The Greatest Oscar-Winning Songs Over the Decades

While “Best Picture” might be the most well-known award in the Oscars, there have been some incredible award-winning songs throughout the years as well. Here is a collection of some of the most unforgettable pieces of music that won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.


1930s – “Over The Rainbow”

In 1939, the movie The Wizard of Oz came out and took the world by storm. Contained in the fantastic film were numerous hit songs, with “Over The Rainbow” standing out as the most popular. “Over The Rainbow”, sung by Judy Garland, is listed as the best movie song of all time by the American Film Institute in their 100 song list.

1940s- “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”

“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”, composed by Allie Wrubel with lyrics by Ray Gilbert, came out in 1946 in the Disney movie Song of the South. It’s a cheerful tune that has remained popular in all age groups. Multiple artists have covered this song, including legend Johnny Mercer.

1950s – “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)”

This hopeful song was introduced in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock film, The Man Who Knew Too Much. This song featured actress/singer Doris Day, and quickly became one of the songs she was most known for. “Que Sera, Sera” was written by songwriting duo Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.

1960s -“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head

“Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1969. It was featured in the movie  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and was written by Hal David and Burt Bacharach. This song was hugely popular when it first came out, and reached #1 on charts in the USA, Canada, and Norway.

1970s- “Theme from Shaft

This song was written and sung by artist Isaac Hayes for the 1971 film Shaft.  This academy-award was significant because it made Hayes the first African-American to receive the Oscar for original songs. “Theme from Shaft” went on to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA.

1980s-“(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” 

Written for the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” was/still is an extremely popular song. It went on to win multiple awards besides the Oscar, including A Golden Globe and a Grammy. This song was written by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz, and recorded by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warner.

1990s- “My Heart Will Go On

Also known as “Love Theme from Titanic,” this award-winner was the theme song from James Cameron’s record-breaking movie. This song was performed by Celine Dion, and quickly became her signature piece. This smash-hit reached number 1 on charts all around the world, and became one of the best-selling in history.

2000s – Lose Yourself

“Lose Yourself”, written by Eminem for the 2002 movie 8 Mile, was the first rap song to receive the Academy Award for Best Original Song. This was a massively popular song, and went on to win a Grammy and secure the #1 spot on Billboards Hot 100. The quintuple platinum song was also on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

2010s- Let It Go

Even though we’re only half-way through the Oscars of the 2010’s, “Let It Go” has surely sealed its reputation as one of the most well-known movie songs in the world. The 2013 Disney movie Frozen was the highest grossing animated film, which can be largely accredited to its soundtrack. Let It Go reached the top 5 in the Hot 100 Billboard chart, and was covered in multiple languages, making it one of the most globally recorded Disney songs.

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