20 Greatest Best Song Oscar Performances

From Springsteen to Southern hip-hop and hot-buttered soul, Oscars' grandest, grooviest musical showstoppers

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7. Isaac Hayes, 'Theme from Shaft' (1972)

It starts with a funky-as-hell high-hat and metronomic hip-shaking, and only gets groovier from there — once those interpretive dancers start doing the chicken-walk as the wah-wah pedal riff kicks in, you know there's something brewing right around the corner. Then ... wait, is that Isaac Hayes in a chain-mail shirt, playing the keyboards? Daaaaamn right. The Oscars have never shied away from serious spectacle du Velveeta (remember that Rob Lowe/Snow White debacle?), but this blend of time-capsule showbiz goofiness and hot buttered soul is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. This would have ranked higher were it not lip-synced. DF

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