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Henry Mancini Nominated for Oscar for Third Consecutive Year

Feb. 25, 1964 - Henry Mancini (pictured last April with Debbie Reynolds and Johnny Mercer), whose songs have won the Academy Award for the Best Motion Picture Song for the last two years, flew into New York this week just as another of his compositions, “Charade,” was named as one of the five contenders for this year’s Oscar. Mr. Mancini was not blasé about the possibility of winning an Oscar for an unprecedented third year in a row — “I’d like very much to win it,” he said — but he acknowledged that nothing could equal the first time he was called up to accept the award.

“I wanted to write picture music ever since I was a kid,” the composer said. “I wanted to be up there with all those names like Max Steiner. It was like a kid wanting to play baseball, wanting to be Mickey Mantle and finally playing in a World Series. It’s a big kick winning the first time, and it’s never quite the same after that.”

Part of Mr. Mancini’s “kick” in winning the first time was that his victory, a double one, came as a complete surprise. In 1962, he had nominations in two categories — “Moon River” for Best Song and the score for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which included “Moon River,” for Best Score.

“We were fairly confident of the song,” Mr. Mancini recalled, “but we didn’t expect the score to win.” Last year, his “Days of Wine and Roses” was the winner for Best Song.

During his three-day stay in New York, Mr. Mancini expects to have some talks about writing a Broadway show, although he said the visit was “purely social.” “But that’s how most discussions about Broadway shows get started — at social gatherings.”


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