The 90th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will honor the best films of 2017 on March 4th. The night isn't all about movies and the actors who starred in them though. Music plays a big part as well, and every year there are musicians selected to perform at the big event. This year's lineup consists of Mary J. Blige
, Andra Day
, Sufjan Stevens
, and more. The recently announced lineup inspired us to select 10 of the best performances from previous Oscars. Be sure to catch the award show on March 4th hosted by Jimmy Kimmel live from Los Angeles.
10. "The Hands That Built America" by U2 (2003)
U2's "The Hands That Built America" is exactly about what Oscar presenter Colin Farrell said it honors, "new Americans who left Ireland in search of a better life, willing to fight for it at any expense." The song was written for Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York
and of course U2 killed their rocking performance as footage of immigrants entering Ellis Island splashed across the stage's backdrop. It reminded us of what the American dream is all about, finding a better life for you and your loved ones at the cost of hard work and leaving your native land behind.
9. "Sound of Music" by Lady Gaga (2015)
Leave it up to Lady Gaga to give such a stunning performance as tribute to The Sound of Music
. The performance was a celebration of the film's 50th anniversary and this was a medley of its most famous songs. It's no secret that Lady Gaga has a powerful voice and for those who hadn't witnessed her impressive vocal range, she must've left them in shock after this performance. The audience gave her a standing ovation and even Julie Andrews was impressed. Damn Lady, just damn.
8. "Sooner or Later" by Madonna (1991)
Madonna gave us old school Hollywood glamour with this performance at the 1991 Oscars. No one does risqué quite like this icon, who gave her performance in the likeness of another icon, Marilyn Monroe. Dressed in a sequined dress, fur boa, gleaming baubles and all, her performance was as sultry as her look. And if you're wondering if this was the same year she took Michael Jackson as her date, your answer is yes. Forget the glittery purse when you can have a pop icon on your arm.
7. "Dreamgirls Medley" by Jennifer Hudson, Beyonce, & Anika Noni Rose (2007)
This performance features Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, and Tony Award winner Anika Noni Rose, so you know it's a good one. These ladies all happen to be co-stars on the musical film Dreamgirls
, which is where this medley is from. Unfortunately, none of the songs won any awards that night but Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and they all won my heart after this performance. Which is way better than an award. Fast forward to Beyonce and Hudson's duet of "Listen" for some major feels.
6. "Streets of Philadelphia" by Bruce Springsteen (1994)
Springsteen left his rocker style behind and looked polished in an elegant suit while performing his original song honoring HIV/AIDS victims. Springsteen was ready to make us all cry with this simple but powerful performance which actually won the Oscar for Best Original Song. Fun fact: this was Springsteen's first attempt at writing a melody for a film. Needless to say, we think he's a natural at this music stuff.
5. "Skyfall" by Adele (2013)
Speaking of naturals, here we have Adele's performance of "Skyfall" at the 2013 Oscars. Known for her simple yet poignant performances, she was backed by a chorus and a 15-plus orchestra. This was actually 30 minutes before winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for this James Bond
track. After watching her, there is no question to why both the song and the performance are winners.
4. "Glory" by John Legend & Common (2005)
This performance was so good -- so good that it brought a couple of people in the audience to tears. Legend and Common made sure to make a powerful statement with this performance of their Oscar winning song from Selma
. They made the performance similar to the march from Selma to Montgomery portrayed in the movie which was perfect and helped convey the movies subject matter.
3. "Ben" by Michael Jackson (1973)
This performance is truly remarkable as we get to see a 13-year-old Michael Jackson sing "Ben" from the film with the same name about a boy's friendship with a rat. As the presenter mentioned, this was probably past his bedtime but Jackson did a great job as his soft voice brought all the feels to this heartfelt ballad. This was also Jackson's first No.1 hit without the Jackson 5
. If only we would've known then that this young man would grow up to become the King of Pop..
2. "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion (1998)
As if the movie Titanic
alone didn't make you cry, Celine Dion brought extra feels to her performance of the film's song. The Canadian singer wore a beautiful Heart of the Ocean-lookalike necklace to resemble the one Rose lost in the film. During her performance she was backed by a full orchestra and tons of fog for dramatic effect. Not to mention her impressive vocals, of course.
1. "It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp" by Three 6 Mafia & Taraj P. Henson (2006)
This is possibly the most memorable performance for an Oscar because it's rap/hip-hop and somehow the group was able to perform without being interrupted by network censors. That alone is pretty impressive if you ask me. The song actually won Best Original Song for the film Hustle & Flow
and it features Taraj P. Henson who was soulfully singing the chorus. Henson, along with a couple dozen extras, helped Three 6 Mafia recreate the movies aesthetic during this performance which is also probably why it stands as one of the most memorable Oscar performances to date.