Best: "Theme from 'Shaft'" ('Shaft,' 1971)
We could talk about how director Gordon Parks and star Richard Roundtree created a blaxploitation breakthrough with their gritty action classic. We could talk about Isaac Hayes as one of the founding fathers of funk, and how he didn't need to water down his sound a single drop to score this Oscar. We could talk about that incredible instrumental intro, with drummer Willie Hall's nervous-tic hi-hat rhythm and guitarist Charles Pitts's gobsmacking wah-wah riff. We could talk about the lyrics, chronicling the black private dick that's a sex machine to all the chicks, a bad mother-shut-your-mouth, a complicated man who no one understands but his woman, etc. We could talk about how this is one of the best Best Song winners of all time. But since you probably clicked away to crank up the song itself by now, who'd listen?