“This is very unbelievable. I could never have imagined this in my wildest dreams,” said Prince when he accepted the Oscar for Best Original Song Score from presenters Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in 1985. His “Purple Rain” music defeated “The Muppets Take Manhattan” by Jeff Moss and “Songwriter” by Kris Kristofferson. That was the last year this award was handed out to date.
Prince died on April 21 at age 57. He was just 26 when he won the academy’s top honor. That was his only trip to the Oscars despite later writing original music for films like “Batman” (1989) and “Happy Feet” (2006). The Muppets did eventually prevail, but it took them another 27 years: songwriter Bret McKenzie claimed Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” in 2011.
Prince was one of many pop stars who won Oscars for branching out into film music. For instance, the Beatles also won Best Original Song Score for “Let it Be” in 1970. And in recent years, Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor took Best Original Score for “The Social Network” (2010), while Best Original Song has gone to artists including Eminem (“Lose Yourself” from “8 Mile,” 2002), Adele (the title song from “Skyfall,” 2012) and Sam Smith (“The Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre,” 2015), to name just a few.
What did you think of Prince’s victory? Did he deserve to win for the iconic film, or should the Muppets have taken that Oscar?