Awards

Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Randy Newman & More Land Oscar Nominations

Elton John and Bernie Taupin, fresh off their Golden Globe win for best original song for "(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again" from Rocketman (Paramount), were nominated for an Oscar in that category on Monday (Jan. 13). It's John's fourth Oscar nomination; Taupin's first.

If the rousing, life-affirming song wins the Oscar, John would set a new record for the longest span of best original song Oscar winners—26 years. He took the 1994 award for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" from the original The Lion King. The current record for the longest span of winners in this category is held by James Van Heusen, whose wins span 20 years -- from "Swinging on a Star" (1944) through "Call Me Irresponsible" (1963).

In addition, John, 72, would become the second-oldest winner in the history of the category. That distinction is held by Gulzar, who was 74 when he won for writing the lyric to "Jai Ho" from Slumdog Millionaire (2008). Taupin, 69, would become the third-oldest winner in the history of the category.

Here are the four other nominees for best original song:

"I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away" from Toy Story 4 (Disney/Pixar). Written by Randy Newman. Newman has been nominated in this category with a song from each of the first four Toy Story films, an unprecedented accomplishment. He was nominated for "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story (1995) and "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2 (1999) and won for "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3 (2010). This is Newman's 13th nomination in this category. He wrote all 13 songs by himself. He has more nominations without a collaborator than anyone else in Oscar history. He has won twice in the category.

"I'm Standing with You" from Breakthrough (20th Century Fox). Written by Diane Warren. This is Warren's 11th nomination in this category; her fifth in the past six years (which matches her torrid pace from 1996-2001). She has yet to win. She has accumulated more nominations without a win than anyone else in the history of this category. Among female songwriters, she is second only to Marilyn Bergman for most nominations. Bergman has amassed 15 nominations in this category, all shared with her husband, Alan Bergman.

"Into the Unknown" from Frozen II (Disney). Written by Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The Lopezes won in this category Oscar with "Let It Go" from Frozen and "Remember Me" from Coco. They are vying to become just the third songwriting team to win three Oscars in this category. The first two were Jay Livingston & Ray Evans and Sammy Cahn & Van Heusen. Moreover, if this song wins, Anderson-Lopez would become the first woman to win three Oscars in this category. She and Marilyn Bergman are currently tied for the lead among women, with two each. "Into the Unknown" was nominated for a Golden Globe.

"Stand Up" from Harriet (Focus Features). Written by Joshuah Brian Campbell & Cynthia Erivo. Erivo is also nominated for best actress for playing Harriet Tubman in this film. This is the third year in a row that an actor has been nominated for both acting and songwriting in the same year. Mary J. Blige (Mudbound) and Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born) achieved the feat the last two years. Prior to Blige, no one had ever been nominated in both capacities in the same year. If Erivo wins an Oscar in either category, she would become an EGOT -- and not only that, but the youngest EGOT in history. That distinction is currently held by Lopez, who was 39 when he clinched the EGOT in 2014. (John Legend was also 39, but closer to 40, when he clinched the EGOT in 2018.) Erivo, 33, won a Tony, Grammy and Daytime Emmy for her work in and in support of The Color Purple. "Stand Up" was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Beyoncé was passed over for a nomination for "Spirit" from The Lion King, which she co-wrote with Timothy McKenzie & Ilya Salmanzadeh. Beyoncé is a 23-time Grammy winner, an eight-time Emmy nominee. She has never been nominated for an Oscar. "Spirit" was nominated for a Golden Globe and is nominated for a Grammy for best song written for visual media.

Also passed over: "Speechless" from Aladdin (Alan Menken, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul) and "Never Too Late" from The Lion King (John & Rice). Menken is a four-time winner in this category; Pasek and Paul won for "City of Stars" from La La Land. Rice is a three-time winner in this category.

Other songs written or co-written by past nominees in this category who failed to receive nominations this time include: "Da Bronx" from The Bronx, USA (Paul Williams & Charles Fox) and "Letter to My Godfather" from The Black Godfather (co-written by former nominee Pharrell Williams).

Also passed over: "Glasgow" from Wild Rose (Caitlyn Smith, Mary Steenburgen & Kate York) and "Daily Battles" from Motherless Brooklyn (Thom Yorke). This would have been the first Oscar nom for Yorke, a founding member of Radiohead.

Best Original Score

In addition to his nomination for best original song, Randy Newman is nominated for best original score for Marriage Story (Netflix). He's competing with his cousin Thomas Newman, who is nominated for 1917 (Universal). This marks the first time they have competed for a scoring Oscar since 1995, when Randy was nominated for Toy Story and Thomas was nominated for Unstrung Heroes. Both Marriage Story and 1917 were nominated for Golden Globes for best original score.

This is Randy Newman's ninth Oscar nomination in a scoring category. He has yet to win for a score.

This is Thomas Newman's 14th scoring nomination. He has yet to win. This puts him in a tie with Alex North for the most scoring nominations without a competitive win. North amassed 14 scoring nominations from 1951 to 1984. He received an honorary Oscar in 1985 and died in 1991. (If Newman wins when the 92nd annual Academy Awards are presented on Feb. 9 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, North will have the dubious distinction to himself again.)

These three nominations bring the Newman family's tally of Oscar nominations to an astounding 93. The first generation of this venerable musical family consisted of brothers Alfred (43 Oscar nods), Emil (1) and Lionel (11). The second generation consists of Randy (22), David (1) and Thomas (15).

Here are the three other nominees for best original score:

Joker, Hildur Guðnadóttir (Warner Bros). The Icelandic composer is vying to become the third female composer to win in a scoring category, following Rachel Portman, who won for Emma (1996), and Anne Dudley, who won for The Full Monty (1997). In addition, lyricist Marilyn Bergman won for Yentl (1983) in the Original Song Score category, sharing the award with co-lyricist Alan Bergman (her husband) and composer Michel Legrand. The Joker score won a Golden Globe. Hildur also won an Emmy in September for her work on HBO's Chernobyl. She is nominated for a Grammy for best score soundtrack for visual media for Chernobyl.

Little Women, Alexandre Desplat (Sony/Columbia).  This is Desplat's 11th nomination in this category. He won for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) and The Shape of Water (2017). This score was nominated for a Golden Globe.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, John Williams (Disney). This is Williams' 47th nomination in this category, which extends his record. This is his sixth nomination for a film in the Star Wars franchise. In addition, Williams has received five nominations for best original song. His overall total of 52 nominations puts him second among individuals only to Walt Disney, who amassed 59 career nods. Williams has won five scoring Oscars—second only to Alfred Newman, who won nine.

Among scores that were shortlisted in this category but failed to receive a nomination: Avengers: Endgame (Alan Silvestri), Ford v Ferrari (Marco Beltrami), Jojo Rabbit (Michael Giacchino), The King (Nicholas Britell) and Pain and Glory (Alberto Iglesias). All of these composers are past nominees in this category.

Also passed over: Motherless Brooklyn (Daniel Pemberton), Us (Michael Abels) and Frozen II (Christophe Beck).

2020 Academy Awards