May 28, 2018

What song beat "The Rainbow Connection" for the Oscar for Best Song in 1979?

As long as we're talking about the Muppets, I felt moved to listen to Kermit singing "The Rainbow Connection" (which, as I've mentioned before, is one of my all-time favorite songs):



That's from "The Muppet Movie," so it was eligible for a Best Song Oscar, and it was nominated. Why didn't it win? What beat it out? Here's Donna Summer in her amazing prime...



"Last Dance" won the Oscar.

IN THE COMMENTS: Mark corrects me. "Last Dance" won the year before. In 1979, the winner was "It Goes Like It Goes," from "Norma Rae," which is irksome.



I could accept "Last Dance" beating "Rainbow Connection," but "It Goes Like It Goes" is awful. And yet, it's fitting. The Best Song Oscar tends to go toward the awful.

33 comments:

Mark said...

What song beat "The Rainbow Connection" for the Oscar for Best Song in 1979?

"It Goes Like it Goes" from Norma Rae.

"Last Dance" won the year before.

glenn said...

And Donna Summer was a babe.

Mark said...

Never heard of "It Goes Like it Goes," but better than "Rainbow Connection" was another nominee, "Through the Eyes of Love" from Ice Castles. Melissa Manchester did an excellent version of it.

EDH said...

"Last Dance" was the best song of the three by a lightyear.

robother said...

Norma Rae. Dreadful movie. The East Coast Jewish vanguard redeeming the Southern lumpenproletariat. through his superior class consciousness. And Sally Field gets the Academy Award for playing the dumb shiksa, hardly a stretch for her.

Bay Area Guy said...

Donna Summer was indeed a babe. So was Sally Field - reminded me of the Mary Ann archetype from Giligans Island.

1979 was a great year - Jimmy Carter's last in politics!

Mark said...

I could accept "Last Dance" beating "Rainbow Connection," but "It Goes Like It Goes" is awful. And yet, it's fitting. The Best Song Oscar tends to go toward the awful.

That's OK. It's an excuse to bounce around YouTube for a while following the clips on the sidebar. Watching/listening now to a REALLY young Carole King (1971).

Mark said...

1979 was a great year - Jimmy Carter's last in politics!

Hate to be "that guy," but you are a year off too. Carter was in office until January 1981.

Zach said...

It's interesting that in 1979 you could have such a big hit where the only vocal accompaniment was the banjo.

I don't mean musically -- I love the use here. I mean that for most of my life, there's been a subtle shift in pop culture to be less representational and more aspirational. A banjo is a "regular guy" instrument, if not a "down home country boy" instrument. (The 1970s actually had a "down home country boy" fad for a while.) The song would be almost as good on a guitar, but they gave Kermit a banjo instead.

Four decades later, Kermit would definitely have a guitar.

Darrell said...

Kermit didn't win because he refused to blow Harvey Weinstein. Obviously.

Zach said...

Here's a perfect example of what I mean:

If you'll recall, the 2015 version of The Muppets tried to set up Kermit with a new pig, Denise. Let's compare her bio to the one and only Miss Piggy:

Miss Piggie:
Miss Piggy was born above Becker's Butcher Shop[6] in a small town. Frank Oz filled in some of her backstory in a 1979 People magazine article: "Miss Piggy's father chased after other sows, and her mother had so many piglets she never found time to develop her mind. 'I'll die before I live like that!' Miss Piggy screamed, and ran away to the city. Life was hard at first. People got all the jobs; pigs had to take what was left. To keep going, Miss Piggy walked a sandwich board for a barbecue stand. Desperate, she took a stage name, Laverne, and entered a beauty contest. She won and got her big break: a bacon commercial. This led to a season as mascot for a local TV sportscast called Pigskin Parade -- and then on to The Muppet Show."
(from http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Miss_Piggy)

Denise:
Denise is a pig who features in the 2015 ABC series The Muppets. She serves as the network's Head of Marketing on Up Late with Miss Piggy.
...
In the episode "The Ex-Factor", Denise celebrates a birthday where Kermit gifts her (via Miss Piggy, who has her own agenda) a jewelry box and a bracelet. The box is made of Southern Live Oak, the state tree of Georgia, which she says smells like home. In the same episode, she tells Kristin Chenoweth that she was a theater major in college until she got her Masters degree and had to let go of a career in performing.

Denise and Kermit agree to set some boundaries between their relationship and work over a tipsy game of Monopoly in "Swine Song". They train together for a charity 5k marathon, but Kermit misses the run when he oversleeps from working late. When Kermit and Piggy perform "In Spite of Ourselves" together as part of a last-ditch effort to save the show, Denise can't ignore the chemistry he still has with his ex. Three episodes later, in "Little Green Lie", Kermit reveals that Denise ultimately breaks up with him after asking to take a break from their relationship.

(from http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Denise)

So in the 1970s, Kermit is matched with a small town beauty pageant winner with a womanising father and a big family. In the 2010s, he's matched with a network's Head of Marketing, who was a theater major in college. He gives her jewelry, and they train for a charity 5K.

The change is small over any given year, but over four decades it really adds up. You can't even date a frog anymore without a bachelor's degree and an aspirational job!

Inga said...

Donna Summer singing Unconditional Love, my favorite Donna Summer song. We saw her perform this song in 1985 at Disney World, brings back so many memories of when my children were little.

Zach said...

Correction: Denise has a master's degree. A Bachelor's isn't good enough anymore.

Imagine what it takes to date a prince!

mockturtle said...

The Best Song Oscar tends to go toward the awful.

I thought Moon River was a good choice. But the best movie theme choices have been classical choices rather than original songs, e.g., Barber's Adagio for Strings in Platoon.

stever said...

History is not kind to these types of awards.

Moira Breen said...

I don't care for the genre Summer worked in, but wasn't it nice when pop stars could actually sing?

Loren W Laurent said...

On puppets, cartoons and songs that should've won the Oscar, from Wiki:

""Blame Canada" is a song from the 1999 animated musical fantasy comedy film South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, written by Trey Parker & Marc Shaiman...

The song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song (1999). This created controversy because all nominated songs are traditionally performed during the Oscar broadcast, but the song contained the word fuck, which the FCC prohibits using in prime time broadcasts. At the 72nd Academy Awards, comedian Robin Williams performed the song with a chorus that gasped when the word was to be sung (Williams turned around at the crucial moment and did not actually sing it)...

The Academy Award was instead awarded to Phil Collins' song "You'll Be in My Heart," which was parodied on an episode of South Park released the following year, "Timmy 2000", as "You'll Be in Me". In the episode, Collins acts as the episode's antagonist, and is always seen holding an Oscar statuette. At the end of the episode, it gets painfully stuck up his rectum."

Although one could argue that Phil Collins was rather like a Muppet with the felt removed.

-LWL

Inga said...

Speaking of rainbows, and positive inspiring songs.

https://youtu.be/V1bFr2SWP1I>Brother Iz performing Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ Wonderful World.

Michael K said...

The worst is probably "He Talks to the Animals" for "Doctor Doolittle."

Caroline Walker said...

Oh those halcyon days before the word “rainbow” was weaponised.

DKWalser said...

I remember The Rainbow Connection and Last Dance. Both are frequently played on stations that play music from the 70's. Even after having played the YouTube of It Goes Like it Goes, I cannot remember having heard it before. I watched Norma Rae after it won Oscar gold to see what all the fuss was about. Like the music, the movie was entirely forgettable.

tim in vermont said...

Isn’t Norma Rae the movie about how the textile industry was driven from the United States?

tim in vermont said...

People who liked disco ruined radio for years and years. Sorry, I can’t listen to 98% of it even after all of these decades. I know it was hugely commercially successful, but man was I glad when it was dead.

Earnest Prole said...

The Best Song Oscar tends to go toward the awful.

Agreed, which is what made Dylan's Oscar for "Things Have Changed" so miraculous.

Mark said...

Things really dropped off a cliff after 1987.

The winners from the 1930s blow away those who won the last 30 years. Watching a clip of The Continental from The Gay Divorcee (1934), I must say that Ginger Rogers looks awfully fetching.

Rob said...

I love "The Rainbow Connection" too. After your blog posts about "American Idol," I listened to a clip of the woman who turned out to be the winner (and your favorite, IIRC) performing the song on the program. She was flat throughout, and also had a lamentable absence of pipes. And here I'd come to rely on Ann Althouse in all things!

Also a great song: "Being Green."

madAsHell said...

I'm guessing that we will have an American Idol post today.

rhhardin said...

It goes like it goes is musically way superior to the previous two.

Ralph L said...

My grandmother's summer cottage on White Lake, NC (east of Ft Bragg) had cypress trees and Spanish moss, but I don't remember any frogs or banjos. It also didn't have hot water, a/c, TV reception, or a bathtub.

The neighbor had white geese that would waddle back and forth to the water. He bought our house in 1984, took down nearly all the trees on both lots, and rented sites to a dozen mobile homes.

Gahrie said...

The worst Oscar snub was Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday for best Supporting Actor.

Big Mike said...

Kermit sings better than Maddie Poppe.

The real winner of American Idol was Caleb Lee Hutchison, who not only had the temerity to dress in black and sing "Folsom Prison Blues," but he went on to sing it more melodiously than Johnny Cash ever did.

Yancey Ward said...

Last Dance was from a truly forgettable movie, but then so was the song from Norma Rae.

Donna Summer was spectacular in the 70s and early 80s- simply spectacular. While I love Last Dance, my two favorite Summer songs are Hot Stuff and Heaven Knows.

Yancey Ward said...

Jennifer Warnes' performed songs won not just in 1979, but also in for 1982 and 1987.