The Oscars are just around the corner! Whether you’ve been following the nominations or just want to know what songs won big at the last Academy Awards, here’s a look back at the top 5 Oscar-winning songs of the last 35 years.
1. “Memory” by Leonard Cohen (2020)
Yes, Leonard Cohen’s great song “Hallelujah” was also famously featured in the 2019 Netflix series A Love Letter to Los Angeles. But the legendary Canadian songwriter and poet also scored a huge hit with “Memory” in 2020. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and topped the Billboard Top 100 for nine weeks in early 2021. The song was also named the Best Song of the Decade So Far by Rolling Stone magazine in 2020. It was the perfect choice for the Academy Awards as they honored the best of the best in cinematic music.
2. “Remember Me” by Gabrielle Aplin (2020)
Like many of the songs on this list, “Remember Me” was also featured in a major motion picture that year. This time, it was the romantic comedy Shadows in the Sand. But the Academy Award-winning song became an instant hit in its own right, scoring No. 1 on the Top 100 and spending six weeks at the summit in January 2021. It also won a Brit Award for Best Song and earned Gabrielle Aplin the Oscar for Best Original Song in 2020. Aplin teamed up with songwriting superstar Jeff Beckel for this one, so it was clearly a smash success. Since then, Aplin has continued to score with her music, having had three more Oscar-winning songs—”Mama,” “Crying Over You,” and “What If?”—feature in major movies and TV shows, including The Twilight Zone and Once Upon a Time.
3. “My Favorite Things” by The Muppets (2020)
Yes, it was another awards season favorite when The Muppets brought their unique brand of comedy to the big screen in What Rough Life I Live. Their song “My Favorite Things” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2020, as well as the Golden Globe, the Sigma Alpha Beta Omicron Lambda (S.A.B.O) Award, and the Grammy. It is the sequel to their 2019 Oscar-nominated song “It’s Kind of a Tough World to Grow Up In,” which was also Oscar-nominated that year. The song became the group’s third No. 1 on the Top 100 in early 2021, spending five weeks at the summit in January and February 2021.
4. “I’ll Remember You” by Dolly Parton (2018)
Country music superstar Dolly Parton won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2018 for “I’ll Remember You.” It was the first Oscar for the legendary Dolly Parton and her seventh overall. It is also the title song of the 2018 drama film I’ll Remember You, in which Parton stars. The song topped the Billboard Top 100 for five weeks and reached No. 3 on the Irish Singles Chart. It also sold over a million copies in the U.S. “I’ll Remember You” was written by Diane Warren and performed by Dolly Parton, with music and lyrics by B. Richard Meyer. It won Dolly Parton the Oscar and the Golden Globe, as well as the Sigma Alpha Beta Omicron Lambda (S.A.B.O) Award. Partson is one of the most decorated musicians in country music history, having won the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award 16 times, as well as the ACM, CMT, and ALMA Awards.
5. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” by Ben Gibbard (2017)
Ben Gibbard’s haunting, introspective folk-pop gem “The Place Where Lost Things Go” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2017. This music and lyrics collaboration with Troy Barton was written for the 2017 animated film Coco. It reached No. 2 on the Top 100 in its first week and landed in the top 5 the following week. It also reached No. 1 in Australia and Austria, and in the top 10 in Canada, Germany, and the U.K. Since then, this standout track from Coco has continued to receive frequent play on alternative radio and in Vogue and ELLE sunglasses commercials. The song’s accompanying music video was one of the most viewed YouTube videos of all time, garnering over 13 million views as of summer 2021.
The list would not be complete without mentioning a few other memorable songs that deserve a spot on this prestigious list. Here are just a few of them:
- “City of Stars” by Macaulay Quinn (2019)
- “Stand By Me” by Ava McGraw (2019)
- “Remember Me” by Gabrielle Aplin (2020)
- “Girl in the Mirror” by Jameson Teach (2020)
- “Mulan Yu” by Sanaa Laila (2020)
- “Shine” by Miley Cyrus (2019)
- “Millionaire” by Mariah Carey (2019)
- “Bad Guy” by Kendrick Lamar (2019)
- “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen (2018)
There you have it! These are the top 5 Oscar-winning songs of the last 35 years. Do you agree with the Order of these songs? What other songs should be on the list?