The 15-track shortlist for the Best Original Song Oscar in 2023, which was released by the Film Academy, showcases both up-and-coming and seasoned talent.
Chart-topping artists Rihanna, Selena Gomez, and Taylor Swift were buzzy first-time entrants to the overall Oscars field. They were honored for their respective contributions to the songs “Lift Me Up,” “My Mind & Me,” and “Carolina” from the movies Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, and Where the Crawdads Sing. (While Swift appeared to be in the running for Best Live-Action Short with “All Too Well,” it was passed up.)
Diane Warren, the 13-time Oscar nominee honored in November with the Film Academy’s Governor’s Award, is back on the list with the song “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman, a Samuel Goldwyn Films anthology marking one of her smaller entries thus far. The 2019 A Star Is Born Oscar winner Lady Gaga, who is this time-honored for the Top Gun: Maverick song “Hold My Hand,” is also there as expected. The Weeknd, who received a 2016 Original Song nomination for “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey, is the third celebrity who is back in the running. He also co-wrote and sang “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water.
Then there is Talking Heads frontman David Byrne, who won an Oscar for his score to the 1987 film The Last Emperor. Today, he received praise for his collaboration with Son Lux and Mitski on “This Is a Life” by Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Rita Wilson (with “Til You’re Home” from A Man Called Otto), who had previously qualified twice, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul from La La Land with the song “Good Afternoon,” and three-time Oscar nominee J. Ralph with “Dust & Ash” from Mandana Biscotti’s documentary The Voice of Dust and Ash about musicians are other artists returning to the shortlist this time around.
Given the low level of familiarity with the first song’s title and the negative reviews the latter received from reviewers and moviegoers, the latter two were likely the least anticipated choices among the songs so far.
The renowned Brooklyn rock band LCD Sound system and its song “New Body Rhumba” from White Noise, Chandrabose, and “Naatu Naatu” from S.S. Rajamouli’s popular action-drama RRR, which was just nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Non-English Language Film and Original Song, and Jazmine Sullivan and “Stand Up” from Chinonye Chukwu’s civil rights drama Till are other contenders.
The eligibility of 81 songs for the Oscars was announced earlier this month. Notable omissions were Billie Eilish and Finneas, who composed “Nobody Like U” and other songs for Disney/Turning Pixar’s Red, as well as Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who wrote the score and song “(You Made It Feel Like) Home” for Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All.
When everything is revealed on January 24, there will only be five songs listed as nominees. On March 12, the Dolby Theater will host the 95th annual Academy Awards ceremony.
MUSIC (ORIGINAL SONG)
“Time” from “Amsterdam”
“Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from “Avatar: The Way of Water”
“Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
“This Is A Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once”
“Ciao Papa” from “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
“Til You’re Home” from “A Man Called Otto”
“Naatu Naatu” from “RRR”
“My Mind & Me” from “Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me”
“Good Afternoon” from “Spirited”
“Applause” from “Tell It like a Woman”
“Stand Up” from “Till”
“Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick”
“Dust & Ash” from “The Voice of Dust and Ash”
“Carolina” from “Where the Crawdads Sing”
“New Body Rhumba” from “White Noise”