Randy Newman Nabs First Oscar

"I don't want your pity," a smirking Randy Newman told the enthusiastically applauding audience at the 74th annual Academy Awards last night (March 24) in Los Angeles. With 16 Oscar nominations to his

"I don't want your pity," a smirking Randy Newman told the enthusiastically applauding audience at the 74th annual Academy Awards last night (March 24) in Los Angeles. With 16 Oscar nominations to his credit, Newman finally walked away with the best original song trophy for "If I Didn't Have You," which was featured in the animated film "Monsters, Inc.," and received a standing ovation to boot.

"I want to thank, first of all, the music branch [of the Motion Picture Academy] for giving me so many chances to be humiliated over the years," the obviously surprised Newman added before admitting, "I am absolutely astounded that I won for this."

With the former Billboard Century Award honoree's win also came his 15th loss, as earlier in the evening, his "Monsters, Inc." score lost out to Howard Shore's work on "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" in the best original score category.

Newman's 15 nominations without a victory is a record that he shares with late art director Roland Anderson and late composer Alex North. Although he never won in a nominated category, North was bestowed a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1986 "in recognition of his brilliant artistry in the creation of memorable music for a host of distinguished motion pictures."

Sitting at a piano, Newman performed "If I Didn't Have You" during the ceremony with help from actor John Goodman, who voiced the "Monsters, Inc." character Sullivan. The performance came during a presentation of all five nominated songs that included Sting ("Until" from "Kate & Leopold"), Enya ("May It Be" from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring"), Faith Hill (singing Diane Warren's ballad "There You'll Be" from "Pearl Harbor"), and Paul McCartney ("Vanilla Sky" from "Vanilla Sky").

"A Beautiful Mind" and "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" picked up the most Oscars last night with four each. "Rings," which led the field with 13 nominations, won for best cinematography, visual effects, and makeup. "A Beautiful Mind" won some of the night's biggest awards, taking home honors for best direction (Ron Howard), supporting actress (Jennifer Connelly), and best adapted screenplay (Akiva Goldsman).