After much back and forth, The Academy decided a few days ago that all the five nominees for the Best Original Song will perform at the ceremony on February 24. Muddled in controversy, without a host, this at least guarantees some fun to the audience who will tune in from around the world. The Academy seems to be focused on delivering a show that finishes in three hours and while there was some debate if all the nominees will get a chance to put up their work on the stage, the announcement declaring the performances has come like a silver lining to this edition of the Oscars.
The nominations for Best Original Song this year include Black Panther’s “All The Stars”, A Star is Born’s “Shallow”, Mary Poppins Returns’ “The Place Where Lost Things Go”, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” and RBG’s “I’ll Fight”.
It’s rare to find a set of nominations where all almost the tracks stand strong and there’s no clear winner. For instance, in 2017, it was almost obvious that La La Land’s “City Of Stars” would take home the trophy even though it competed against the “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana.
The collection of this year’s songs are as diverse as they could be but a song that could be described as a phenomenon from the past year would be “All The Stars” from Black Panther and this certainly sounds like a front runner in the category.
With music by Mark Spears, Kendrick Lamar Duckworth and Anthony Tiffith and lyrics by Kendrick Lamar Duckworth, Anthony Tiffith and Solána Rowe, “All The Stars” became an earworm instantly and continues to stay so. Black Panther’s nomination at the Oscars is not just a testament to the brilliant filmmaking, but also a nod to the strong cultural impact the film had on the rest of the world and “All The Stars” definitely plays a big role in the same.
Coming back to the song, this is certainly one of Kendrick Lamar’s best and has hence landed him his first nomination at the Oscars. The lyrics of the song, much like Lamar’s other work, is a strong piece of social commentary. “You can bring a bullet, bring a sword, bring a morgue, but you can’t bring the truth to me,” is one such example.
While “All The Stars” looks like a promising front runner, A Star Is Born’s “Shallow” is not something one can ignore. In millennial speak, ‘this one hits right in the feels’. Even though A Star Is Born has seen various remakes, the music in this one has a lasting quality. As far as “Shallow” is concerned, Bradley Cooper drives you towards an emotional space and then Lady Gaga just swoops in to take it to the next level. The lyric writing here by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt is simply impeccable.
Mary Poppins Returns’ “The Place Where Lost Things Go” was a tough act. Mainly because Emily Blunt had to step into Julie Andrew’s shoes but her performance in this track did not just mesmerise the three kids on screen, it captivated the audience as well. The calmness that this track brings with lyrics (by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman) “Nothing’s gone forever, only out of place”, provides the kind of reassurance that we want to seek from the fantasy world of the movies.
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs’ “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” with music and lyrics by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch and RBG’s “I’ll Fight” with music and lyrics by Diane Warren, performed by Jennifer Hudson, are also valid contenders.
It is being said that the performances at the ceremony will be just 90-second versions of the original songs but nonetheless, these are expected to be the highlight of the evening.
Who do you think will win the Best Original Song at Oscars 2019?