The Oscars Are Fond of Country Music
Despite Brad Paisley repeatedly insisting that Nashville ain't Hollywood, Hollywood has a special fondness for the music hailing from Nashville, nominating several songs over the years for the Best Original Song category, awarding 3 over the years. The first country winner came in 1952, with Tex Ritter's "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin')", from my personal favorite Western film, High Noon, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly.
Country wouldn't see a nomination or win again until 1975's Robert Altman classic, Nashville, starring Ned Beatty, Keith Carradine and Lily Tomlin (among many others). Carradine would win the Oscar for Best Original Song for penning "I'm Easy," a song his Tom Frank character sang.
Then began a long drought for country winners. 1978 saw a nomination for the twangy, Olivia Newton John crooned "Hopelessly Devoted To You" from the rockin' musical Grease. A pair of country icons were nominated in 1980. Willie Nelson snagged a nod for "On The Road Again" from Honeysuckle Rose, while Dolly Parton was nominated for "9 to 5," from the film of the same name. Coincidentally, both singers starred in those films.
Dianne Warren scored a few nominations for writing country love themes in the late 90s/early 00s, with "How Do I Live," performed by Trisha Yearwood in 1997's Con Air and "There You'll Be" sung by Faith Hill for 2001's Pearl Harbor. Warren is nominated this year for "Stand Up For Something," a song she co-wrote with Common for the film Marshall.
2003's Appalachia set Cold Mountain produced two country song nominees; "The Scarlet Tide," written by T. Bone Burnett and Elvis Costello, and "You Will Be My ‘Ain True Love," written by Sting and Alison Krauss.
Dolly Parton would score her 2nd Oscar nomination with 2005's "Travelin' Thru," for the film Transamerica. But it was 2009's Crazy Heart, starring Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal, that would bring Oscar gold back to Nashville with Ryan Bingham's brilliant and soulful "The Weary Kind." The 2010 Gwyneth Paltrow & Tim McGraw country-centric film Country Strong would get a nod for "Coming Home" but walked away empty handed.
No country songs on this year's ballot, but I'm sure country will grace the Academy's stage once again soon, and maybe take home some Oscar gold. Hopefully we don't have to wait 20-30 years in between wins, like we did in between the 3 wins country's already racked up.