Even during the silent film era in Hollywood, music has always played a big role in the production of films. Moviemakers will spend a decent portion of their budget on the soundtrack, though most of the songs that you hear in major blockbusters have already been big hits. Then, there are songs that are created just for the film.
When this happens, the song is eligible for an Oscar for Best Original Song. It’s an award that dates back to the seventh Academy Awards in 1934 when “The Continental” won for the film “The Gay Divorcee”. Not all of the winners have went on to become Billboard Hot 100 smash hits, but several of them have. Let’s take a look at the past five winners to see how they fared in terms of mainstream success.
“Glory” from Selma – The collaboration between Common and John Legend was made for the Martin Luther King, Jr. movie and beat out songs like “Everything Is Awesome”. When released, “Glory” was the 92nd song on the Billboard Hot 100, but made its way up the charts. It peaked at number 49 thanks to the buzz it received from the Oscars.
“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre – The intro song for a James Bond movie is always a big deal, and there’s a lot of buzz surrounding who will be the singer. Sam Smith got the honor for the film “Spectre”. The song became the second Bond them to win Best Original Song (after “Skyfall” by Adele). Smith’s version didn’t score as high on the mainstream, though, peaking at 71st on the Hot 100.
“City of Stars” from La La Land – In 2017, there was a massive hit by Justin Timberlake nominated with “Can’t Stop the Feeling”, but the chart topper couldn’t beat out “City of Stars” that was performed by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Interestingly enough, the song reached number one in Japan and Hong Kong radio stations, but never made it to the Billboard Hot 100.
“Remember Me” from Coco – The Disney-Pixar film “Coco” carried the memorable song that was sung by the ensemble voice cast, beating out other songs that weren’t mainstream hits. Just like the previous winner, “Remember Me” didn’t reach the Billboard Hot 100. The album, however, did reach the top 40 after the Oscars.
“Shallow” from A Star Is Born – The most recent winner came from the collaboration between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in “A Star Is Born”. Lady Gaga, already having a slew of number one singles on her own, added another with this Best Original Song. It topped several charts around the world in addition to the Hot 100, and was one of the most popular songs of 2019.