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"Give me an Oscar! We have this whole song, and there's no point for it except for a cheap 'Best Song' nomination!"
Todd in the Shadows mocking Cher's solo song in Burlesque

Or: The Big Damn Bronze Age Disney-Style Award-Baiting End-Credits Power Ballad.

Tropers who grew up in the early 1990s know what we're talking about, right? It's the kind of song which plays over the end credits (usually) of an animated (usually) Disney (usually) movie (usually) from the 1990s (usually). They each share a distinctive style and, as per the title, once you hear it you just know it's going to get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song, and if it doesn't, somebody's getting fired.

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They generally have at least four of the following distinctive traits:

The distinguishing trademark, however, is when the song has a reprise, frequently a duet, done over the end credits. Bonus points if you can get Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion (or someone who sounds like her), Whitney Houston, Peabo Bryson, or Bryan Adams to sing it.

Sounds like the kind of song popularized by nineties Disney films, yes? The funny thing is that the film that probably helped to make this sort of thing popular during this particular part of movie history would be "Somewhere Out There" from Don Bluth's An American Tail, although Don Bluth's team had also had "Flying Dreams" in the earlier The Secret of NIMH. And even before that, songs unrelated to the story, usually of the love song variety, often sung by popular singers, had been a staple of closing credits for Asian films — particularly anime — for decades.

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Award Bait Songs are also found in many live-action films, notably "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic (1997). Many, many films from the late-70's through late-90's had a song like this, leading some critics to call this period the last really amazing time for movie songs. This has been exchanged for "hip" pop songs from the popular artists at the time, and/or more commonly the movie soundtrack.

Movie Bonus Songs in film adaptations of stage musicals often fall under this trope, since the songs adapted from the stage play aren't eligible for Best Original Song, and this is the filmmakers' attempt at letting the film receive some accolade for its music. Whatever the song's reason for being, the "Award-Baiting" part isn't the important part, nor is the "End Credits" part. The important part is that the song is strongly associated with the narrative work, serves as a fitting capstone, and is in the style described above.

One tactic when trying for an award bait song is to take an existing, usually famous, song and record a Softer and Slower Cover.

It should also be noted that, while the song may be blatant award bait, that doesn't mean they still can't be really good regardless.

For other kinds of popular and/or Award-winning movie songs, see Breakaway Pop Hit and "I Want" Song. Compare The Power of Rock.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Disney Productions (Including Pixar) 
In chronological order:

    Fan Work 

    Film — Animated 
In chronological order:
It's the kick in the pants you needed
This song will open up your eyes
It's the feeling you can't be defeated
It's an 80's song with synthy vibes
And you know it's super... upbeat, upbeat...

    Film — Live-Action 
In chronological order:
  • The Ur-Example for films is likely "Over The Rainbow" from 1939's The Wizard of Oz, which won the Oscar and may well be the most famous movie theme song of all time.
  • Dean Martin's "That's Amore", revived as the theme to Moonstruck, was originally composed for 1953's The Caddy, and subsequently nominated for an Oscar, but lost to "Secret Love" from Calamity Jane.
  • The Righteous Brothers' 1960's hit "Unchained Melody", known in recent years as "the theme to Ghost", was introduced in a now-forgotten 1955 film titled Unchained, and was nominated for an Oscar.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird, from, well... To Kill A Mocking Bird.
  • "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
  • "The Morning After" from The Poseidon Adventure is, unusually, featured in the movie and not just as part of the soundtrack when the ship's singer performs it in the ballroom. It won the Best Original Song Oscar, beating Michael Jackson's "Ben".
  • The Man from Hong Kong has "Sky High" by Jigsaw, which became a Breakaway Pop Hit, during both the opening and closing credits.
  • Many James Bond theme tunes are called, but few are chosen for Oscar nominations and fewer still are this trope. But of those that are...
  • "You Light Up My Life" from the 1977 film of the same title was originally performed by Kasey Cisyk, but it was Debby Boone's Covered Up version that became a gigantic Breakaway Pop Hit. It wound up winning the Best Original Song Oscar.
  • The Bee Gees' "How Deep is Your Love", from Saturday Night Fever, won a Grammy for Best Pop Song Performed by a Group, and was nominated for a Best Original Song Golden Globe award, but lost the latter to "You Light Up My Life". No Oscar nomination for this or any of the other songs even as the soundtrack was one of the biggest albums of The '70s and three of the actual 1977 nominees were from little-loved family films (the fourth was "Nobody Does It Better"). Producer Robert Stigwood called out the Academy for being behind the times. The next Oscar ceremony acknowledged the embarrassing omission with a medley of songs that were not nominated for Oscars, including three from this film.
  • The Goodbye Girl has a Title Theme Tune, "Goodbye Girl", performed by David Gates (of the group Bread). Despite having a mellow start, big finish, heartwarming feel-good lyrics, and some electric guitar showboating — and coming out of the film that ended up winning the 1977 Best Actor Oscar — it wasn't nominated. The 2004 made-for-TV remake features a Cover Version performed by Hootie & the Blowfish.
  • "Can You Read My Mind?", made for Superman: The Movie. Not nominated because it doesn't actually appear as a song in the film, but Maureen McGovern did record it as a single tying into it.
  • "The Last Time I Felt Like This" from Same Time, Next Year was nominated for an Oscar in 1978, but lost to "Last Dance" from Thank God It's Friday.
  • Barry Manilow's "Ready to Take a Chance Again" from Foul Play was also nominated in 1978.
  • "The Rainbow Connection" from the original Muppet movie was Oscar-nominated in 1979 and became the Bootstrapped Theme of The Muppets as a franchise.
    • The Weezer and Hayley Williams cover from The Green Album, a tie-in for the 2011 Muppets movie, sounds exactly like a Disney end-credits cover of the song would. Surprisingly, it isn't played over the movie's creditsnote , but the movie does bring us "Man or Muppet", despite it not being played over the end credits either. And being the most award-baity, "Man or Muppet" even won the Oscar! (Against one other nominee, granted.)
  • "The Rose" by Bette Midler, from The Rose, naturally. Wasn't nominated for the 1979 Best Song Oscar, but it did win the Golden Globe.
  • A lower-key but still award-baity Oscar nominee from 1979 is "It's Easy to Say", from Ten. It's a mellow, piano-based Silly Love Song with touching lyrics — but it's also important to the story even though the film is not a musical. The main character (Dudley Moore) is a composer who has won awards for his film work in-universe, who comes up with the melody as the basis for a song to give to his at-the-time estranged girlfriend (Julie Andrews), a professional singer, to record. In the denouement, the now-finished song helps bring them back together when he performs it on a piano and she joins him, turning it into a duet. From there, the same actors perform a more polished version of the song over the end credits.
  • Melissa Manchester performed not one, but two Oscar-nominated love songs in 1979: "Through the Eyes of Love" from Ice Castles and "I'll Never Say Goodbye" from The Promise. Both are sappy silly love songs created for maximum tearjerking, as befits a pair of romantic melodramas.
  • And finally "It Goes Like It Goes" by Jennifer Warnes won the Oscar for 1979 (the film was Norma Rae) but may better be recalled now as the song that beat "The Rainbow Connection" and "The Rose".
  • Not to be confused with the later Mannequin song, there's "Nothing Can Stop Us Now" from Stir Crazy, performed by Kiki Dee.
  • The title song from Xanadu, sung by Olivia Newton-John. Also a Breakaway Pop Hit, since the song and soundtrack album were far more popular than the film itself.
  • "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" from 1981's Arthur was a stepping stone in this trope's evolution. It has a soothing mellow start, feel-good tone, buildup starting with the second chorus, a epic saxophone bridge (as opposed to electric guitar), and a Video Full of Film Clips. At the same time it defies several eventual conventions of the trope: singer/co-writer Christopher Cross was just coming off of five Grammy Award wins, its lyrics openly reference the plot and characters, its melody turns up in the underscore, and it bookends the movie by playing under both sets of credits. It not only won the Best Original Song Oscar and Golden Globe (plus some Grammy nominations later) but was one of Cross's biggest hits and remains in the Credits Medley at the end of the Academy Awards ceremony to this day. The 2011 remake uses it too, in both instrumental and Cover Version forms (the latter by Fitz and the Tantrums).
    • The soundtrack Arthur — The Album contains three songs that aren't in the movie but work off of the underscore's themes. Stephen Bishop's "It's Only Love" fits the stereotypes of this trope even better than "Arthur's Theme" — mellow start, feel-good tone, non-specific lyrics, electric guitar solo, and heavy buildup, though the song has a mellow finish.
    • The 1988 sequel Arthur 2: On the Rocks has "Love Is My Decision", performed and co-written by Chris de Burgh. This one's a straight-up Silly Love Song with sparkly synth and a BIG wrap-up — but still film-specific because the first-person lyrics are clearly from the perspective of the main character.
  • "Endless Love" from the movie of the same name. Nominated for the Best Song Oscar, but lost to "Arthur's Theme". It actually spent three times as many weeks (nine total) at Number One on the Billboard charts as the winner did, but probably lost because its source movie was not nearly as well-liked, nor does the Silly Love Song match its tone. (The movie is about a Stalker with a Crush.)
  • The Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes duet "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer and a Gentleman was award-baity enough to win a Golden Globe, Oscar, BAFTA, and a Grammy. All this after the producer of the film tried to get the song cut, insisting that it was "no good and not a hit."
  • "That's What Friends Are For" by Rod Stewart from Night Shift was later Covered Up by Dionne & Friends (Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Elton John).
  • "Forbidden Colours" by Ryuichi Sakomoto and David Sylvian, from Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.
  • Romantic Comedy — yes, that's the actual title — has "Maybe" performed by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack over its end credits (the melody turns up throughout the film as an instrumental). It's a Silly Love Song and Let's Duet, and has a soothing start, feel-good tone, gradual buildup in "bigness", and Truck Driver's Gear Change at the very end for the fade out.
  • Irene Cara's "Flashdance (What a Feeling)", from, well, Flashdance was the 1983 Oscar winner.
  • Phil Collins first brushed with this trope with "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" from Against All Odds. Oscar-nominated but lost to "I Just Called to Say I Love You"; notoriously Collins was not asked to perform this song at the Oscars...even though, as co-writer of the song, he was going to be at the ceremony anyway. Ann Reinking performed it instead.
  • "Together in Electric Dreams", by Giorgio Moroder and Philip Oakey of Human League fame, is the ending theme from Electric Dreams but ended up outshining the movie it was supposed to complement.
  • The Never Ending Story has the eponymous theme by Limahl.
  • Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome has "We Don't Need Another Hero".
  • Micki + Maude has "Something New in My Life". It bookends the film by playing first as an instrumental under the opening titles, while the end titles feature a Stephen Bishop vocal. It has a mellow start and epic finish, with non-specific lyrics that could be about romance and/or impending fatherhood and a feel-good tone.
  • "Christmas All Over the World" was performed by Sheena Easton for the end credits of Santa Claus: The Movie (1985). The link is to the full-length version of the song; the first verse doesn't appear in the film, which means it skips past the "soothing and mellow" part. New Edition recorded their own version of this for their 1985 Christmas album, and it adds tons of sparkly synth to the mix.
  • The Phil Collins-Marilyn Martin duet "Separate Lives" from White Nights. It was nominated, but lost to another song from the movie: "Say You, Say Me" by Lionel Richie, which isn't as award-baity of a song.
  • Glory Of Love by Peter Cetera was intended to be this for Rocky IV. It was passed over and ended up in The Karate Kid Part II, getting an Oscar nomination for its trouble.
  • OMD's required prom song "If You Leave", from Pretty in Pink.
  • Think Queen is immune to this?! Try "Who Wants To Live Forever?" or "One Year Of Love", both from Highlander.
  • "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin, featured in Top Gun, was the 1986 Best Original Song Oscar winner.
  • "Loving on Borrowed Time" from Film/Cobra, sung by Bill Medley and Gladys Knight.
    • From the same movie, "Two Into One" by Bill Medley & Carmen Twillie.
  • Before the award was retired at the Turn of the Millenniumnote , The Razzies had a Worst Original Song category. While most of the nominees/winners were simply bizarre and tacky, there are three fascinating cases of songs being nominated for both an Oscar for Best Original Song and a Razzie for Worst Original Song!
  • The title song from Absolute Beginners (1986), written and performed by David Bowie (who has a One-Scene Wonder role), is a feel-good love song that bookends the musical via the credit sequences. The full-length version linked to above — with a video that doubled as the movie's theatrical trailer in the U.K. — is almost eight minutes long, with a long, dramatic instrumental finish.
    • Bowie also contributed "As the World Falls Down" to Labyrinth the same year. Although the song itself fits the criteria, underscoring a ballroom dance, its actual meaning is more subversiveJareth has fallen for Sarah and is attempting to seduce her into giving up her quest. She realizes she's fallen into a trap, and shatters the illusion to prove the Goblin King has no power over her.
  • "Storybook Love" from The Princess Bride didn't fail to earn an Oscar nomination in 1987.
  • "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now", performed by Starship for 1987's Mannequin and nominated for an Oscar; lost to the next entry...
  • Jennifer Warnes had another Oscar-winning duet when she teamed up with Bill Medley for "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" from Dirty Dancing.
  • Bette Midler's Cover Version of "Wind Beneath My Wings" was prominently featured in Beaches and became one of her biggest hits.
  • "After All" from Chances Are by Cher and Peter Cetera. Oscar-nominated but lost to "Under the Sea".
  • Bryan Adams started to do a lot of these starting with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves's "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You" in 1991. It was nominated for an Oscar and was one of the biggest hits of its year, but lost to the title song of Beauty and the Beast.
    • Two years later, Adams performed "All for Love" with Sting and Rod Stewart from The Three Musketeers (1993). Both of these films were scored by Michael Kamen — and after Kamen died in 2003, Adams went suspiciously silent...
    • "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" from Don Juan De Marco was nominated for Best Original Song at the 1995 Academy Awards, but lost to "Colors Of The Wind".
    • In 1996, Adams joined forces with Barbra Streisand for "I Finally Found Someone", which played over the end credits of The Mirror Has Two Faces and didn't fail to get Oscar-nominated. When Streisand chose not to perform it at the Oscars, Celine Dion (herself stepping in for Natalie Cole) stepped in!
    • Also in 1996, Adams contributed "Star" to Jack.
    • See Films — Animated above for more Adams examples.
  • One of the most famous live-action examples is Whitney Houston's cover of "I Will Always Love You" from The Bodyguard. It wasn't nominated for the Oscar because it was a cover of a Dolly Parton song from the 1970s. Parton herself sang it in the movie version of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas in 1982.
    • "Run To You" and "I Have Nothing" from this film also count and were both nominated...but lost to Aladdin's "A Whole New World".
  • The Last of the Mohicans had "I Will Find You" by Clannad.
  • White Men Can't Jump has "Let Me Make It Up To You" by Jody Watley, and "If I Lose" by Aretha Franklin.
  • Annie Lennox contributed "Love Song for a Vampire" from Bram Stoker's Dracula.
  • By the time Robin Hood: Men in Tights was made in 1993, this trope was ubiquitous enough to be parodied with an end-credits reprise of "Marian". It was most directly a parody of "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You", from that other '90s Robin Hood movie (see above). In any case, future tropers tended to laugh harder at that than most other people in the theater...
  • Super Mario Bros., being a family film released in the '90s, naturally had one of these: "Almost Unreal" by Roxette. It was one of the few songs written for the movie, while most of its soundtrack was composed of other popular songs, including a cover of "Walk the Dinosaur."
  • Street Fighter had "Something There" by Chage and Aska, which played during the credits, as well as "Worth Fighting For" by Angelique Kidjo, which played when Guile remembered happy times with Charlie.
  • "The Day I Fall In Love" from Beethoven's 2nd, performed by James Ingram and Dolly Parton, was nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy for Best Song from a Motion Picture. The lyrics are from the first-person perspective of dogs.
  • The Crow featured "It Can't Rain All The Time" by Jane Siberry as its end credits song.
  • Michael Jackson's hit "Will You Be There" was featured in 1993's Free Willy. Ineligible for an Oscar because it was originally from his 1991 album Dangerous.
    • And much earlier than that: 1972's "Ben" — a heartstring-tugging song about the friendship between a boy and his killer rat as depicted in Ben. And it was Oscar-nominated!
    • Free Willy 2: The Voyage Home has the Jackson original "Childhood (Theme from Free Willy 2)", which was simultaneously released on his album HI Story Past Present And Future Book I. It underscores an otherwise expendable sequence involving a secondary character. No nominations.
  • R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" from Space Jam.
  • "Anyone Can Be a Hero" from Blankman, preformed by Lalah Hathaway.
  • "Kiss from a Rose" by Seal didn't take off until it was recycled into the Batman Forever soundtrack. But since it had already been released as a single, it was ineligible for awards nominations.
    • "Foolish Games" by Jewel from Batman & Robin is a subversion, as the song was written and released two years prior to the film, but became ubiquitous enough to become the second best-selling single of 1997.
    • Speaking of Batman And Robin, "Gotham City" by R. Kelly was a blatant attempt at cashing in on this trope, hoping to repeat the success of "Kiss from a Rose" as well as R. Kelly's previous hit "I Believe I Can Fly" from Space Jam. The song was a modest hit, reaching number 9 on the pop charts, and unlike previous Batman examples it was actually eligible for Best Original Song. Nonetheless, it wasn't even nominated.
  • Céline Dion's "Because You Loved Me" from Up Close and Personal didn't win the Oscar it was up for, but it did win a Grammy in 1996.
  • "Then You Look At Me" from Bicentennial Man. Sung by Céline Dion, natch, and written by the same team that wrote "My Heart Will Go On".
  • "You're Where I Belong" from Stuart Little.
  • "Where Are You, Christmas?" from the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon's "A Love Before Time" was Oscar-nominated in 2000.
  • Bizarrely, The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle - which is significantly heavier on cartoon humor than most works that warrant an Award Bait Song - has one called "Through the Eyes of a Child" (not to be confused with the ones from The Rapsittie Street Kids Believe In Santa or South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut).
  • Pearl Harbor's "There You'll Be" by Faith Hill (nominated for Oscar).
  • Much of Moulin Rouge!'s soundtrack consists of covers, but it naturally has its own Big Damn Love Song: "Come What May". Ineligible for the Oscar because it was originally written for Baz Luhrmann's previous Red Curtain film, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet).
  • "Never Too Far" by Mariah Carey from Glitter.
  • The Lord of the Rings films gave us some stellar Tear Jerker examples: "May It Be" from Fellowship of the Ring and "Into the West" from The Return Of The King. Both were nominated for Oscars, with the latter even winning.
    • Subverted in The Two Towers with "Gollum's Song", which has a somewhat similar style but a minor key and a much darker tone and sung by Emiliana Torrini.
  • The Hobbit, the prequel trilogy to Lord of the Rings, continued where those movies left off.
  • The Sum of All Fears has "If We Could Remember" by Yolanda Adams.
  • "Only Hope" from A Walk to Remember has the original version by Switchfoot over the end credits and a very award-baity cover by Mandy Moore during the movie. Ineligible for awards since the song had already been on one of Switchfoot's albums a few years prior.
  • "Learn To Be Lonely" from The Phantom of the Opera (2004). Nominated for but lost the Oscar.
  • "Shine Your Light" from Ladder 49.
  • Troy: "Remember" sung by Josh Groban and composed by James Horner.
  • "A Place Called Home" from A Christmas Carol: The Musical is a rare TV movie example.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia series:
  • Parodied in the 2005 version of The Producers with "The Hop-Clop Goes On", a stylized reprise of "Der Guten Tag Hop-Clop".
  • "Fly Away" by Nelly in The Longest Yard remake.
  • "My Immortal" by Evanescence, featured in Daredevil.
  • Avril Lavigne's Keep Holding On from Eragon.
  • In Dreamgirls (2006) the Movie Bonus Song "Listen" stands out as an attempt to give Beyoncé a big showstopping number to rival "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (itself not eligible for Best Song since it's from the original musical). The fact that it was so blatant, and featured Beyonce straining against her usual range, is probably why the song flopped (though the Glee cover by Charice was much better received). The end credits reprise of "When I First Saw You" also hits some of the notes of this trope (though it was likewise ineligible).
  • Gackt's "Returner", featured in the Japanese release of The Prestige, is similar to the above-mentioned "Gollum's Song" in that it has a much darker sound than most other examples of this trope (though it's fitting for a Visual Kei artist). The song itself, coincidentally, was made as a theme song for the NHK historical drama Fūrin Kazan. At least, the genre itself warranted the hamminess and wide sweep of the song.
  • Yet another Alternative Foreign Theme Song example: "Shiawase no Chikara" by Sowelu, from the Japanese dub of The Pursuit of Happyness.
  • John Mayer's "Say" from The Bucket List is more low-key than most award bait songs, but it counts too.
  • The Wrestler has, appropriately enough, "The Wrestler" by Bruce Springsteen. Unfortunately, the Springsteen solo album it also appeared on arrived first, disqualifying the song from an Oscar nomination even though it was specifically written for the movie.
  • Slumdog Millionaire had an award-bait song and Bollywood dance routine over the end credits. Subverted with "Dreams on Fire", which seems like the primary Oscar Bait song from the soundtrack. It didn't get nominated, but "Jai-Ho" won, and the collaboration with M.I.A. got a nom too).
  • "The Climb" from the Hannah Montana movie was ineligible for the Oscar because it wasn't written for the movie. Also noteworthy for being the X-Factor Winner's Song for 2009 in the U.K., which was known to always win the Christmas Number One standing on the charts. Not this year though — it lost to "Killing in the Name" by Rage Against the Machine.
  • James Cameron's Avatar brings us "I See You", a Spiritual Successor to "My Heart Will Go On" co-written by James Horner and performed by Leona Lewis.
  • Dido and AR Rahman's "If I Rise" from 127 Hours was nominated for an Oscar but lost to Randy Newman's "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3.
  • Miley Cyrus sings another award bait song in the form of "When I Look At You" from The Last Song.
  • "Love Lives" by Steven Tyler (a solo effort by the Aerosmith frontman), written for the Japanese film Space Battleship Yamato, adapted from the anime series. It feels a good deal like "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing", and is so shamelessly sappy it's utterly fantastic.
  • "The Living Proof" from The Help.
  • "A Thousand Years" from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1.
  • "Calling For Your Love" from Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away.
  • 2012 has "Time For Miracles". It's especially jarring, after seeing a film about death, destruction and sacrifice, to hear a Céline Dion-esque song performed by someone from American Idol. And it's Adam Lambert at that!
  • Songs from eco-documentaries such as Chasing Ice and Racing Extinction are generally this in order to repeat the Best Song win for An Inconvenient Truth. Weirdly enough, the nommed songs for both mentioned films ("Before My Time" and "Manta Ray" respectively) lost to James Bond themes.
  • Les Misérables (2012)'s Movie Bonus Song "Suddenly" fits this trope to a T.
  • "Safe And Sound" by Taylor Swift, from The Hunger Games.
  • "Almost Home" from Oz: The Great and Powerful, performed by Mariah Carey. Inelgible for the Oscar because it wasn't the first song played during the credits.
  • "Oblivion" from the likewise named Oblivion.
  • "Young And Beautiful" by Lana Del Rey and "Over The Love" by Florence + the Machine from The Great Gatsby.
  • Annie (2014) has at least two movie bonus songs that qualify for this trope.
    • "Opportunity", the song the title character sings to wow the crowd (and Stacks) at the Guggenheim event. Nominated for Golden Globe and shortlisted for the Oscar.
    • "Who Am I" is a lesser example, but it still counts.
  • "Not About Angels" by Birdy, from The Fault in Our Stars.
  • "Miasto" from the Polish film Miasto 44.
  • "Eien no Motto Mate Made" by Seiko Matsuda, from the Japanese dub of Pan.
    • She also has "I'll Fall In Love" from the 2005 Bewitched film.
  • Furious 7 has "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa. Despite being a huge hit when it came out, the bait didn’t take with most awards groups –- it got a Golden Globe nomination, but failed to get recognized by the Oscars.
  • "Just a Wish", from the biopic Walt Before Mickey.
  • La La Land has "City of Stars" and "Audition (The Fools Who Dream)", both of which were nominated for Oscars. The former won both the Oscar and the Golden Globe.
  • Star Trek Beyond has Rihanna's "Sledgehammer" over the end credits.
  • "Go Now" was Sing Street's attempts at this, but the bait sadly didn't take.
  • "To Be Human" from Wonder Woman (2017), sung by Sia and Labrinth.
  • A chunk of the songs in The Greatest Showman qualify, namely "A Million Dreams" (which gets the Falling-in-Love Montage honor), "Never Enough" (showboating diva solo), "This Is Me" (won the Golden Globe and nominated for the Oscar), "Rewrite the Stars" (the love duet for the Beta Couple), and the eleventh-hour number "From Now On".
  • "Ashes." A serious Tear Jerker of a Power Ballad by Titanic crooner Céline Dion herself. Which makes it completely apropos it's on the soundtrack to raunchy superhero comedy Deadpool 2. Parodied in the music video, where Deadpool's criticisim is that it's too good for the film and asks her to dial it down.
  • If anyone in the current pop music industry could be called the modern equivalent to Celine Dion in terms of Oscar bait-y songs written for movie soundtracks, it's Ellie Goulding, with a whopping three examples of this, all written for different movies: "Beating Heart" from Divergent, "Love Me Like You Do" from Fifty Shades of Grey, and "Still Falling for You" from Bridget Jones' Baby. However, none of them managed to score an actual Oscar nomination; in "Love Me Like You Do"'s case, despite it being the song from the soundtrack to get the Video Full of Film Clips treatment, it was passed over in favor of The Weeknd's much darker "Earned It".
  • The infamous Patch Adams had "Faith of the Heart" by Rod Stewart, three years before it was Covered Up by Russell Watson and became the most polarizing Star Trek theme ever written. (See Star Trek: Enterprise.)

    Live-Action TV 

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    Professional Wrestling 
  • Goldust's theme, true to his film-obsessed gimmick, sounds like an instrumental mashup between an award bait song and a more traditional symphonic score.
  • Shawn Michaels was injured at one point in a real life altercation in which he suffered a concussion in the mid-90s. He collapsed mid-match a few weeks later and when the medical report on why it happened came out, it was revealed that he was suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Apparently the doctors (and for that matter pretty much everyone) Failed a Spot Check, since nobody knew about this at the time, and even Shawn thought he was back to full health at the time. Anyway, it was briefly feared that Shawn would be forced to retire due to the incident both in-universe and out. To really drive home the point that Shawn's career might be in jeopardy, they aired a special tribute video set to an award bait song, "Tell Me a Lie".

    Sports 
  • CBS has "One Shining Moment", which is traditionally played over a final montage at the end of the NCAA basketball tournament. It was originally intended as a closing montage song for Super Bowl XXI, but the broadcast was running too long and it had to be cut for time. A few months later, CBS decided to re-purpose it (with amended lyrics) for the NCAA tournament, where it has been played ever since.
  • CTV had one for its Olympic Games coverage, "I Believe", which was its official "anthem" for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and also used as the basis for its main theme music. The song was used practically everywhere, from commercials, to montages, and of course, the closing ceremonies. It quickly became the Most Annoying Sound for many viewers, especially the ones who wished CBC hadn't had the Olympics swiped from under them like CTV also did with the Hockey Night in Canada theme (CBC did get the Olympics back in 2014, though).

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    Visual Novel 
  • All the Yarudora games have memorable Ending Songs, but the one that fits the trope out them all is "Kisetsu o Dakishimete", from the game of the same name. A love ballad sung by Oto Fumi in 1998, it's the only song in the Yarudora games to have entered the Japanese weekly Oricon charts, reaching the #64 rank and being charted for four weeks.
  • narcissu ~eon~ has all the trappings of one, despite being the theme for the comparatively small-time VN Narcissu 2. Power ballad, check. Sparkly synth, check. Covering a theme of the game itself, check. Being a Tear Jerker song despite the seemingly-hopeful tune, check.

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  • Award Bait Songs were so pervasive that in 2003, the Academy revised the rules. Nominees must be written specifically for the film and occur during the main action or as the first song in the credits. A later revision is that only two songs are eligible per movie (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Dreamgirls, and Enchanted had hogged the categories with three nominations each prior to this; the last two actually lost the category presumably due to vote splitting).
  • In the '90s, a pair of artists and a composer created an internet poll to gauge people's opinions of various musical elements. Then, based on the data gathered, they created "The Most Unwanted Song", filled with the most unpopular elements on the survey, and "The Most Wanted Song", filled with the most popular. The latter is total award bait.
  • The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has had a few, at least one of which was nominated for the Daytime Emmy Award for Original Song:
    • The earliest known award bait song associated with the parade was "It's Thanksgiving Day", which Ed McMahon would sing at the end of the first hour of coverage, at least since 1979 or so. The last time he did it (1981), he sang it with a girl named Kaleena Kiff.
    • The successor to that song was another Milton and Anne DeLugg composition, "Giving Thanks". It was first performed by Mary Jo Catlett (yes, that Mary Jo Catlett) in 1983, and was reprised the next year by John Ratzenberger (yes, that John Ratzengerger). It was also the parade's closing theme for a few years.
    • "A Wonderful Day Like Today", sung by Clifton Davis in 1988, would be a much straighter example if not for it being more upbeat and having a cheesy talk-singing bridge. Like "Giving Thanks", it too was the parade's closing music until 1993.
    • The same with "Santa Claus Adventure" (1997, also known by its lyric "Gotta Go See Santa Claus") by Liz Callaway, minus the A Wild Rapper Appears! bridge (in fact, the song was more Disneylike in feel than "Wonderful Day", helped by Callaway's status as a veteran of Disney and non/Disney animated musicals).
    • "Just Beyond The Dream" (1999), by Lillias White, which was also featured in Macy's 2000 4th of July Fireworks show.
    • "When Hope Was There" (2003), by the USO Troupe of Metropolitan New York and Camp Broadway, written as a tribute to the recently-deceased Bob Hope. It's a bit more upbeat and patriotic than most Award Bait Songs, but it fits into this trope nonetheless.
    • "Free To Dream" (2004), by Deborah Voigt
    • "My Gift Of Thanks" (2005), by Michael Feinstein (who wrote it) and the Highbridge Voices
      • That year's parade also featured the above-mentioned "Remember When", as part of a segment paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of Disney Theme Parks.
    • "Key To This Wonderful City" (2007), by Feinstein and Anika Noni Rose is similar to "When Hope Was There" in that it's more upbeat than all of these examples, but still fits this mold.
    • "I Believe" (2008), by Kermit the Frog and Camp Broadway is one of the more popular examples to come out of the parade. The next parade featured both a Triumphant Reprise of the song and a duet version featuring Kermit and actress Tiffany Thornton. The latter version was also released to iTunes and Radio Disney during the 2009 holiday season.
    • "With You I'm Home" (2009), by Jane Krakowski
      • Cheyenne Jackson's "Play To Win" from the same year would count as well, though it's performed in a swinging Rat Pack crooner style that isn't usually associated with Award Bait Songs.
    • "Yes, Virginia" (2010), by Ann Hampton Calloway is notable since it was inspired by the Macy's-funded TV special of the same name (which, bizarrely enough, aired on a rival network), but did not appear in it (the special debuted one year earlier).
    • For the 2012 parade, Thirza Defoe contributed the Pocahontas-esque anthem "Tree of Life".
    • Pat Benatar's "One Christmas Night" debuted in 2015.


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