The Oscars haven’t even taken place yet, but they’ll already be remembered for the rescinding of Best Original Song nominee “Alone Yet Not Alone.” Late last month, the Academy revoked the sole nomination garnered by the Christian film of the same name. The reason? The Academy said nominee Bruce Broughton had used his influence as a former Academy governor and committee member to influence voters to nominate his song. So while this year’s Best Original Song category has already gathered its fair share of infamy, I thought it be fun to look back at my favorite tracks that actually did win the Best Song Oscar. Hope you enjoy giving my picks a spin, and do feel free to share yours as well!
10. “A Whole New World”
by Alan Menken and Tim Rice from Aladdin (1992)
I had to have at least one song from a Disney flick, and of all the Disney Best Song winners, “A Whole New World” is by far my favorite. Plus, it’s used so well in the movie.
by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth from Skyfall (2012)
The best Bond song of all time? Close call, you tell me.
8. “Jai Ho”
by A.R. Rahman from Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Of Rahman’s two nominated songs from Slumdog Millionaire, I’ve always preferred “O…Saya.” But “Jai Ho” was used more extravagantly in the film, which certainly helped it win. Fair enough.
7. “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life”
by Franke Previte, John DeNicola and Donald Markowitz from Dirty Dancing (1987)
Yep, I love the hell out of the final scene of Dirty Dancing. So there.
6. “Falling Slowly”
by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová from Once (2007)
Because it’s just so damn sweet. Really, what’s not to love about this scene?
5. “The Weary Kind”
by Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett from Crazy Heart (2009)
It doesn’t matter that “The Weary Kind” is reserved mostly for Crazy Heart’s final credits, as Bingham’s raspy voice, simple composition and melancholic lyrics make for a truly great stand alone song.
4. “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp”
by Juicy J, Frayser Boy and DJ Paul from Hustle & Flow (2005)
I love how “It’s Hard out Here for a Pimp” is used in Hustle & Flow. From Shug laying down her hook to DJay spitting his seamless rhymes – it’s a thrilling sequence of urban survival.
3. “Theme from Shaft”
by Isaac Hayes from Shaft (1971)
Seriously, watch these opening credits. He really is a baaaad mother–
2. “Streets of Philadelphia”
by Bruce Springsteen from Philadelphia (1993)
This song still slays me, nearly as much as the film itself. A gentle, appropriate, all together perfect track for a remarkable film. For an added bonus, check out Springsteen’s excellent Oscar speech. I love his send off.
1. “Lose Yourself”
by Eminem from 8 Mile (2002)
My favorite use of an Oscar-winning song in any movie is Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” gently kicking in at the end of 8 Mile. Having won a weekly underground rap battle – thereby becoming a local legend, if only for a brief while – Jimmy Smith says goodbye to his friends, and walks down an alley, headed back to his graveyard shift at the factory. There’s no glamor in the scene, no hint of the future stardom that the actor playing Jimmy achieved in real life. It’s just a guy going back to work. But the song plays on. Like never before, the track blares with fury.