Oscar Flashback: ‘Live and Let Die’ no match for ‘The Way We Were’ in Best Original Song

This article marks Part 12 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 winners.

The 1973 Oscar nominees in Best Original Song were:

“(You’re So) Nice to Be Around” from “Cinderella Liberty”
“Live and Let Die” from “Live and Let Die”
“Love,” from “Robin Hood”
“All That Love Went to Waste” from “A Touch of Class”
“The Way We Were” from “The Way We Were”

Won and should’ve won: “The Way We Were” from “The Way We Were”

The title song from “The Way We Were,” composed by the brilliant, EGOT-winning Marvin Hamlisch, alongside Alan and Marilyn Bergman, is a dreamy, haunting, immensely moving piece, performed splendidly by the incomparable Barbra Streisand. The film’s leading lady strikes just the right notes here, with a vocal turn that is downright breathtaking. While no “Over the Rainbow” or “The Way You Look Tonight,” “The Way We Were” will no doubt rank very high among all Best Original Song winners.

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As for the rest of 1973 Best Original Song, it is a fine category, a significant step-up from the underwhelming offerings from the year prior.

The second-best of the category, albeit a distant runner-up at that, is “Love,” from the underrated Disney picture “Robin Hood” – again, very heartrending and nuanced music. Also memorable is Paul McCartney and Wings‘ fierce “Live and Let Die,” which marked the first James Bond theme to land an Oscar nomination in this category. The tune’s spunky orchestrations are especially fetching.

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The remaining two nominees are perfectly listenable, if unremarkable adult contemporary fare – Paul Williams‘ “(You’re So) Nice to Be Around,” from the Marsha Mason-James Caan romance “Cinderella Liberty,” and “All That Love Went to Waste,” a late Sammy Cahn piece, featured rather briefly in the Glenda Jackson-George Segal romantic comedy “A Touch of Class.” Unlike “The Way We Were,” which marks a true tour-de-force by all involved, these two songs seem kind of phoned-in. Still, they’re both superior to everything nominated in 1972.

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. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from “Neptune’s Daughter” (1949)
7. “The Windmills of Your Mind” from “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968)
8. “The Way We Were” from “The Way We Were” (1973)
9. “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” from “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)
10. “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’)” from “High Noon” (1952)
11. “You’ll Never Know” from “Hello, Frisco, Hello” (1943)
12. “On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe” from “The Harvey Girls” (1946)
13. “Theme from ‘Shaft’” from “Shaft” (1971)
14. “Secret Love” from “Calamity Jane” (1953)
15. “White Christmas” from “Holiday Inn” (1942)
16. “Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)
17. “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio” (1940)
18. “Thanks for the Memory” from “The Big Broadcast of 1938” (1938)
19. “Lullaby of Broadway” from “Gold Diggers of 1935” (1935)
20. “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” from “Song of the South” (1947)
21. “Days of Wine and Roses” from “Days of Wine and Roses” (1962)
22. “For All We Know” from “Lovers and Other Strangers” (1970)
23. “All the Way” from “The Joker Is Wild” (1957)
24. “It Might As Well Be Spring” from “State Fair” (1945)
25. “The Last Time I Saw Paris” from “Lady Be Good” (1941)
26. “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening” from “Here Comes the Groom” (1951)
27. “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” from “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” (1955)
28. “Born Free” from “Born Free” (1966)
29. “Never on Sunday” from “Never on Sunday” (1960)
30. “Three Coins in the Fountain” from “Three Coins in the Fountain” (1954)
31. “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins” (1964)
32. “Call Me Irresponsible” from “Papa’s Delicate Condition” (1963)
33. “Swinging on a Star” from “Going My Way” (1944)
34. “Gigi” from “Gigi” (1958)
35. “Sweet Leilani” from “Waikiki Wedding” (1937)
36. “The Continental” from “The Gay Divorcee” (1934)
37. “Buttons and Bows” from “The Paleface” (1948)
38. “Talk to the Animals” from “Doctor Dolittle” (1967)
39. “The Shadow of Your Smile” from “The Sandpiper” (1965)
40. “The Morning After” from “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972)

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’

SEE Best Original Songs of the late 1960s, including ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’

SEE Best Original Songs of the early 1970s, including ‘Theme from ‘Shaft,’ ‘The Morning After’

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