The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will reveal its five Best Original Song nominees from the 15-song shortlist below on January 24th, so we figured it would be fun to handicap the songs into three categories – the likely nominees, the possible surprises and the longshots.
If our predictions are correct, and if all of the nominated recording artists perform Oscar night, it could be quite the lineup. Clicking on the movie titles and hyperlinks in gold will take you to our reviews.
Arguably the biggest hit of the shortlist, Lady Gaga’s rousing song from summer blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick (one of our 10 Best Movies of 2022) is all but assured of a nomination. If it wins, it will be Gaga’s second Best Original Song Oscar, after “Shallow” from 2018’s A Star Is Born.
And then there is YET ANOTHER pop megastar, Taylor Swift, whose own popularity, along with that of romantic drama Where the Crawdads Sing (which also made our 10 Best Movies of 2022 list) should all but guarantee that this, too, will be one of the five nominees.
Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava – “Naatu Naatu” (RRR)
With recent Critics Choice and Golden Globe wins, this tune showcasing phenomenal dance moves from RRR stars N.T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan is now looking like a shoo-in for at least a nomination. Could this song from India’s most expensive epic action blockbuster ever made ($72 million) actually win? If it scores a nomination, it’s looking increasingly likely. One interesting side note: this video was filmed at Ukraine’s Mariinskyi Palace in Kyiv just months before Russia’s invasion of the country.
And with Guillermo del Toro’s visually stunning stop-motion animation film all but assured of earning him another Oscar win, this time for Best Animated Film, this sweet song should slide into the fifth spot.
Just based on the popularity of Oscar-winner James Cameron’s sequel to the biggest blockbuster of all time, this tune from The Weeknd is the one with the greatest shot at ousting one of the five songs above.
Rita Wilson, Sebastian Yatra – “Til You’re Home” (A Man Called Otto)
Just the fact that this tune is performed by Rita Wilson, the wife of America’s Dad, Tom Hanks, should give this song at least a bit of a nudge, although the film, an American remake of the sweet, Oscar-nominated A Man Called Ove, is only now hitting theaters across the country – a bit late to get the momentum needed to earn it a nomination.
From Till, yet another of our 10 Best Movies of 2022, this song from Jazmine Sullivan is THE social justice song of the shortlist, which on its own should give it a boost. The question is whether it will be enough to make it to the five.
Even with Everything Everywhere All at Once‘s popularity and with Talking Heads frontman and Oscar-winning composer David Byrne (The Last Emperor) participating, this song lacks the oomph needed to make it to the top tier.
Amsterdam‘s lackluster performance at the box office will likely squelch any chances of this song from American singer/songwriter Giveon from getting nominated.
Sofia Carlson and Diane Warren – “Applause” (Tell It Like a Woman)
In late 2022, Warren became the first songwriter to receive a lifetime achievement Oscar after being the Susan Lucci of Oscar’s Best Original Song category, with a whopping 13 nominations and zero category wins. This song, which sounds more like something from a group that failed to make the semifinals at the Eurovision Song Contest, is unlikely to net another nomination.
Norah Jones and J. Ralph – “Dust & Ash” (The Voice of Dust and Ash)
Norah Jones’ street cred is unlikely to elevate this song from The Voice of Dust and Ash from being lost in the shuffle.
LCD Soundsystem – “New Body Rhumba” from (White Noise)
This LCD Soundsystem closing credits song from Netflix’s White Noise is quirky and cute, but not enough of a standout to land a nomination.
Selena Gomez – “My Mind & Me” (Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me)
With so many pop superstars already crowding the field, it is doubtful Gomez’s popularity will be enough to make this one stick.
Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds – “Good Afternoon” (Spirited)