5 Oscar nominated songs that deserved to win

"Rising up, back on the street..."
"Rising up, back on the street..."

Sunday 22 February sees the 81st Academy Awards ceremony take place at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Amidst the dizzying grandeur of the occasion, it's all too easy to forget that it's not all about which actress bursts into tears during her acceptance speech, or how many times Mickey Rourke says 'fuck'. There are awards for music too.

While this year the Best Original Song category sees compositions from WALL-E and Slumdog Millionaire go toe-to-toe, we thought it was time to salute some of gems that, despite their brilliance, will forever be also-rans in the annals of Oscar night history.

Without further ado, here are the five Oscar-nominated songs that deserved to win, but didn't:

Elliott Smith - Miss Misery

Elliott Smith's delicate contribution to the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant's Good Will Hunting was nominated in 1998.

Beaten by Celine Dion's grandiloquent Titanic theme, My Heart Will Go On, Smith was gracious in defeat. Finding the experience of performing live at the ceremony somewhat surreal, he commented: "I wouldn't want to live in that world, but it was fun to walk around on the moon for a day."

The Bare Necessities

1968 saw this classic from Disney's The Jungle Book - sung by Phil Harris as Baloo and Bruce Reitherman as Mowgli - pipped to the post by Talk To The Animals from Doctor Dolittle. Talk To The Animals? Talk to the hand, more like…

Paul McCartney And Wings - Live And Let Die

Macca's Bond theme lost out to Barbra Streisand's The Way We Were from the movie of the same name in 1974. Has Streisand ever been covered by Guns N' Roses though? Not to our knowledge.

Carly Simon - Nobody Does It Better

Another brilliant Bond theme - this time from The Spy Who Loved Me and accompanied by revolver barrel-straddling nudes in the title sequence - saw Carly Simon inexplicably lose out to Kasey Cisyk's you Light Up My Life in 1978.

Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger

The third Rocky movie yielded perhaps the greatest macho workout song of all time. However, 1983 saw Up Where We Belong from An Officer And A Gentleman deliver a suspiciously below-the-belt punch and walk away with the Oscar. Zack Mayo one, Rocky Balboa nil.

Chris Vinnicombe worked with us here on the MusicRadar team from the site's initial launch way back in 2007, and also contributed to Guitarist magazine as Features Editor until 2014, as well as Total Guitar magazine, amongst others. These days he can be found at Gibson Guitars, where he is editor-in-chief.