Top 10 Disney Songs That Should Have Won An Oscar



Top 10 Disney Songs That Should Have Won An Oscar

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Owen Maxwell
Once upon a dream, these songs actually won. They were robbed! They were robbed! These Disney songs need to be on the radio, and they NEED Oscars! We're looking at the Disney songs that received the worst snubs at the Academy Awards, whether they were nominated or not. We're basing our choices on a mix of stellar writing, beautiful melodies and how well each song has aged compared to their fellow nominees. Join MsMojo as we countdown our picks for the Top 10 Disney Songs That Should Have Won An Oscar.
Top 10 Disney Songs That Should Have Won An Oscar

Once upon a dream, these songs actually won. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Disney Songs That SHOULD Have Won an Oscar.

For this list, we're looking at the Disney songs that received the worst snubs at the Academy Awards, whether they were nominated or not. We're basing our choices on a mix of stellar writing, beautiful melodies and how well each song has aged compared to their fellow nominees.

#10: "Go the Distance"

"Hercules" (1997)

As Hercules strives for a life beyond the farm, he wanders around to sing about all his hopes and dreams. There's a sadness in the song's early verses, which is accented beautifully by the subdued arrangements behind the character’s vocals. But after learning he's destined for something bigger in life, his song takes on a much more excited energy. The booming trumpets and fierce vocals from Roger Bart turn the tune from a hopeful ballad into an inspiring one as well. Meanwhile, the regal tone of all the horns cleverly play to the Olympian themes of the movie. Admittedly, it was obvious that fellow nominee 'My Heart Will Go On' was going to win. However, it's the empowering spirit of 'Go the Distance' that has us coming back to it time and again.

#9: "That's How You Know"

"Enchanted" (2007)

Though Giselle is still adjusting to life outside of her fairy tale world, she tries to break into a song about love anyways. Soon everyone around her is dancing and singing along to the track, as the real world gets some magic of its own. By tying in the optimism of “True Love's Kiss” (xref) and the humor of 'Happy Working Song,' (xref) this track captures all of the movie's best qualities. While 'Falling Slowly' from 'Once' is heartbreaking, the fun of “Enchanted”s three nominated tracks still has us wishing this one had taken home the award. Between Latin grooves, cheery wedding bells and even polka tones, “That's How You Know” naturally involves the diverse crowds of New York for an engaging listen.

#8: "How Far I'll Go"

"Moana" (2016)

The young Moana wants to explore the waters beyond her island, but she's torn by how comfortable everyone else seems to be. "How Far I'll Go" is driven by this relatable conflict, with an adventurous spirit in its drums and Pacific Island traditions coursing through its backing vocals. The soft guitars at the center of the song show the evolution of Moana's emotions, as the instrumentation builds to reflect them as well. The smart writing by Lin-Manuel Miranda of “Hamilton” fame keeps the song lively while telling a layered story about Moana's life. Though the tender “City of Stars” from “La La Land” took home the Oscar, “How Far I'll Go” did win a Grammy. Plus its powerful cover by Alessia Cara proves it has legs beyond the film.

#7: "Out There"

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1996)

The hunchback Quasimodo stays in Notre Dame cathedral due to his fear of how others will perceive him. The “Stay in Here” part of the song sees the evil Frollo controlling him through this doubt, while the hunchback's part of “Out There” slowly replaces this feeling of pain with anticipation. Drums and strings beautifully fill out the track, as we see just how brightly Quasimodo sees Paris. It's the triumphant and romantic belting of “Out There”s finale however, that truly gives it that Oscar-worthy feeling. While we're shown Esmerelda's loving side and the charity of the church in “God Help the Outcasts,” “Out There” is a full emotional rollercoaster. Given how the 1997 Academy Award tracks have aged, it's a wonder it didn’t even get a nomination.

#6: "The Bare Necessities"

"The Jungle Book" (1967)

When the young Mowgli is learning to live in the jungle, his lovable bear pal Baloo teaches him about the simple life with a bit of jazz. The bouncy rhythms of 'The Bare Necessities' are fun to dance to, while the chorus is instantly catchy and fun. No matter what tempo it's playing at, the song manages to teach you a different lesson while maintaining its joyous energy. Despite this wide appeal, the fancy wordplay of “Talk to Tthe Animals” from “Doctor Doolittle” got the Best Original Song Oscar instead. But by turning its own pun into an upbeat anthem,”'The Bare Necessities” stands the test of time to this day.

#5: "I See the Light"

"Tangled" (2010)

Rapunzel always wanted to see the sky lanterns in person, so she was full of song when Flynn helped her finally realize that dream. This new happiness was reflected in the song “I See the Light”, as the pair finally realized their love for each other. The inner monologue of the opening verses also helped the track feel truly satisfying when Rapunzel and Flynn sang together. The romantic mood of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi's duet deserved the Oscar, but it ultimately went to Randy Newman's chipper track “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3”.

#4: "Be Our Guest"

"Beauty and the Beast" (1991)

The young Belle sadly finds herself imprisoned in a Beast's castle, so the living housewares throw her a huge dinner party. As Lumière sings, “Be Our Guest” expands into a larger-than-life Broadway-style number with a chorus of singers to match. Between its impressive range of tempos, the track also reveals the film's full cast of characters with style. “Be Our Guest” is iconic enough for parodies, some of which are famous in their own right. While the movie's title track holds the Academy Award, the film actually holds three Best Original Song nominations thanks to the colorful song “Belle.” But the unique showmanship and eccentric characters of “Be Our Guest” still have us singing it today.

#3: "Part of Your World"

"The Little Mermaid" (1989)

Despite her royal status and a collection of treasures, Princess Ariel strives for a life among people on land. “Part of Your World” starts out with the mermaid dynamically switching between singing and speaking. The orchestration builds naturally around all of Ariel's happiest lines, creating an organic swell within the music too. Her attempts to find words also add to the quirkiness behind the song. With a nomination for “Kiss the Girl” and a win for “Under the Sea,” it's weird that this inspiring anthem for young women doesn't even have an Oscar nomination at all. Nevertheless, the elegant writing and personal story of “Part of Your World” help its success endure to this day.

#2: "A Spoonful of Sugar"

"Mary Poppins" (1964)

With Michael and Jane struggling to clean their room, Mary Poppins devises a musical inspiration to get the job done. As bouncy orchestration plays behind her, the magical nanny kicks into “A Spoonful of Sugar” with birds and trumpets joining in her melody. The playful singing and whistling certainly keep the song upbeat as well. “A Spoonful of Sugar” is a knockout thanks to Julie Andrews' powerhouse vocals and magical solos. Strangely, the film's unusual track “Chim Chim Cher-ee” is the one with the Academy Award. Snubs seem to follow the more extravagant songs in this franchise though, like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” and the sequel's “A Cover Is Not the Book.”

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

"Friend Like Me"

"Aladdin" (1992)

"Rainbow Connection"

"The Muppet Movie" (1979)

"Cruella de Vil"

"101 Dalmatians" (1961)


"Cinderella" (1950)


"Mulan" (1998)

#1: "Circle of Life"

"The Lion King" (1994)

From the opening cries of “Circle of Life,” you knew you were in for something epic and exciting. As we were introduced to the vast and colorful world of “The Lion King,” this song incorporated the film's animals into the mix beautifully. Elton John's writing not only captured the majesty of African tradition and Zulu vocals, but it also kept the track catchy enough for general audiences. The romance of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” stole the Oscar, but it never quite matched the fun of fellow nominee “Hakuna Matata.” And though “Circle of Life” was denied the trophy, its international success as a single showed it was more than just part of a score.

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