This year’s battle for Best Original Song at the 90th annual Academy Awards is heating up to be a huge race to the finish. With songs from some of today’s most beloved contemporary artists and spanning a wide range of genres, it’s still anyone’s trophy to take home (check out who’s performing at this years show here).
In the past 20 years, we’ve seen some huge pop, rap and hip hop tracks take home the shiny gold statue and make history in the process. Here are the 8 biggest Best Original Song winners of the past 20 years at the Academy Awards.
Although La La Land didn’t take home the Best Picture award at the Oscars (fake out!), it did win a handful of huge categories, including Best Director for Damian Chazelle, Best Actress for Emma Stone, and Best Original Song for the romantic and charming “City of Stars.” Performed by Ryan Gosling and Stone, the song was written by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, with Pasek and Paul up for the Oscar again this year for “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman.
Regardless of who your favourite James Bond has been, the 2010s have definitely been the best year for the franchises’ theme songs. In 2015, Sam Smith followed in the footsteps of Adele and took home the Best Original Song for “Writing’s On The Wall,” becoming the second Bond theme to achieve the high honour.
Okay, so “Let It Go” never actually became a huge radio hit, but it has without a doubt been one of the biggest songs of the past decade, and that’s with no radio support. So yeah, it’s huge.
There have been many incredible James Bond theme songs throughout the years, but snagging Adele for the 2012 film Skyfall was a surefire way to finally win on Oscar for Best Original Song. The song swept the award shows that year, winning a Golden Globe, a Brit Award, and a Grammy. So, not an EGOT, more of a BOGG.
Featured in the cult classic film Once, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglová’s beautifully melancholy love song was up against three songs from the animated film Enchanted, but managed to win the coveted Oscar in 2012. Cut off during their acceptance speech, host Jon Stewart brought Irglová back on stage to finish her speech and not make us go through another heartbreak like the one delivered in Once.
Three 6 Mafia’s surprising win at the 2005 Academy Awards was one of the biggest steps in cementing hip hop as an accepted art form in the award show that has spent decades being notoriously stuffy and old fashioned. The small rap trio from the South became overnight successes thanks to their Oscar win, with the award shining a light on a culture that’s often ignored by mainstream media and award shows.
The semi-autobiographical 8 Mile featured a terrible wig worn by Mekhi Phifer, but otherwise depicted a gritty and realistic look at the life of Marshall Mathers before he became Eminem. Convinced he wouldn’t take home the prestigious award, Eminem skipped the Oscars, leaving his friend and producer Luis Resto to accept the award and possibly be the first person to wear a basketball jersey to the Academy Awards.
If you were around in 1997, there’s a good chance you know every word to Céline Dion’s soaring ballad “My Heart Will Go On.” The song wasn’t even included in the blockbuster film Titanic, but as the craze around Kate and Leo reached worldwide frenzy, the song exploded right along with them. In the days before YouTube and GIFs, those who watched the Oscars live will still remember Dion’s shocking chest thump that almost sent her giant diamond necklace soaring into the ocean. Or onto the stage floor. Same thing.