With awards season in full swing, Hollywood is looking ahead to the 95th Academy Awards. On Wednesday, the shortlist of possible nominees in several categories was announced and we were thrilled to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever find its way onto some of those lists. The Marvel Studios blockbuster has a realistic chance to receive Oscar nominations in Makeup and Hairstyling, Visual Effects, Original Score and Original Song.
If you’ve seen the film, then you know how heartbreaking and perfect Rihanna’s “Life Me Up” is when it starts playing. The lyrics and tone of the song fit the themes of the film and are so much more than just something to hear while the credits roll. However, before we grace Rih with another trophy, we need to talk about the star-studded competition she could face.
While there are 10 songs on the shortlist, that number will eventually land at five or six when the final nominees are announced. Though the Best Original Song award goes to the songwriters, from the academy’s perspective it’s really about the performer. This is the category they use to ramp up the ratings and get eyes on the show. So in addition to Rihanna, you can expect to possibly see Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and The Weeknd on the Oscar stage. Trying to play spoiler are academy favorites Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, who wrote “Good Afternoon” from the AppleTV+ update of A Christmas Carol, Spirited, and 13-time Oscar-nominee Diane Warren, who wrote “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman.
All of these songs are very good, they wouldn’t be recognized if they weren’t. However, the best winners in this category are songs that stand out within the confines of the movie and enhance the story of the film. No other song does that in the emotionally beautiful way that “Lift Me Up” does.
I understand that the academy has to nominate Taylor Swift because she can’t possibly be left out, but if I’m being honest, there’s nothing special about “Carolina.” It sounds like every other song of hers and doesn’t feel like it has a special connection to Where the Crawdads Sing. And just to be clear to the Swifties, I’m not knocking Taylor. I’m saying in the context of this category, there are better choices.
We’ll find out the final results when nominations for the 95th Academy Awards are announced on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The Oscars, once again hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, air Sunday, March 12 on ABC.
Oscars Shortlist for Best Original Song:
- “Time” from Amsterdam Performed by Givēon
- “Nothing is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water Performed by The Weeknd
- “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Performed by Rihanna
- “This is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once Performed by Son Lux
- “Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio Performed by Gregory Mann
- “Til You’re Home” from A Man Called Otto Performed by Rita Wilson and Sebastián Yatra
- “Naatu Naatu” from RRR Performed by Rahul Sipligunj, Kala Bhairava, M. M. Keeravani
- “My Mind & Me” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me Performed by Selena Gomez
- “Good Afternoon” from Spirited Performed by Ryan Reynolds and the cast of Spirited
- “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman Performed by Sofia Carson
- “Stand Up” from Till Performed by Jazmine Sullivan
- “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick Performed by Lady Gaga
- “Dust & Ash” from The Voice of Dust and Ash Performed by J. Ralph & Norah Jones featuring Mojgan Shajarian
- “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing Performed by Taylor Swift
- “New Body Rhumba” from White Noise Performed by LCD Soundsystem