions from Oscar's Best Song category...
1937: Someday My Prince Will Come -- Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
Ranked at #19 in the AFI's Greatest Film Songs of All Time, it seems unbelievable that this iconic Disney ballad sung to haunting perfection by Adriana Caselotti failed to get a nomination. In fact, no song from the Snow White songbook was nominated. Whistle While You Work, Heigh Ho -- nothing. Even more surprising considering that Snow White was the first American feature film to have a soundtrack album released in conjunction with the film. While we're at it, where was the love for other Disney heroine anthems A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes (Cinderella, 1950), All In The Golden Afternoon (Alice In Wonderland, 1951), and Once Upon A Dream (Sleeping Beauty, 1959) which resurfaced via Lana Del Rey in this year's Oscar nominated Maleficent.
1944: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas -- Meet Me in St. Louis
A heartbreaking holiday ballad so ubiquitous that many have forgotten it originated with Judy Garland in this great Vincente Minnelli movie musical. Another Christmas classic Oscar oversight: Silver Bells, which debuted in the 1950 film, The Lemon Drop Kid.
1948: Steppin' Out With My Baby -- Easter Parade
Penned by Irving Berlin, this song has legs (thank you Tony Bennett!) despite no Academy Award nomination in its heyday.
1953: That's Entertainment -- The Band Wagon
Ironic that Oscar would ignore a song that has become an anthem for the entertainment industry much like Hooray For Hollywood (which was also snubbed by the Academy in 1937 when it premiered in the film Hollywood Hotel).
1961: Can't Help Falling In Love -- Blue Hawaii
Maybe the Academy didn't take Elvis Presley's movies seriously enough to recognize the amazing music that he was creating for the screen. This timeless ballad holds up today as it did in 1961. Same goes for Love Me Tender and Jailhouse Rock, two other Elvis movie song classics unfortunately ignored by Oscar.
1964: A Hard Day's Night -- A Hard Day's Night
A Hard Day's Night, The Fool On The Hill, I Am The Walrus, Ticket To Ride, Help!, or Your Mother Should Know -- all songs introduced in Beatles movies and all Academy eligible but The Beatles never received a Best Song Oscar nomination for their musical contribution to film.
1964: Goldfinger -- Goldfinger
No Oscar love for the gold standard of Bond themes. Opening with an impenetrable wall of blaring horns and building to a thrilling climax: six glass smashing seconds of the word "gold" as torpedoed by Shirley Bassey's lethal weapon of a voice. At two minutes and 50 seconds, the song is a movie unto itself. Other great Bond themes ignored by Oscar: Duran Duran's A View To A Kill, Tom Jones' Thunderball, and Bassey's other Bond masterpiece, Diamonds Are Forever. Until 1973's Live & Let Die, Oscar ignored Bond music.
The original title sequence to Goldfinger:
1967: To Sir With Love -- To Sir With Love
It was the #1 pop single for the year 1967, and one of the very best movie songs of all time yet mysteriously forgotten by Oscar. Lulu, we love you!
Lulu singing To Sir With Love (and sounding incredible!) in 2007:
1968: Springtime For Hitler -- The Producers
Though Mel Brooks deservedly won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for The Producers, this hilarious, daring number should have been recognized with at least a nomination. Perhaps the song was too edgy/darkly comic for the Academy's tastes at the time.
1969: Everybody's Talkin'' -- Midnight Cowboy
Deemed ineligible by the Academy because folksinger Fred Neil had recorded it in 1966, Nilsson's Everybody's Talkin' is such an integral part of Midnight Cowboy, you can't imagine the film without it.
1971: Pure Imagination -- Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
Though the film did receive an Oscar nomination for Best Score, this touching ballad, sung memorably onscreen by Oscar nominated actor Gene Wilder, should have been a shoo-in for the Best Song category.
1977: Theme from New York, New York -- New York, New York
How did the Academy miss the boat on this one? Oscar winner Liza Minnelli belting her dramatic best in this showstopping Kander & Ebb theme to a Martin Scorsese film. With this pedigree, it really is surprising that Oscar stopped "spreading the news."
1977: The many hits from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack -- Saturday Night Fever
One of the biggest movie musical triumphs ever with multiple number one songs -- all of them sensational: Stayin' Alive, How Deep Is Your Love, More Than A Woman, and Night Fever by The Bee Gees, and Yvonne Elliman's stellar If I Can't Have You. When I look at what made the Best Song Oscar cut that year, I seriously have to question was Someone's Waiting For You from The Rescuers or The Slipper & The Rose Waltz from The Slipper & The Rose really better?
1980: Call Me -- American Gigolo
New York City's coolest new wave rockers, Blondie + European disco producer Giorgio Moroder = a perfect musical marriage, and the #1 song of 1980 would've livened up the Best Song category that year. "Call me -- call me for your lover's lover's alibi" belted a kickass Debbie Harry in the song's fiery finale, but the Academy did not return the call. What did make the cut? People Alone, the Love Theme to The Competition...(anyone?)
1980: Magic or anything from Xanadu
This delectable, ear candy collaboration between Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton John transported the listener to a magical synth pop world of neon disco lights, shooting stars and Greek Gods. Though it's revered as a cult classic today, in 1980 the movie tanked hard, which didn't help its Oscar chances.
1985: Don't You Forget About Me -- The Breakfast Club
"Hey Hey Hey Heeey!" Simple Minds' worldwide smash practically defines 80s teen angst pop culture -- and in its heyday was massive -- so it's surprising that the Oscars forgot about it. In fact, the mid-80s was jam-packed with worthy contenders ignored by Oscar including Kiss by Prince (Under The Cherry Moon, 1986), Holding Out For A Hero by Bonnie Tyler(Footloose, 1984), To Live & Die In L.A. by Wang Chung (1985), Crazy For You by Madonna (Visionquest, 1985), If You Leaveby O.M.D. (Pretty In Pink, 1986), Living In America by James Brown (Rocky IV, 1986), Sexcrime by Eurythmics (1984, 1984), This Is Not Americaby David Bowie with Pat Metheny (The Falcon & The Snowman, 1985), Invincible by Pat Benatar (The Legend of Billie Jean, 1985), Is Your Love Strong Enough by Bryan Ferry (Legend, 1985), and MANY others.
1989: Fight The Power -- Do The Right Thing
The greatest hip hop song ever to be created for a film (written upon the request of director Spike Lee) Public Enemy's explosive anthem has been hailed by Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Time Magazine, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, AFI, and The National Endowment for the Arts, but was ignored by Oscar.
1993: This Is Halloween -- The Nightmare Before Christmas
Brilliant, brooding, spookhouse of a number -- a real highlight in the Tim Burton canon. Should've been a nominee.
1995: Gangsta's Paradise -- Dangerous Minds
Deemed ineligible for the Oscar due to the samples it used -- shame because this wasn't just a number one smash, but a big symphony of sound -- and a wonderful complement to the hit film, which was incidentally scored by Wendy & Lisa, who worked on the music for Purple Rain that collected the Oscar for Best Score in 1984.