The Academy Award for Best Original Song is an annual award presented to the writers of the best original song, composed specifically for a movie. The nominated songs for the award are also performed during the event and before the award is given. Over the years, some of the most iconic songs like Somewhere over the rainbow, Lose Yourself, and My Heart Will Go On, have received this award. Here is our pick for the best Oscar-winning songs:
10. “When You Wish Upon a Star,” ‘Pinocchio’ (1940)
Ned Washington and Leigh Harline wrote When you wish upon a star in 1940, which went on to win the Oscar. Cliff Edwards performed the song.
Since then, the song is regarded as Walt Disney’s signature song. Other nominations were Down Argentine Way from Down Argentine Way, Love of My Life from Second Chorus, Waltzing in the Clouds from Spring Parade, and I’d Know You Anywhere from You’ll Find Out.
9. “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Raindrops keep fallin’ on my head was written and by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It’s said that B.J. Thomas recorded the song after seven takes, as Bacharach didn’t like the first 6.
What are you doing the rest of your life from The Happy Ending, Jean from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Come Saturday Morning from The Sterile Cuckoo and True Grit from True Grit were the other nominations.
8. “Things Have Changed,” (2000)
Things Have Changed was written, composed, and performed by Bob Dylan. It was released as a single on May 1st, 2000. It won both the Oscar and the Golden Globe Award for the Best Original Song in 2000. Bob Dylan has released some iconic songs over the years, and Things Have Changed has always been one of his top creations.
A Love Before Time from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, I’ve Seen it All from Dancer in the dark, My Funny Friend and Me from The Emperor’s New Groove, and A Fool in Love from Meet the Parents were the other nominations.
7. “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” ‘The Woman in Red’ (1984)
Stevie Wonder is an American legend and his song I Just Called to Say I Love You is an iconic song that has been playing at weddings all across the world for decades now. It won the Oscar in 1984. The song was written, composed and of course, performed, by Wonder himself.
It is, even today, his best-selling single, after topping a record 19 charts. Other nominations from 1984 were Against All Odds from Against All Odds, Footloose and Let’s Hear it for the Boy from Footloose, and Ghostbusters from Ghostbusters.
6. “Let It Go,” ‘Frozen’ (2013)
The husband-and-wife writing team of Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson wrote and composed the song. Let it go for Frozen, which went on to win the Oscar in 2013. The song was performed by Idina Menzel who voiced Elsa in the movie.
A simplified pop version of the song was also composed by Kristen and Robert, which was performed by Demi Lovato. Happy from Despicable Me 2, The Moon Song from Her, and Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom were the other nominations for the year 2013.
5. “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” ‘Lion King’ (1994)
The only Oscar-winning song that Elton John has sung Can You Feel the Love Tonight is also one of the most famous movie songs ever written. It peaked at #14 on the singles chart in the UK upon release and at #4 in the United States. It sold over 11 million copies worldwide.
Two other songs from the legendary film Lion King were nominated; Circle of Life and Hakuna Matata. Other nominations for 1994 were Look What Love Has Done from Junior and Make Up Your Mind from The Paper.
4. “A Whole New World,” ‘Aladdin’ (1992)
Two songs from the movie Aladdin were nominated for the Oscar in 1992; Friend like Me and A Whole New World; the latter won. The lyrics of the song were provided by Tim Rice, while Alan Menken handled the music. Lea Salonga and Brad Kane performed the song.
The song describes Aladdin showing the locked princess, the vastness of the free world while acknowledging his love for her, as they floated on a magic carpet. The movie Bodyguard also had two nominations for the award. Namely I have nothing and Run to you. The other nomination was Beautiful Maria of My Soul from The Mambo Kings.
3. “My Heart Will Go On,” ‘Titanic’ (1997)
Easily one of the most famous songs ever recorded, Titanic’s My Heart Will Go On was the best song to have been featured in the year 1997. Even though Celine Dion has released numerous love songs, this is considered, by far, her best creation.
The song beat Journey to the Past from Anastasia, How Do I live from Con Air, Miss Misery from Good Will Hunting, and Go the Distance from Hercules. When the song was released, it became an instant hit, topping charts all over the world; from Australia to Belgium, from Canada to Italy and from the Netherlands to the United Kingdom; My Heart Will Go On was at the #1 spot everywhere.
2. “Over the Rainbow,” ‘Wizard of Oz’ (1939):
The iconic ballad/song Over the Rainbow, of which many renditions have since been recorded, won the Oscar in 1939. Yip Harburg wrote lyrics whereas Harold Arlen handled the music component.
The song beat Faithful Forever from Gulliver’s Travels, Wishing from Love Affair, and I Poured My Heart in to a Song from Second Fiddle. Judy Garland performed the song while starring as Dorothy Gale in the movie; since then, it has become her signature song.
1. “Skyfall,” ‘Skyfall’ (2012)
Skyfall won against Everybody needs a best friend from the movie Ted, Pi’s Lullaby from Life of Pi, Before my time from Chasing Ice, and Suddenly from Les Misérables. The song was performed by Adele and was orchestrated by A.C. Redford.
Adele was invited to write the song by the studio in 2011, and she only accepted the invitation after reading the movie script. Epworth, the producer of the song, sat down with Adele to inculcate the dark and moody theme of the film into the song.