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Oscar's Best: Surveying The 5 Best Original Songs by African American Artists

by Erik Luers
February 28, 2014 11:53 AM
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1983 – From Flashdance: “Flashdance...What A Feeling” by Irene Cara (performed song and co-wrote lyrics), Keith Forsey (lyrics) and Giorgio Moroder (music)

For the life of me, I had no idea this song was from Flashdance. I've heard it over and over again for years and found it the epitome of 1980s pop culture and subsequently embraced it as such. Even if it's not particularly deep, it does prompt you to jump up and conquer the world. I mean, come on, it doesn't get much more inspiring than “take your passion and make it happen!” Cara's intense, breathy vocals only further the theme of hard work being necessary to conquer your dreams and inspire the masses.

Best lyrics: “What a feeling, being's believing, I can have it all, now I'm dancing for my life.”

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  • Mike | July 3, 2014 6:28 PMReply

    The Academy doesn't understand music in motion pictures period. "Happy" is a feel good song, but it was not used in the film at all. The only song that was used properly in the film was "Let It Go" from "Frozen." Disney really knows how to use music in their films that are a cengtral park of moving the story along. Other filmmakers need to learn from Disney.

  • Mr. Marin | March 2, 2014 6:44 PMReply

    I take it that 'Purple Rain' never happened. Oh.

  • Donella | February 28, 2014 4:30 PMReply

    I think Ray Parker Jr's "Ghostbusters" suffered the controversy from its similarity to Huey Lewis and the News "I Need a New Drug."

  • @IvoryJeff | February 28, 2014 3:41 PMReply

    As always, I love the opportunity to chop it up with fellow movie-lovers. Just wanted to respectfully point out a couple things in response to the comments so far.

    @ INDIENERD - This is not a list of what that the writer considers the best movie songs composed by blacks. It's a roundup of the five tunes that won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

    @ SOSGEMINI - Just looked it up and Prince won Best Original Song Score for the track Purple Rain, not When Doves Cry. I agree about the category being silly btw. Glad it's gone.


  • indienerd | February 28, 2014 12:47 PMReply

    You are mother effin' crazy to not include "When Doves Cry" or anything from the Color Purple. Shut this site down. PLEASE!

  • sosgemini | February 28, 2014 12:41 PMReply


    After number two, I just cant. :sigh:

    And what the heck was up with Prince winning for Song Score for When Doves Cry? Still don't get that category. Guess no one did hence it being eliminated. And wouldn't Ghostbusters also be a song score since the song was used throughout the film as a score theme? silly.

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