Five Best Song Oscar wins you likely forgot about

These were great songs as the Oscar win suggests, but how many of these can you recall well?

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As we look ahead to the 96th Academy Awards on Sunday, March 10 the focus of course turns to who will become Oscar winners. We’ve had both the Grammys and The Brits for music recently, and while the Academy Awards are directed to the movie industry, music does still feature. There are award categories for Best Original Song and Best Score. 

You’d expect that when an Oscar goes to the best song it will be very memorable. It’s the top song from the year's worth of films. It’s beaten the other contenders. Of course, you’d remember it well. Or would you…? 

Let’s test that out with five Best Original Song winners at the Academy Awards from 2000 onwards.  You may well be aware of the five songs when you see them named. But when did you last hear them played? Can you recall the tune? Have they slipped your mind? In effect, some may well be Oscar winners you’ve forgotten about one way or another.

Five great Best Original Song winners from the Oscars that you may have forgotten about

"(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again" - 2020 winner

It’s worth a reminder that the Oscar goes to the songwriter rather than the performer. Though in this case there’s less of a difference. Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin,  it was performed by Elton and Taron Egerton in the 2019 Rocketman movie, where Egerton starred as Elton. 

This is a relatively recent win, and Elton is a huge star, so could it really be forgotten already? It’s probably been overshadowed by Elton’s farewell tour where his biggest hits took precedence. The song doesn’t feature on his setlists, though he did perform it live at the 2022 awards ceremony

"Man or Muppet" - 2012 winner

There’s an obvious clue to the movie this song won an Oscar for. Yes, it’s from the 2011 Disney movie The Muppets. Songwriter Bret McKenzie takes the Oscar for “Man Or Muppet”. It was performed by Jason Segal and Peter Linz as they questioned their identities during the film. 

It’s not a bad song, but it’s not memorable to the degree you’d expect from an Oscar winner. “Man or Muppet” wasn’t a huge hit it was barely a hit at all, registering well below the top 100 in only the UK charts. That cuts future airplay and keeps it in our minds. Perhaps it’s also relevant to mention there was only one other nomination for Best Song that year, “ Real In Rio” from the family animation movie Rio

"Jai Ho" - 2009 winner

This great song fits a lighter definition of forgotten. Without a doubt, it’s a memorable song. It was a huge, colourful, and lively spectacle in the 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire. Written by A.R. Rahman and performed by Sukhwinder Singh in the film it’s instantly recognisable. The Pussycat Dolls also had a hit with the song.

For me though, while I recall it warmly now I’m writing about it, I’d forgotten all about it. I haven’t heard it for a long time, while it was played widely and often when first released. “Jai Ho!” doesn’t seem to get much airplay now. Perhaps that’s the way the algorithms work on the radio stations and streaming services I listen to. Have you heard it played much in the last year or so? To be fair, it's a great song to be reminded about. 

"Al Otro Lado Del Rio" - 2005 winner

This song, written by Uruguayan singer Jorge Dexter was from the 2004 film The Motorcycle Diaries. It was the first Spanish-language song to win an Oscar and only the second winner in a foreign language. The title translates to “On The Other Side Of The River”. The song itself may well have faded from our minds, but is memorable for some controversy at the awards in 2005. 

Dexter wasn't allowed to perform the song at the awards ceremony that year. He was deemed not famous or well-known enough. Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana stepped in instead. Dexter did manage to sneak in a couple of verses a capella style when accepting his Oscar. He was able to make the song more memorable in one way despite that setback. 

"Into The West" - 2004 winner

It’s hard to think an Annie Lennox song could ever be forgotten. In any definition of the word. But “Into The West”, written by Lennox, Fran Walsh, and Howard Shore is another Oscar winner that's perhaps overlooked now to a great extent and much less in the public eye or ears. 

The song was the end credit for the 2003 film The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King. It's a brilliant song that suits Lennox’s voice perfectly. It is a very sad and mournful song. The first public performance was at the funeral of Cameron Duncan, a young Maori filmmaker whose early death had inspired the song. It is still played at funerals now, so will be remembered by some people for very personal reasons. 

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