March 29, 1993 – Aladdin Wins The Academy Award for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, “A Whole New World.”
“With ‘A Whole New World,’ that’s where my whole style took a move into a new place, working with Tim [Rice]. That was also where I gained some confidence that there can be new chapters in my life.” – Alan Menken
The 65th Academy Awards were held on March 29, 1993, in Los Angeles, California. The Disney Studios struck gold again in the categories of Best Original Score and Best Original Song, winning for the animated blockbuster, Aladdin. Alan Menken won for his score for the film, competing against Jerry Goldsmith’s Basic Instinct, John Barry’s Chaplin, Richard Robbins’ Howards End, and Mark Isham’s A River Runs Through It. The song “A Whole New World,” with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Sir Tim Rice, won for Best Original Song, competing against “I Have Nothing” and “Run to You” from The Bodyguard, “Beautiful Maria of My Soul” from The Mambo Kings, and “Friend Like Me,” also from Aladdin.
Aladdin was the idea of the lyricist Howard Ashman, and was one of his last projects before he died in 1991. Unfortunately, many of the elements in the movie were not working in the opinion of the higher ups (including Jeffery Katzenberg), so many of the songs written by Ashman and Menken were cut; fortunately, “Friend Like Me” is one of the songs that not only stayed intact, but was nominated for Best Original Song. Menken feared that once Ashman was gone, his career would be over. It was suggested that he work with lyricist Tim Rice, and the two dove right in, working on the marketplace song (“One Jump Ahead”), and a song for the magic carpet ride (“A Whole New World”). “A Whole New World” was performed by Lea Salonga and Brad Kane in the film, with a pop version released as a single, performed by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle. The song was an immense hit, peaking at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.