Who Will Win? Handicapping the 2019 Oscar Best Song Shortlist
The Best Original Song category at the Oscars is one that can be a real feast or famine depending on the year, and 2018 was looking like a Lady Gaga-centric buffet, thanks to her juggernaut soundtrack for A Star Is Born. It had been heavily favored to score the maximum TWO nominations per film limit when the five nominations are announced on Tuesday, January 22nd. But surprisingly, only one song from the film, “Shallow,” made the pared down shortlist of 15 songs on Monday. Interesting side note – Netflix has songs from three of its films on this shortlist.
The Reelness has scoured over the shortlist and here are our predictions for for those likely to score (see what we did there?!) one of the coveted five nominations next month as well as the next five that could upset and score a coveted date with Oscar, and the five that frankly should be glad just to have made it this far.
“Shallow,” Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper – A Star Is Born
“Shallow” is THE clear favorite to score a nomination AND the win, especially now that it will be the only song from A Star Is Born in the running.
“All The Stars,” Kendrick Lamar & SZA – Black Panther
Kendrick Lamar & SZA’s catchy hit from the blockbuster Black Panther is Gaga’s strongest competition, and virtually a shoo-in to score a nomination as well.
Revelation/Troye Siwan & Jónsi – Boy Erased
Pop star Troye Siwan’s collaboration with Icelandic singer Jónsi for Boy Erased is a haunting one. Expect to see them at the big event.
“Girl in the Movies,” Dolly Parton – Dumplin’
Dolly Parton co-wrote several new songs, and had a slew of her old ones featured in this winsome Netflix dramedy about beauty pageants, unconventional contestants and mother-daughter relationships. Just because it’s Dolly, expect to see her on Oscar night.
“The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns
Here is where the field gets a bit more murky. Mary Poppins Returns is the only film to have two entries shortlisted this year. This one, sung by Emily Blunt, looks to be the slightly stronger of the two, but it’s just as likely that both could cancel each other out in the voting and get passed by others “on the bubble.”
THOSE ON THE BUBBLE:
“The Big Unknown,” Sade – Widows
The female crime drama starring Viola Davis fizzled at the box office, but Sade’s song is still a very deserving one, and her name recognition and hypnotic melodies could help this dark horse score a nomination.
“Suspirium,” Thom Yorke – Suspiria
This haunting tune from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is perfectly fitting for the equally intense drama and would be a very edgy addition to the Oscar field. C’mon Oscar, be cool!
“OYAHYTT,” The Coup featuring Lakeith Stanfield- Sorry to Bother You
This high energy song, by the politically-charged Oakland, California hip hop band The Coup, features Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta), the star of the absurdist sci-fi comedy Sorry to Bother You, dropping a verse. It is great fun.
“We Won’t Move,” Arlissa – The Hate U Give
British-based singer-songwriter Arlissa’s soulful rendition of “We Won’t Move” from The Hate U Give is a strong one, but so many better known performers above will make it tough for this song to move into a nomination.
“Trip A Little Light Fantastic,” Lin-Manuel Miranda & Emily Blunt – Mary Poppins Returns
Lin-Manuel Miranda leads the other song from Mary Poppins Returns on the Oscar shortlist. It’s very Broadway-like, which lends itself better to a live Oscar performance than enthusiasm from voting Academy members.
WE’RE JUST GLAD TO BE HERE:
“I’ll Fight,” Jennifer Hudson – RBG
Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) sings this pleasant but not particularly remarkable Diane Warren-penned tune from the outstanding shortlisted documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“Treasure,” Sampha – Beautiful Boy
British singer/songwriter Sampha sings this edgy, piano-laden tune from the Steve Carell/Timothée Chalamet drama about a family coping with their son’s drug addiction.
“A Place Called Slaughter Race,” Sarah Silverman & Gal Gadot – Ralph Breaks the Internet
OK, this could be the most surreal Oscar moment IF Sarah Silverman and Gal Gadot were actually to sing this duet from the super cute sequel to Wreck It Ralph live onstage. Won’t happen.
“When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” Willie Watson & Tim Blake Nelson – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
This catchy cowboy tune from the first (and best) vignette in the Coen brothers Western anthology now on Netflix is pleasant but Tim Blake Nelson’s other song, the hysterical “Little Joe The Wrangler” should be the one on this list.
“Keep Reachin’,” Quincy Jones, Mark Ronson and Chaka Khan – Quincy
This tune from the Netflix documentary about iconic music producer Quincy Jones has a catchy, retro vibe, but its shortlisting is likely more of a courtesy nod/tribute to Jones’ storied career.
Which song is your pick to win the Best Song Oscar? Leave your comments below. Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday, January 22, 2019.
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