Monday, March 3, 2014

"Let it Go" Becomes Disney's 12th Best Song Winner at the Oscars!

Idina Menzel singing "Let it Go"
I can't remember the last time I was this excited about the Academy Awards. I always have my ridiculously nerdy Oscars viewing party, but honestly I'm too busy keeping up with Broadway's openings season to really worry about movies. But this year, everyone in the Broadway community was especially keen to find out if Broadway composer/lyricst Robert Lopez (The Book of Mormon) and wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez would win Best Song for Frozen's "Let it Go." The stakes were high, because if Robert won, he would become the 12th member of what the cool kids call the "EGOT Club." That is, he would have won all four major awards in show biz- the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. As we all know, the iconic Disney ballad did win, following a beautiful rendition of the song by Tony Award-winning Broadway star Idina Menzel (voice of Elsa). Not only did this win enable Lopez to EGOT, but it also became the 12th Disney song to win Best Song at the Oscars. So today, take a look back at all the Disney movies that have been nominated for Best Song in the past 70 years.

*When You Wish Upon a Star*
Pinocchio, 1940. WON
Baby Mine
Dumbo, 1941.
Lost to Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II's "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady be Good
Love is a Song
Bambi, 1942.
Lost to Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," Holiday Inn
Saludos Amigos
Saludos Amigos, 1943.
Song of the South, 1947. WON
Lavender Blue
So Dear to My Heart, 1949.
Lost to "Baby, It's Cold Outside," from Neptune's Daughter.
Cinderella, 1950.
*Chim Chim Cher-ee*
Mary Poppins, 1964. WON
The Bare Necessities
The Jungle Book, 1967.
The Age of Not Believing
Bedknobs and Broomsticks, 1971.
Robin Hood, 1973.
Someone's Waiting for You
The Rescuers, 1977.
Candle on the Water
Pete's Dragon, 1977.
*Under the Sea*
The Little Mermaid, 1989. WON
Kiss the Girl 
The Little Mermaid, 1989.
Below might be one of the weirdest videos I've ever seen. It's Geoffrey Holder performing "Kiss the Girl," followed by "Under the Sea," and his movements are very interesting... That's all I can say about it.

*Beauty and the Beast*
Beauty and the Beast, 1991. WON
They decided to combine Angela Lansbury, Peabo Bryson, and Celine Dion for the Oscar performance of "Beauty and the Beast," with some dancers "interpreting" the song in costumes that I suppose slightly resemble Belle and the Beast.

Be Our Guest
Beauty and the Beast, 1991.
Beauty and the Beast, 1991.
Fortunately this time, Disney learned to let the original voices sing at the Oscars. So in this next video, Angela Lansbury introduces the Beauty and the Beast actors "in the flesh" to sing "Belle" followed by "Be Our Guest," performed by Jerry Orbach, the voice of Lumiere.

*A Whole New World*
Aladdin, 1992. WON
Brad Kane and Lea Salonga, the voices of Aladdin and Jasmine, respectively, performed at the Oscars that year in an ever so slightly more Arabic take on "A Whole New World."

Friend Like Me
Aladdin, 1992.
For reasons I'm sure I can't understand, Nell Carter performed rather than Robin Williams. It wasn't terrible...

*Can You Feel the Love Tonight*
The Lion King, 1994. WON
Circle of Life
The Lion King, 1994.
Hakuna Matata
The Lion King, 1994
The staging for The Lion King performances at the 1995 Oscars was not by any means as immaculate as some of the previous Disney Oscar performances, so I think this medley is a bit on the dull side. Interesting tidbit: Hinton Battle, who performs "Circle of Life" in this medley of "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata," was John in the original Broadway cast of Miss Saigon. Following the medley, Elton John of course sat at the piano and sang his most famous song from the movie.

*Colors of the Wind*
Pocahontas, 1995. WON
You've Got a Friend in Me
Toy Story, 1995.
Go the Distance
Hercules, 1997.
Lost to "My Heart Will Go On." Such a shame they were in the same year, as was "Journey to the Past" from Anastasia.
*You'll Be in My Heart* 
Tarzan, 1999. WON
When She Loved Me
Toy Story 2, 1999.
My Funny Friend and Me
The Emperor's New Groove, 2000.
If I Didn't Have You
Monsters, Inc., 2001
Our Town
Cars, 2006.
So Close, That's How You Know, Happy Working Song
Enchanted, 2007.
Kristin Chenoweth performed "That's How You Know" at the 2008 Academy Awards, Amy Adams performed "Happy Working Song," and Jon McLaughlin sang "So Close." Despite the odds of having the majority of the nominated songs be from the same movie, none of the three won.

Down to Earth
Wall-E, 2008.
Almost There, Down in New Orleans
The Princess and the Frog, 2009.
*We Belong Together* 
Toy Story 3, 2010. WON
I See the Light
Tangled, 2010.
*Man or Muppet*
The Muppets, 2011. WON
Despicable Me 2, 2013.
*Let it Go*
Frozen, 2013. WON
And finally, re-watch last night's performance from Idina Menzel, or "Adele Dazeem," as John Travolta mistakenly called her, singing "Let it Go."

Not Idina's best performance, but it gave me chills nevertheless.

Sally Henry // Twitter: // Facebook:

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Best Original Song Academy Award


  1. Great article Sally! And wow... so many songs... all of them so good...

  2. Thanks! Yeah, Disney knows how to crank out the classics. I realize I've been writing about Disney a lot lately, especially for a mostly Broadway blog...