Top 10 Oscar-Winning Songs

Script written by Tiffany Ezuma. The Academy Awards are some of the most prestigious awards in the film industry. Also nicknamed The Oscars, these statuettes are given for the achievements in the last year’s motion pictures and cover categories ranging from acting, technical accomplishments and music. For this list, we’ve chosen songs that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that we felt had the best combination of crossover success, overall popularity and ability to fit in with the movies in which they’re featured. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 Oscar-winning songs. Special thanks to our users amexguy13, Jasmine Rider, Daniel Fong, camperpro2012 and Dionicio Gaspar for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Tiffany Ezuma.

There’s a lot that goes into making movie magic, but nothing adds more than a powerful song. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Oscar-winning songs.

For this list, we’ve chosen songs that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that we felt had the best combination of crossover success, overall popularity and ability to fit in with the movies in which they’re featured.

#10: “The Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen
“Philadelphia” (1993)

When you get the Boss to write a song for a film, it’s pretty likely it’ll be award-winning material. And that’s exactly what happened here. This tune tells the story of a man who’s “bruised and broken” as he’s left to fend for himself on the streets of Philadelphia. The lyrics and gentle humming in the background match the heartfelt tone of the film it was written for, and won the singer-songwriter four Grammys in addition to his Academy Award.

#9: “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes
“Dirty Dancing” (1987)

This song was the soundtrack to one of “Dirty Dancing”’s most iconic scenes. With Bill Medley’s velvety singing complemented by Jennifer Warnes’ vocal chops, the duo’s voices build and lift perfectly to “(I’ve Had) the Time of My Life”’s memorable ‘80s beat. Thanks to its pop and soft rock flavors, it’s also a guaranteed crowd-pleaser that’ll have everyone attempting their best impression of the cinematic duo.

#8: “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand
“The Way We Were” (1973)

Babz can pretty much do no wrong. As the title song and love theme to the movie of the same name, “The Way We Were” is a tune about love and the bittersweet memories it brings. With no chorus and the repetition of several key phrases, it’s a simple song, but the yearning for the past comes forth in every note. Not only did this track bring home Oscar gold; the easy listening standard was also a Billboard chart-topper.

#7: “Moon River” by Audrey Hepburn
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)

Embodying simplicity at its best, this Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer-penned track breaks your heart a little each time you listen to it. When Audrey Hepburn performs it as Holly Golightly, she’s the picture of youth and longing. Since Hepburn’s more of an actress than a singer, “Moon River” was tailored to fit her vocal range and the results were simply magic.

#6: “Skyfall” by Adele
“Skyfall” (2012)

The James Bond movies are known for their themes, and this one didn’t disappoint. Adele’s voice is powerfully bold as it swells to the orchestral beat. Reminiscent of earlier 007 themes, “Skyfall” also stands out for the mystery in its lyrics. The Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit also made history when it became the first Bond song to win at the Oscars, the Brit Awards, and the Golden Globes.

#5: “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” by B.J. Thomas
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)

This song has become an anthem for having a bad day and not letting things get you down, as its cheerful beat and inspiring lyrics can bring a smile to anyone’s face. “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” earned B.J. Thomas a number one in several countries and has since been covered by several artists. Aside from being in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” it’s also appeared in many other movies.

#4: “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John
“The Lion King” (1994)

This is simply one of Disney’s best love themes. The film version includes the voices of Timon and Pumbaa, an African chorus, and the off-screen voice of Kristle Edwards. But it’s the Elton John performance that audiences can’t forget. In addition to the Oscar, the film won Elton John the Grammy for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

#3: “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Cliff Edwards
“Pinocchio” (1940)

After it appeared in Disney’s “Pinocchio,” it became the tune that comes to mind when you think about the company and everything it stands for – hopes, dreams, and magic. But it’s also had a life outside of the film, and has been used as a holiday number in several countries. “When You Wish Upon a Star” is considered so significant, it’s now part of the National Recording Registry as well.

#2: “Lose Yourself” by Eminem
“8 Mile” (2002)

This song hits listeners as hard as Em raps. Inspiring for anyone who’s ever been an underdog, “Lose Yourself” proved to be larger than the film it was written for: it became the first hip-hop song to win an Oscar and is the best-selling hit of Eminem’s career. It also set a Guinness World Record as the “Longest Running Single at Number One for a Rap Song” with 23 weeks in the top spot.

Honorable Mentions

- “Flashdance… What a Feeling” by Irene Cara “Flashdance” (1983)
- “My Heart Will Go On” by Céline Dion “Titanic” (1997)
- “Last Dance” by Donna Summer “Thank God It’s Friday” (1978)
- “Beauty and the Beast” by Céline Dion and Peabo Bryson “Beauty and the Beast” (1991)
- “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansgard and Markéta Irglová “Once” (2007)

#1: “Over the Rainbow” by Judy Garland
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)

Inextricably linked to Dorothy and her desire to find a place where there isn’t any trouble, this is one of the most hopeful songs out there. Ever since its appearance in “The Wizard of Oz,” “Over the Rainbow” has become a cultural phenomenon, first being adopted by American soldiers in WWII and later commemorated by the U.S. Postal Service. Whether or not you’ve seen the movie, you know this tune and you can’t help but feel its power.

Do you agree with our list? Which Oscar winning song is your favorite? For more Academy worthy Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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