2016 Best Song Oscar Nominees

Common and John Legend flashing their statues for their Best Song win at last year’s Oscars for Selma‘s “Glory.”

The last two years, we saw something special—and rare—happen at the Oscars: the Best Song category actually meant something to many viewers. Two years ago, we couldn’t get “Let It Go” from Frozen out of our heads (but let’s be honest, did it ever really leave our heads?). That was the year the Idina Menzel tuner left Pharrell’s toe-tapping contender “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 in the dust. Then last year, we saw John Legend and Common force the Dolby to its feet with their performance of winning song “Glory” from Selma, outpacing another fan favorite, The Lego Movie‘s “Everything Is Awesome.”

This year, high-profile artists like Lady Gaga, Diane Warren, Sam Smith, and The Weeknd are in the mix, but their songs don’t have the same appeal as those from recent memory. Still, this year’s diverse lot of songs—ranging from R&B to classical to a James Bond anthem—is worth a listen before this Sunday’s Oscars.

“Earned It” (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Music and Lyric by The Weeknd, Ahmad Balshe, Jason Quenneville, and Stephan Moccio


“Manta Ray” (Racing Extinction)
Music by J. Ralph; Lyric by Anohni


“Simple Song #3” (Youth)
Music and Lyric by David Lang


“Til It Happens to You” (The Hunting Ground)
Music and Lyric by Diane Warren and Lady Gaga


“Writing’s on the Wall” (Spectre)
Music and Lyric by Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith

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