Oscar Winner Was Living in His Van Four Years Ago

 Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Ryan Bingham won a best original song Oscar Sunday night for Crazy Heart, but he wasn't always so successful.

"Me and my band were basically living in our van a year ago," Bingham, 28, told reporters backstage after winning the award.

See what the stars wore to the Oscars!

He explained that the drama's screenwriter gave him a copy of the script and told him, "Man, if you're inspired to write anything…." Bingham says. "Then I hooked up with [co-writer] T-Bone [Burnett], and here we are." (Burnett didn't do interviews after the award because he "wasn't feeling well," Bingham says.)

"The Weary Heart" was originally sung by Colin Farrell in his Irish accent before being re-recorded for the film, Bingham says. "I thought we'd have an Irish country singer!" he says. "He had an amazing voice."

See photos of stars' first time at the Oscars!

Bingham admits it'll be hard to write another award-winning song since he's been happily wed since last August.

"I'm happier than I've ever been in my life… it's tough to write sad songs when you're around such good people," he says. "[But] a lot of that stuff from my past is still there."

See the worst dressed stars at the Oscars of all time!

"The Weary Heart" was up against tunes from Nine, The Princess and the Frog and Paris 36.

Jeff Bridges won best actor for Crazy Heart, and Maggie Gyllenhaal was nominated for best supporting actress.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!