Do All Randy Newman's Oscar Songs Really Sound the Same? Listen to Our Supercut

Slate's Culture Blog
Feb. 25 2012 3:43 PM

All of Randy Newman’s Oscar-Nominated Tunes—in Under 3 Minutes

Randy Newman
Randy Newman performs at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Randy Newman won’t perform at the Academy Awards Sunday night, but at this point a Randy Newman omission is as notable as a Randy Newman nomination. Over the last thirty years, Newman has been nominated for twenty Academy Awards, meaning that the only Oscar darlings that have garnered more nods than him include names like John Williams, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the nation of France. At the same time, the only record that Newman may rightfully be able to claim is the most successive nominations without a win: He was nominated for 14 awards before his first win in 2001. Overall, he’s only won two.

But Newman’s perennial status as bridesmaid rather than bride feels somehow appropriate. Newman may drop satirical bombs away from the Oscar spotlight, but in Hollywood he is a steady, comforting presence, almost part of the backdrop. His orchestral scores are old-timey, drawing on the sounds of folksy Americana, and you probably know his Disney songs. At the very least, you know the sound of his Disney songs: The most common swipe at Newman is that they all come out the same. Nearly every year, it seems, Newman takes the stage, plops down behind his piano, and croons, bouncing out some jazzy chords, and singing of friendships between toys and big-eyed animals and cars. He chomps off the final consonant of every word, and fills out the mix with shuffling, brushed drums.

So yes, his songs have their similarities. But is it fair to suggest that all of Randy Newman’s Oscar-nominated tunes really sound the same? To investigate, we assembled the supercut below. You’ll have to listen yourself to find out—Newman’s got a friend in us.

How Many Oscars Should Meryl Streep Have?

Dan Kois, Troy Patterson and Dana Stevens will be on Slate’s Facebook page at 11 a.m. EST on Monday to chat with readers about Sunday’s Oscar ceremony.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

Chris Wade is a video and podcast producer for Slate and occasional contributor to Brow Beat. Follow him on Twitter.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

Even by Russian Standards, Moscow’s Anti-War March Was Surprisingly Grim

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

The Best Thing About the People’s Climate March in NYC

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

John Oliver Debunks the Miss America Pageant’s Claim That It Gives Out $45 Million in Scholarships

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 22 2014 12:30 PM Turkey Just Got Forty-Six Hostages Back From ISIS. How Did That Happen?
Sept. 22 2014 12:44 PM The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy
The Shortcut
Sept. 22 2014 12:31 PM Down With Loose Laces A simple trick to tighten your running shoes for good.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM Escaping the Extreme Christian Fundamentalism of "Quiverfull"
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 12:22 PM The Age of the Streaming TV Auteur
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.