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Yes It's True: Theme Song from Scorsese's 'New York, New York' Wasn't Nominated for Oscar (CLIP)

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 2, 2013 at 4:00PM

It's hard to believe that Kander & Ebb's iconic "Theme from 'New York, New York'" was not nominated for best song the year it was memorably sung by Liza Minnelli in the Martin Scorsese musical. The Oscar-winner that year, as I was reminded on Twitter by @ShawnLevy, was "When You Light Up My Life."
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Liza Minnelli
Terry O'Neill Liza Minnelli

It's hard to believe that Kander & Ebb's iconic "Theme from 'New York, New York'" was not nominated for best song the year it was memorably sung by Liza Minnelli in the Martin Scorsese musical. The Oscar-winner that year, as I was reminded on Twitter by @ShawnLevy, was "When You Light Up My Life."

What happened? Well, I remember when the movie came out in 1977, partly because I worked on it as an assistant at United Artists. We knew it was a great song. But the movie itself was an overcostly flop for the studio, excoriated by many critics when it opened (it's fresh now). The song grew in stature over time, was covered by Frank Sinatra, and became a centerpiece in Minnelli's act. It's the song the Broadway community performed as a tribute after 9/11. 

Why hasn't anyone stepped up to take this potentially great musical to Broadway? Anyone know why? Too expensive to mount when the original wasn't successful? Rights issues? 

This article is related to: Martin Scorsese, Liza Minnelli


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.