Bing Crosby and Judy Garland will square off against Eminem and Madonna as the American Film Institute sounds out Hollywood on the 100 best songs in U.S. cinema.
The institute, whose previous annual top-100 lists included best American movies and last spring’s best heroes and villains, has chosen 400 nominated tunes dating back to Al Jolson’s “My Mammy” and “Toot, Toot, Tootsie” from 1927’s “The Jazz Singer.”
The most recent nominees include Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” from last year’s “8 Mile” and Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger’s version of “All That Jazz” from last year’s best-picture Academy Award winner, “Chicago.”
The top-100 list will be chosen by ballots sent to about 1,500 actors, directors, writers, critics, film historians and others in Hollywood. The results will be announced on “AFI’s 100 Years ... 100 Songs: America’s Greatest Music in the Movies” on CBS next June.
Voters can submit up to five write-in choices not included among the 400 nominees. Organizers said this year’s topic could provoke more write-ins than previous top-100 lists.
“My prediction is this will be among the most passionate in terms of the response, both in a positive way and in kind of a rancorous way when someone’s favorite song isn’t on the list,” said Bob Gazzale, a producer on the TV special. “People are so passionate about their favorite movies and favorite songs, and bringing the two together is a rather explosive combination.”
Crosby has the most nominated songs with 12, including “White Christmas” from “Holiday Inn.” Among women, Garland has the most nominations with nine, including “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz.”
Contemporary nominees include Madonna’s version of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from “Evita”; Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor’s “Come What May” from “Moulin Rouge”; Sarah McLachlan’s “When She Loved Me” from “Toy Story 2”; and Will Smith’s title tune to “Men in Black.”