Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Barbra Streisand, Adele, Eminem, Celine Dion, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra. These are just a few of the famous singers responsible for some of the greatest tunes in Oscar history. While the Academy Award actually goes to the songwriters, these performers are just as synonymous with their renditions of Best Original Song winners. Let’s take a look back at the top 30 champs in this category, ranked from best to worst in our new photo gallery (view above).
The category of Best Original Song was first introduced at the 7th annual Academy Awards, honoring the best films of 1934. The first champ was “The Continental” from the film, “The Gay Divorcee.” But is that first Oscar-winning song among our list of the best Oscar-winning original songs from the first 89 years of the ceremony? Click through our photo gallery to find out if your favorite made our list.
Before you take a tour, here is just a taste of what is in store for you with our top five selections in the gallery:
1. “Over the Rainbow” from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
Music by Harold Arlen/Lyrics by Yip Harburg
The wistful and heartfelt tune became the signature song for the film’s star, Judy Garland, who performed the tune throughout her career until her death in 1969. It is also ranked as the best movie song of all time by the American Film Institute and has been selected for preservation by The Library of Congress. The song has found additional life thanks to a memorable cover by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, which has been featured in numerous film and television series.
2. “White Christmas” from “Holiday Inn” (1942)
Music & Lyrics by Irving Berlin
It wouldn’t be Christmas without what may be one of the signature tunes of the season, particularly in its signature rendition by its originator Bing Crosby, who first performed the holiday classic in the 1942 film, “Holiday Inn.” The song’s popularity led to a now-classic 1954 feature film of the same name, which also starred Crosby, and is considered essential viewing during the holiday season.
3. “Moon River” from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)
Music by Henry Mancini/Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Blake Edward‘s adaptation of the story by Truman Capote is known as much for its music as for its iconic wardrobe. At the heart of the film is this glorious ballad, which composer Mancini wrote specifically for its star, Audrey Hepburn. The song won not only the Oscar, but also a Grammy for Record of the Year.
4. “My Heart Will Go On” from “Titanic” (1997)
Music by James Horner/Lyrics by Will Jennings
One of cinema’s greatest love stories is accompanied by one of the great romantic ballads of all time. Celine Dion‘s rendition of this iconic tune — which earned the film one of its record-tying eleven Oscars — debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for ten weeks. The song also won four Grammy Awards the following year, including Record and Song of the Year.
5. ‘The Way We Were’ from “The Way We Were” (1973)
Music by Marvin Hamlisch/Lyrics by Alan & Marilyn Bergman
Despite acclaimed performances by stars Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand, the real star of this romantic drama was the film’s title song, which became one of Streisand’s signature numbers. It went on to be the number one song of 1974 and won a Grammy Award for Song of the Year.
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