Stop The Presses!

From Rock To The Movies

Stop The Presses!

Randy Newman and T-Bone Burnett, who came up through the ranks in rock before moving into film music, are both nominated for Academy Awards. Newman has two songs in the running for Best Original Song: "Almost There" and "Down In New Orleans," both from The Princess And The Frog. Burnett has one: "The Weary Kind (Theme From Crazy Heart)," which he co-wrote with Ryan Bingham.

This brings Newman's total of Best Song nominations to 11, which puts him in Oscar's all-time top 10. (More on that later.) This is Burnett's second Best Song nomination. He and Elvis Costello were cited for "Scarlet Tide" from 2003's Cold Mountain.

The other finalists for Best Song are both first-time nominees (as is Ryan Bingham). They are: Maury Yeston for "Take It All" from Nine and Reinhardt Wagner and Frank Thomas for "Loin De Paname" from Paris 36.

Eligible songs that failed to get a nomination include U2's "Winter" from Brothers, Paul McCartney's "(I Want To) Come Home" from Everybody's Fine and Maury Yeston's "Cinema Italiano" from Nine.

Burnett worked with Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue starting in 1975. He juggles work in film (O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Walk The Line) and rock (recent production clients include John Mellencamp and Elvis Costello). He won a Grammy as Producer of the Year for 2001 and has been nominated for that award four times, including this year.

Newman has been a leading force in pop music since 1969, when he arranged Peggy Lee's Grammy-winning "Is That All There Is." In 1970, his song "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)" became a #1 hit for Three Dog Night. Newman's early albums, 12 Songs (1970), Sail Away (1972) and Good Old Boys (1974), are considered classics.

Film music is the Newman family trade. Three of his uncles, Alfred, Lionel and Emil Newman, were top film scorers. Alfred Newman is, to this day, Oscar's all-time leader in the category of Best Score, both in terms of most nominations (41) and most awards (nine).

Repeat nominees dominate the category of Best Original Score this year. This is the eighth Best Score nomination for both James Horner, who is nominated for Avatar, and Hans Zimmer, who is nominated for Sherlock Holmes.

It's the third Best Score nomination for Alexandre Desplat, who is nominated for Fantastic Mr. Fox, and the second for both Michael Giacchino, who is nominated for Up, and Marco Beltrami, who is nominated for The Hurt Locker. (Beltrami shares that nomination with first-time finalist Buck Sanders.)

Horner has won two Oscars, Best Song and Best Score, both for Titanic. Zimmer has won one, Best Score for The Lion King.

Newman's two nominations elevate him to Oscar's all-time top 10 list of songwriters with the most Best Song noms. Newman, 66, is only the fourth person on the list who is still living (a decided advantage). Also still with us are Alan & Marilyn Bergman, who are 84 and 80, respectively; and Alan Menken, who is 60.

Here are the 10 songwriters who have received 11 or more Best Song nominations. The number after their name is their total number of nominations, through this year.

1. Sammy Cahn, 26. Cahn won four Oscars, for "Three Coins In The Fountain" from the movie of the same name (1954), "All The Way" from The Joker Is Wild (1957), "High Hopes" from A Hole In The Head (1959) and "Call Me Irresponsible" from Papa's Delicate Condition (1963). Celine Dion and Michael Buble covered "All The Way" and "Call Me Irresponsible," respectively, on #1 albums of the same name. Cahn died in 1993.

2. Johnny Mercer, 18. Mercer won four Oscars, for "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe" from The Harvey Girls (1946), "In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening" from Here Comes The Groom (1951), "Moon River" from Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961) and "Days Of Wine And Roses" from the movie of the same name (1962). He died in 1976.

3. Paul Francis Webster, 16. Webster won three Oscars, for "Secret Love" from Calamity Jane (1953), "Love Is A Many-Splendored Thing" from the movie of the same name (1955) and "The Shadow Of Your Smile" from The Sandpiper (1965). He died in 1984.

4. Alan & Marilyn Bergman, 15. The husband-and-wife team have won two Oscars, for "The Windmills Of Your Mind" from The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) and "The Way We Were" from the movie of the same name (1973). (You'll notice that Marilyn Bergman is the only woman in the all-time top 10.)

5. Jimmy Van Heusen, 14. Van Heusen won four Oscars, for "Swinging On A Star" from Going My Way (1944) and for three songs that he co-wrote with Sammy Cahn:  "All The Way" (1957), "High Hopes" (1959) and "Call Me Irresponsible" (1963). He died in 1990.

6. Alan Menken, 13. Menken won four Best Song Oscars in just a seven-year period, for "Under The Sea" from The Little Mermaid (1989), "Beauty And The Beast" from the movie of the same name (1991), "A Whole New World" from Aladdin (1992) and "Colors Of The Wind" from Pocahontas (1995).

7. Henry Mancini, 11. Mancini won two Best Song Oscars, both for collaborations with Johnny Mercer: "Moon River" (1961) and "Days Of Wine And Roses" (1962). He died in 1994.

7. Randy Newman, 11. Newman won an Oscar for "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc. (2001). His first nomination was for "One More Hour" from Ragtime (1981).

7. Harry Warren, 11. Warren won three Oscars, for "Lullaby Of Broadway" from Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935), "You'll Never Know" from Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943) and, with Johnny Mercer, "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe" (1946). He died in 1981.

7. Ned Washington, 11. Washington won two Oscars, for "When You Wish Upon A Star" from Pinocchio (1940) and "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')" from High Noon (1952). He died in 1976.

A final thought: Newman made the top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100 in 1978 with the novelty smash, "Short People." Especially given his family history, I suspect that making this top 10 list is more gratifying.

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