Top 10 Academy Award Winning Songs

The Academy Award for Best Original Song is an award that has been given out at the Oscars since 1934. Eighty-four tunes have held the illustrious title of being the best song created for a motion picture. This list features the greatest songs to win the award. Here you'll find emotional power ballads, catchy pop songs, and even intense songs that can be looked to for motivation.
The Top Ten
1 Lose Yourself - Eminem (8 Mile)

In my opinion, this is the greatest hip hop song ever recorded. Everything about this song works. The opening piano notes set the tone perfectly. By the time the guitar kicks in and Em's intro starts, you're already on the edge of your seat and ready to go. The song is essentially about living every moment of your life like its your last and not being afraid to take risks. Eminem's flow is legendary and paints a brilliant narrative of his character, B-Rabbit, in his semi-autobiographical film, 8 Mile. The song was a massive success and spent 12 consecutive weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100. Most impressively, it became the first rap song to ever win the Academy Award for Best Original Song, breaking down a lot of barriers for the genre.

2 Over the Rainbow- Judy Garland (The Wizard of Oz)

This is one of the most beautiful and most soothing pieces of music ever created. Judy Garland's voice is just so heavenly as she wishes for a better life for herself. The Wizard of Oz was made during The Great Depression era of American history. Many people, like Dorothy and her family, were down on their luck living in rural farms with no crops or money to be found. This song reflects the longing of hope for a lot of people living in that time in history, and it can be relatable for anybody who is going through rough times in their life and wishes for things to get better. Just a fantastic, magical piece of music that will live on forever.

3 Moon River - Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany's)

This is one of the few songs that was actually performed by a character in a film that was not a musical. And what an amazing song this is. It's beautifully sung vocals by Hollywood Legend Audrey Hepburn can melt the heart of anyone, and it's beautiful guitar and string melody create such a lovely atmosphere of love and hope. It really is a song that reflects the best side of people.

4 Let It Go - Idina Menzel (Frozen)

Yeah. I know how many of you guys hate this song. And you know what, I get it. It's overplayed as hell and exploited way more than it needed to be. But when you truly get down to it, this song is utterly phenomenal. You've got a character at their lowest point coming to the realization that they don't need to be afraid of who they are anymore. It's a song about being comfortable in your own skin and relieving yourself of the anxieties that have held you back in the past. Broadway star Idina Menzel brought her A Game here, and her voice perfectly encapsulates the vulnerability and power of the character she portrays. So yeah, this song is very overplayed. But to me, this is the greatest song that Disney has ever made as a studio and I will defend it to my dying day.

5 A Whole New World - Brad Kane and Lea Salonga (Aladdin)

One of the greatest songs that Disney and composer Alan Menken has ever produced. A song about new experiences and being able to step out of one's own personal boundaries, it's a fantastic duet between two characters who are finally free to do what they want with their lives. The film's visuals perfectly match the magic that this song brings to the table. Any version of this song will automatically place the visual of two people on a magic carpet ride into the listener's head. It's a wonderful ballad that stands as one of the greatest love songs ever written.

6 When You Wish Upon a Star - Cliff Edwards (Pinocchio)

The quintessential Disney song that the studio has been using for over 75 years. Like "Over the Rainbow", it's a song of hope that things will get better and it is sung beautifully by Cliff Edwards. This song has become Disney's official theme song, and an instrumental version of it has been played before each every film that the studio has released since 2006. One thing I do miss from old songs from movies, particularly Disney's Classics, is the choir that complements the vocals. There's just something so majestic about that choir's vocals that makes so many people wrapped up in thought and emotion. The perfect song to represent a studio as legendary and impactful as Disney.

7 My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion (Titanic)

Everybody knows this song. I'm pretty sure that everybody who has access to some amount of technology has heard this song at one point or another. People's opinion of Celine Dion's tune usually coincides with their opinion of Titanic. Some see it as beautiful and overflowing with heartfelt emotion. Others see it as oversentimental, manipulative schlock. I see it as the former. I've always enjoyed Titanic throughout my whole life and this song pretty much is a summary of the movie of a sonic level. It's both moving and beautiful, yet melancholy and wrought with heartache and tragedy. You definitely FEEL something after listening to it, but you don't know exactly WHAT you're feeling. And it's that sense of emotional uncertainty what makes this tune a classic.

8 Beauty and the Beast - Angela Lansbury (Beauty and the Beast)

The titular song of one of the greatest animated films ever produced, this Alan Menken number is ripe with soothing vocals from the legendary Angela Lansbury and brilliant lyrics about stepping into a relationship for the first time. It's a song that's relatable for anyone who has ever been in love with its universal themes and its glorious orchestration. It's soothing, calming, and can speak to anyone, old or young.

9 Skyfall - Adele (Skyfall)

Adele is one of the greatest artists of the past few decades for a reason. Her soulful singing has appealed to people who grew up on pop singers of the 70's and 80's such as Barbara Streisand and Bette Midler, and stands as a true classy artist of modern day as opposed to many talentless hacks that you hear on the radio nowadays. This song is one of the greatest bond themes that has ever been recorded. Like Adele, the film Skyfall has both a touch of the old and a touch of the new for it to stand out, and the song fits the film perfectly. It's a song that ranks among the singer's best work and is onw of the greatest songs ever written for a film.

10 It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp (Hustle and Flow)
The Contenders
11 Theme from Shaft - Isaac Hayes (Shaft)

Just a single listen to this song can transport the listener to the 70's. The funky guitar, smooth horns, and drum rhythm create such an atmosphere that sucks the listener right in. Isaac Hayes (who would go on to play Chef in South Park) has such smooth vocals that introduce the titular character of the film. It's a flat out great song with a great groove that couldn't have come from any other era than the 1970s.

12 Streets of Philadelphia - Bruce Springsteen (Philadelphia)
13 Can You Feel the Love Tonight - Elton John
14 Falling Slowly - Once
15 City of Stars - La la Land
16 The Weary Kind - Ryan Bingham (Crazy Heart)
17 Into the West - Annie Lennox
18 You’ll Be in My Heart - Tarzan
19 Shallow - Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
20 Man or Muppet - Jason Segel & Walter (The Muppets)
21 Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head - Burt Bacharach & B.J. Thomas (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)
22 Under the Sea - Samuel E. Wright (The Little Mermaind)
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