The 15 Best Oscar-Winning Songs of All Time

Since 1934, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has handed out an Oscar for best original song, and many of those now-iconic tunes have more than lived up to that golden title. It’s impossible to think of The Wizard of Oz without hearing “Over the Rainbow”; Dirty Dancing without singing “(I’ve Had) The Time of my Life”; or Pinocchio without humming “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

With musical heavy-hitters like Rihanna, David Byrne, Mitski and previous Oscar-winner Lady Gaga all in the running for best original song in 2023, whoever wins will be in awfully good company. (And, who knows? Maybe this will be the year that long-time nominee Diane Warren finally gets her flowers.) 

Whether it’s Billie Eilish becoming James Bond musical royalty in 2021 with “No Time to Die,” Eminem putting hip-hop on the Oscar map in 2002 with “Lose Yourself,” Bruce Springsteen bringing us all to tears in 1993 with the “Streets of Philadelphia,” Isaac Hayes making Oscar history as the first African-American to win the best original song category in 1971 for “Theme from Shaft” or Irving Berlin creating a perennial holiday classic in 1942 with “White Christmas,” these Academy Award winners have spanned generations — and made for one incredible, albeit wildly eclectic, soundtrack. 

In no particular order, here are the 15 greatest Oscar-winning songs of all-time. And if you don’t see your personal favorite listed here, well, no disrespect is intended. Unless, of course, that song landed on our list of the 15 worst Oscar-winning songs of all time. In that case, well, sorry.

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