Oscar History

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Months of Meryl: THE RIVER WILD

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"Sing out (Madonna), Louise!"

A happy 56th birthday to the Queen Herself. I was out for drinks with two friends the other night (Hi, Sue & Jordan!) and somehow the conversation turned to Madonna -- I can't remember how it got there -- and the Best Actress for Evita Golden Globe was discussed. 'Her one shot at an Oscar' ...but then of course she wasn't nominated. (1996 was an overstuffed year in Best Actress of course but even if it hadn't been, The Academy probably would have resisted.) But of course it wasn't her only shot at Oscar. They've snubbed her repeatedly in that Best Original Song category though two songs she sang but didn't write won the actual gold man ("Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy by Stephen Sondheim and "You Must Love Me" from Evita by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber). 

Her original songs from the movies in preference order:


  1. "Into the Groove" for Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) 
  2. "Live To Tell" for At Close Range (1986)
    I'm not sure if this was officially disqualified but it would have been for the same reason as the infamous rejection of "Come What May" from Moulin Rouge! (It was written for another film altogether but switched movies) 
  3. "Crazy For You" for Vision Quest (1985)
  4. "Die Another Day" for Die Another Day (2002) - Golden Globe nod
  5. "Beautiful Stranger" for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999) - Golden Globe nod
  6. "Who's That Girl" for Who's That Girl (1987) - Golden Globe & Grammy nods
  7. "This Used To Be My Playground" for A League of Their Own (1992) - Golden Globe nod
  8. "I'll Remember" for With Honors (1994) - Golden Globe & Grammy nods 
  9. "Causing a Commotion" for Who's That Girl (1987)
  10. "Masterpiece" for W.E. (2012) - Globe win
    disqualified from Oscar - too late in the end credits 

And I don't even want to talk about Truth or Dare (1991) not winning a Best Documentary nomination when it's one of the best docs ever made... or at least in the top 5 most entertaining. And while we're Oscar dissing, how is it that Stephen Sondheim's rousing "More" from Dick Tracy missed a nomination? Did they only submit the one song or was it the way Warren Beatty edited its production number to smithereens so there was barely any of it there -- one of the weirdest directorial decisions ever when there was clearly a big festive Madonna/Sondheim production number filmed?

Madonna having a bit of a Joan Crawford moment in her recent "Revolution of Love" short film which I'll admit I didn't 'get' at all. Rare for me with a Madonna project.

Madonna's dreams to become "A Real Actress" (I love that she has a Moulin Rouge! "Satine" connection!) seem to have ended at the same time her marriage to Guy Ritchie wrapped and the only movies she's made since have been behind the camera with Filth & Wisdom and W.E. But she'll always have the music. If you haven't yet read it you should check out this excellent essay from Savage Garden's Darren Hayes on 'why the world needs another brilliant Madonna album'. And hat tip to Erik at Awards Watch (who've been holding a Madonna Week) for pointing that one out. I hope she writes a killer song for a movie again soon, a song so strong that it would be shameful for the Academy to ignore. 

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Reader Comments (17)

I'm so ready for a new album! (It's OK if you don't make us dance, dear)

My top 5:
Into the Groove -- My first single ever! I'm so proud about that
Live To Tell -- Probably her best ballad
Who's That Girl -- Love the music video. It's so cheap.
This Used To Be My Playground -- My first visit to the US back in '92. Time flies!
Masterpiece -- Yes! I will defend it whatever it takes because, you know, if you were the Mona Lisa you'd be hanging in the Louvre.

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

What was Come What May originally written for?

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKokolo

Kokolo - it was originally written for Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet". I think they should have waived that rule considering it was the same filmmaker and he just decided to use the song for his next movie instead.

August 16, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

viva madonna!!!!! The most ambitious entertainer ever

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

Did not know that, even wiki-ed it but couldn't find that. Thx.

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKokolo

What the heck? These are all great entries. Can't believe they didn't get nominations. I do agree with Nathaniel's and Peggy Sue's first choice, and that movie! I loved it, and fell in big-time crush with Aidan Quinn. Thanks for the link to the great Hayes article. I don't understand all the Madonna bashing of late. Some times the internet just sucks...

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

It is amazing she never got Oscar-nominated for any of her songs. "Beautiful Stranger" might have been close, and "Die Another Day" deserved it too.

And I agree with you, Nathaniel, about "More" in Dick Tracy: a great song, better than "Sooner or Later" (which is pretty good, it just never quite hits the spot for me), and could have been a great sequence in the film. Then again, I can;'t be to hard on that film: I think it's terrific. And hey, at least "More" gets played - in full - over the end credits.

(My favourite song in Dick Tracy, though, is "What Can You Lose"... Gorgeous work.)

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Woah, some major songs of hers weren't nominated! That's astonishing, but Oscar does have the worst taste in music, so...

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Julianne Moore is my personal win for Best Supporting Actress in A Single Man, but I still wish like hell I could've seen Madonna take a bite out of that role. For Madonna to give another important performance would require a miracle of casting, and to me that Tom Ford project (and the role if Charley) had her name written all over it.

Seriously, though, the life-as-performance angle, the confronting-aging angle, fun with a bad British accent, period clothes, a steady and generous scene partner. It's so queer and dramatic.

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W

"...somehow the conversation turned to Madonna -- I can't remember how it got there..."

you're a gay man in your 40s; no further explanation required

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

Nathaniel, thanks for the shout-out! :D

For real on Madonna writing another movie song again. If only 'Masterpiece' had been placed at the end credits to qualify. She had to know that, right? It's also tragic/ironic that she's sung TWO Oscar winning songs, just didn't have a hand in writing them.

August 16, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErik Anderson

She can't act or sing lolz.

She was a brilliant entertainer/provocateur back in her prime, but I think she has passed that moment now. It's weird that her career is "slumping" (I acknowledge that she stills sells respectably and her tours are massive money makes), considering the whole 80s nostalgia and how she in many ways embodies that decade.

I am actually fond of her acting in Evita, Dick Tracy and A League of Their Own, though a better actress (say Meryl Streep or Michelle Pfeiffer) could probably done a better job on Evita.

Of her movie songs, I'd rate Live to Tell, Into the Groove and I'll Remember as the top 3.

Her best cinematic contribution, though, are her music videos. I would say Like a Prayer, Express Yourself and Take a Bow are the best (though I love Cherish too).

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Pfeiffer and Streep surely could have made a good work in Evita, both singing and acting...but neither of them could have been as convincing as Icons as Madonna

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

"Crazy for You" forever!

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

MeIAmMariah: Glitter. Pot. Kettle.

August 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Breathless Mahoney is one of those performances that you watch and you can't imagine ANYONE ELSE playing that part.

August 18, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjakey

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