Oscar Flashback: With ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ snubbed, ‘Mary Poppins’ tune wins Best Original Song

This article marks Part 9 of the Gold Derby series analyzing 84 years of Best Original Song at the Oscars. Join us as we look back at the timeless tunes recognized in this category, the results of each race and the overall rankings of the Academy Awards winners.

The 1964 Oscar nominees in Best Original Song were:

“Dear Heart” from “Dear Heart”
“Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” from “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte”
“Chim Chim Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins”
“My Kind of Town” from “Robin and the 7 Hoods”
“Where Love Has Gone” from “Where Love Has Gone”

Won: “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins”

Should’ve won: “Dear Heart” from “Dear Heart”

1964 is one of the more aggravating years at the Oscars, that time “My Fair Lady” crushed the brilliant likes of “Becket” and “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” across the board. Rex Harrison defeated Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole and Peter Sellers, while George Cukor outpaced Peter Glenville and Stanley Kubrick.

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The state of Best Original Song this year is not much more uplifting – in fact, it’s perhaps worse, not because the Oscar nominees are bad but because of what was omitted. Somehow, voters managed to ignore both Shirley Bassey‘s incredible theme to “Goldfinger “- arguably the greatest James Bond film theme of all – and every wonderful track from The Beatles‘ “A Hard Day’s Night.” Imagine if this category were instead…

“Goldfinger” from “Goldfinger”
“Can’t Buy Me Love” from “A Hard Day’s Night”
“A Hard Day’s Night” from “A Hard Day’s Night”
“And I Love Her” from “A Hard Day’s Night”
“If I Fell” from “A Hard Day’s Night”

That would’ve been basically the greatest Best Original Song line-up ever. Alas, in spite of “Goldfinger” winning the Best Sound Effects category this year, and “A Hard Day’s Night” garnering recognition in Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score (losing to “Father Goose” and “My Fair Lady,” respectively), there was inexplicably no love in this particular category.

Instead, what we’re left with is a respectable but unexciting batch of nominees.

“Chim Chim Cher-ee,” performed by the great Dick Van Dyke in Disney’s “Mary Poppins” is a memorable tune, but is it really even among the best songs from the film? “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “I Love to Laugh,” “A Man Has Dreams,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and especially “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” are superior.

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“Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte,” from the marvelous Bette Davis-Olivia de Havilland horror-drama, and “Where Love Has Gone,” from the not-so-marvelous Bette Davis-Susan Hayward melodrama, are capably performed by Al Martino and Jack Jones, respectively, albeit a bit on the mushy side. Soon after the film’s release, Patti Page did a cover of “Hush…Hush” that has a bit more life to it than the Martino original.

The two best of the group are “Dear Heart,” a gorgeous Henry Mancini piece, beautifully delivered by Andy Williams, and “My Kind of Town,” Frank Sinatra‘s memorable ode to the City of Chicago. The Sinatra tune is nicely staged in “Robin and the 7 Hoods” and, over the years, emerged one of his reliable standbys in concert, but the Williams tune is a bit more soulful and has the advantage of being featured in a wonderful, underrated Geraldine Page vehicle.

With that said, “Goldfinger” or “A Hard Day’s Night” should have steamrolled here.

The Oscar winners ranked (thus far):

1. “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
2. “The Way You Look Tonight” from “Swing Time” (1936)
3. “High Hopes” from “A Hole in the Head” (1959)
4. “Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)” from “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956)
5. “Mona Lisa” from “Captain, Carey, U.S.A.” (1950)
6. “You’ll Never Know” from “Hello, Frisco, Hello” (1943)
7. “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” from “The Harvey Girls” (1946)
8. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from “Neptune’s Daughter” (1949)
9. “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’)” from “High Noon” (1952)
10. “Secret Love” from “Calamity Jane” (1953)
11. “White Christmas” from “Holiday Inn” (1942)
12. “Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)
13. “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio” (1940)
14. “Thanks for the Memory” from “The Big Broadcast of 1938” (1938)
15. “Lullaby of Broadway” from “Gold Diggers of 1935” (1935)
16. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from “Song of the South” (1947)
17. “Days of Wine and Roses” from “Days of Wine and Roses” (1962)
18. “All the Way” from “The Joker Is Wild” (1957)
19. “It Might As Well Be Spring” from “State Fair” (1945)
20. “The Last Time I Saw Paris” from “Lady Be Good” (1941)
21. “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” from “Here Comes the Groom” (1951)
22. “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” from “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” (1955)
23. “Never on Sunday” from “Never on Sunday” (1960)
24. “Three Coins in the Fountain” from “Three Coins in the Fountain” (1954)
25. “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins” (1964)
26. “Call Me Irresponsible” from “Papa’s Delicate Condition” (1963)
27. “Swinging on a Star” from “Going My Way” (1944)
28. “Gigi” from “Gigi” (1958)
29. “Sweet Leilani” from “Waikiki Wedding” (1937)
30. “The Continental” from “The Gay Divorcee” (1934)
31. “Buttons and Bows” from “The Paleface” (1948)

SEE Best Original Songs of the 1930s, including ‘Over the Rainbow,’ ‘The Way You Look Tonight’

SEE ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’ is first Disney winner in Best Original Song

SEE Best Original Songs of the early 1940s, including ‘White Christmas’ and ‘You’ll Never Know’

SEE Best Original Songs of the late 1940s, including ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ and ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’

SEE Best Original Songs of the early 1950s, including ‘Mona Lisa,’ ‘High Noon’

SEE Judy Garland classic from ‘A Star is Born’ loses Best Original Song to Frank Sinatra standard

SEE Best Original Songs of the late 1950s, including ‘All the Way,’ ‘High Hopes’

SEE Best Original Songs of the early 1960s, including ‘Moon River,’ ‘Days of Wine and Roses’

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