The 96th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air on ABC on Sunday, March 10, live from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood. It will be the fourth time that Kimmel has hosted the awards show. Unfortunately, country music does not have a presence in this year’s nominees. However, in years past, several country music classics have been nominated in the Best Original Song category.
While a country song has never won an Oscar for Best Original Song, our genre did have some nominees through the years, and one country icon has been nominated for Best Original Song twice in her storied career.
No country singer has even been nominated for an Academy Award for acting. Many country singers today are involved in acting, including Reba McEntire, Lainey Wilson, Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins, and Randy Houser, to name a few. When Billy Bob Thornton joined the cast of Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s 2021 series, 1883, it was a reunion for Tim and Billy Bob. The two worked together on the 2004 movie Friday Night Lights.
Tim said of Billy Bob’s appearance in 1883 as Jim Courtright, “Billy Bob was so fantastic.” McGraw credits Billy Bob with giving him some of the best acting advice he’s ever received. He said, “He was like the angel on my shoulder. The best advice he ever gave me is, if you think you’re not doing enough, you’re probably still doing too much.”
Actress Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner’s Daughter in 1980. Also, Jessica Lange was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Patsy Cline in 1985, although she did not win.
And let’s not forget Reese Witherspoon, a Nashville native and country music lover, won an Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter Cash from the Johnny Cash bio epic I Walked The Line in 2005. Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for an Oscar for portraying Johnny Cash in I Walk the Line the same year. Phoenix attended Cash’s funeral in Tennessee in 2003. Cash hand-picked Phoenix for the role after seeing his performance in Gladiator in 2000.
Let’s look at the Top five country songs nominated for an Academy Award over the years.