Nominations for the 95th Academy Awards will be known in a few days’ time, and the Best Original Song category has drawn attention for having three of pop’s biggest female voices in its shortlist.
Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Rihanna are all vying for nominations through the respective songs they sing in critically acclaimed movies. Swift penned “Carolina” (Where the Crawdads Sing)” while Lady Gaga (“Hold My Hand” – Top Gun: Maverick) and Rihanna (“Lift Me Up” – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) co-wrote theirs.
Other marquee names on the shortlist are Drake, Selena Gomez, and The Weeknd.
While it’s already a major achievement to get nominated in this category, arguably, many of the previous Best Original Song winners couldn’t stick in the ears of many. Winning the Oscar is not a guarantee for a song to become a certified hit.
Interestingly, the theme songs on the last three James Bond films, all featuring Daniel Craig as the famed secret service agent, all won: “Skyfall” (Adele), “Writing’s On The Wall” (Sam Smith), and “No Time To Die” (Billie Eilish). Likewise, four recent winners are all from films significantly dealing with music: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Rocketman), “Shallow” (A Star Is Born), “Remember Me” (Coco), and “City of Stars” (La La Land).
These sorts of winning patterns are likely mere coincidences. However, while there seem to be formulas to strengthen a song’s chance to win on Oscar awards night, predicting which records will eventually become truly popular is subject to debate. Nevertheless, it’s fun to look back at songs we have almost forgotten to be Oscar winners, too.
The 80s had a lot to offer for such labeling. Almost every winner that came out in that era joined the hit parade. The late Irence Cara’s voice is heard on two of them: “Fame” and “Flashdance ,,, What a Feeling.” Living legends Stevie Wonder (“I Just Called to Say I Love You” – The Woman in Red) and Lionel Richie (“Say You, Say Me” – White Nights) have entries to this so-called decade of decadence.
“Take My Breath Away“ (Top Gun) and “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” for (Dirty Dancing) were also Oscar winners apart from being radio favorites, same as “Up Where We Belong” (An Officer and a Gentleman) and “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” (Arthur).
The ’90s were a good era for animated musicals as proven by four songs that took home the Oscar trophy: “Beauty and the Beast,” “A Whole New World,” “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” and “Colors of the Wind.” Two divas captured the hearts of voters and the listening public: Madonna (“You Must Love Me”) and Celine Dion (“My Heart Will Go On”).
In 2002, Eminem was a surprise winner with “Lose Yourself” (8 Mile). A decade later, “Let It Go” (Frozen) became a favorite karaoke and contest piece.
Classics that triumphed at Oscars include “Moon River” (Breakfast At Tiffany’s), “The Windmills of Your Mind” (The Thomas Crown Affair), “Que Sera, Sera” (The Man Who Knew Too Much), and many more.
Will the next Oscar for Best Original Song become a true hit? That’s something we need to be able to recall.