Three of the biggest female music stars on the planet – Rihanna, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga – were shortlisted for Oscars for best original song on Wednesday (Dec. 21), for “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing, and “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, respectively.
The three stars had previously been nominated for Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards in the same category for the same songs. These would be the first Oscar nominations for Rihanna and Swift; the fourth for Gaga, who was previously nominated in this category for “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground (2015) and “Shallow” from A Star Is Born (2018), which won the award. She was also nominated for best actress for the latter film. “Take My Breath Away” from the original Top Gun won the 1986 award in this category.
The Weeknd was shortlisted for co-writing “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water. This could bring The Weeknd his second Oscar nomination. He was nominated seven years ago for co-writing “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey.
Drake could be headed for his first Oscar nomination with “Time,” which he co-wrote for the film Amsterdam. Depending on how the nominations shake out, the 2023 Oscar telecast could be as studded with top pop hitmakers as this year’s broadcast was when Beyoncé opened the show with “Be Alive,” Megan Thee Stallion guested on “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and Billie Eilish performed “No Time to Die.”
Two of the shortlisted songs were co-written by the directors of the films that spawned the songs. Ryan Coogler, the director of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, is among the co-writers of “Lift Me Up.” Guillermo del Toro, who co-directed Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio with Mark Gustafson, is among the co-writers of “Ciao Papa.”
Diane Warren was shortlisted with “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman. With this song, Warren vies for her 14th nomination in the category. She would be the first songwriter or songwriting team to be nominated six years running since Marilyn & Alan Bergman’s 1968-1973 streak. Warren received a Governors Award from the Academy on Nov. 19.
Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II was shortlisted for co-writing “Stand Up” from Till with Jazmine Sullivan. D’Mile won in this category two years ago with “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah. Should he win again, he’d become the first Black songwriter to win twice in this category.
Three of the shortlisted songs — “My Mind & Me” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, “Good Afternoon” from Spirited and “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water — have five or more credited songwriters. If any of these songs wins the Oscar, the songwriters would receive a single statuette, which they would have to share. The Academy will present no more than four Oscar statuettes for best original song.
A total of 81 songs were eligible in this category. Members of the music branch will vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees.
Here’s a complete list of the 15 songs that were shortlisted for best original song. Per Academy custom, they are listed alphabetically by film title:
Drake, Giveon Evans, Jahaan Akil Sweet, Daniel Pemberton
Amsterdam, 20th Century Studios
“Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)”
The Weeknd, Steve Angello Josefsson, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axel Hedfords, Simon Franglen
Avatar: The Way of Water, 20th Century Studios
“Lift Me Up”
Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson, Rhianna, Tems
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Marvel Studios
“This Is a Life”
David Byrne, Ryan Lott, Mitski
Everything Everywhere All at Once, A24
Alexandre Desplat, Roeban Katz, Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Netflix
“Til You’re Home”
A Man Called Otto, Sony Pictures
Kala Bhairava, M. M. Keeravani, Rahul Sipligunj
RRR, Variance Films
“My Mind & Me”
Amy Allen, Jonathan Bellion, Selena Gomez, Jordan K Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Michael Pollack
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, Apple Original Films
Khiyon Hursey, Sukari Jones, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Mark Sonnenblick
Spirited, Apple Originals
Tell It Like a Woman, Samuel Goldwyn Films
Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II, Jazmine Sullivan
Till, Orion/United Artists Releasing
“Hold My Hand”
BloodPop (Michael Tucker), Lady Gaga
Top Gun: Maverick, Paramount Pictures
“Dust & Ash”
The Voice of Dust and Ash, Matilda Productions
Where the Crawdads Sing, Sony Pictures
“New Body Rhumba”
Pat Mahoney, James Murphy, Nancy Whang
White Noise, Netflix
Inevitably, several high-profile songs were passed over for the shortlist. Among them: “Love Is Not Love” (Marc Shaiman, Billy Eichner) from Bros; “(You Made It Feel Like) Home” (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross) fromBones and All; “Not Alone” (Joe Jonas, Ryan Tedder, HARV, Khalid)from Devotion; “Turn Up the Sunshine” (Jack Antonoff, Patrik Berger, Sam Dew, Kevin Parker)from Minions: The Rise of Gru; “Ready As I’ll Ever Be” (Brandi Carlile, Tanya Tucker)fromThe Return of Tanya Tucker featuring Brandi Carlile; “I Ain’t Worried” (Ryan Tedder, Brent Kutzle, Tyler Spry, John Eriksson) from Top Gun: Maverick; and “Nobody Like U” (Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell) from Turning Red. Eilish and Finneas are the reigning champs in the category for co-writing the title song from No Time to Die.
“Vegas,” the biggest hit from Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, had previously been ruled ineligible because it borrows so heavily from “Hound Dog,” the 1950s classic co-written by Mike Stoller and the late Jerry Leiber.No one expected to see Leiber and Stoller shortlisted, but the song’s proponents hoped the song’s other writers – Doja Cat, Rogét Chahayed and Yeti Beats – would be honored.
Nominations for the 95th Oscars will be announced on Tuesday Jan. 24, 2023. The telecast, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will take place on Sunday, March 12, 2023, airing live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood.