Not to be outdone by Original Score, Original Song should also feature a wealth of previous winners, an all-time nominee as well as at least one brave new choice that is gaining steam. Previous winners Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish and Finneas just competed against each other at the Grammys last year (and in 2020) and could again here at the Oscars as they each might have songs in the running when the shortlist lands.
For Gaga, she has the main theme “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick (and let’s not forget she’ll also be in the running for score here). Despite the song being a surprising flop on the charts, peaking at #49 on the Billboard Hot 100, as a previous winner and in a film of such massive success, she should be safe for a nomination. For Eilish and Finneas, they could be back after just winning last year with “Nobody Like U,” from Turning Red. Disney and Pixar films do well here and there’s no reason to discount their chances.
Diane Warren. 13 nominations. That’s all.
There’s a groundswell beginning to swirl around the hugely popular Indian film RRR. A favorite among critics and audiences, the moment S. S. Rajamouli’s epic action drama wasn’t selected by India to represent it for International Feature Film, the grassroots awards campaign kicked in and it begins with the original song “Naatu Naatu.” Who doesn’t want to see that number performed at the Oscars?
Eligibility will be interesting here as “Vegas” from Elvis by Doja Cat and “I Ain’t Worried” from Top Gun: Maverick by OneRepublic both feature samples of previous songs, in two different degrees. Samples are a big no-no with the music branch and I think “Vegas” might eke by but the OneRepublic song is a significant lift from Peter Bjorn and John’s 2006 hit single “Young Folks” and it’s hard to see the branch looking the other way. But with Lady Gaga already there there’s no reason to.
Here are my 2023 Oscar predictions in Original Song for October.
1. Top Gun: Maverick – “Hold My Hand” (Paramount Pictures)
2. RRR – “Naatu Naatu” (Variance Films)
3. Till – “Stand Up” (UAR/Orion Pictures)
4. Turning Red – “Nobody Like U” (Walt Disney/Pixar)
5. Tell It Like a Woman – “Applause” (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
6. Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio – “Ciao Papa” (Netflix)
7. The Woman King – “Keep Rising” (Sony/Tri-Star)
8. Where the Crawdads Sing – “Carolina” (Columbia Pictures)
9. Everything Everywhere All At Once – “This is a Life” (A24)
10. The Automat – “At the Automat” (A Slice of Pie Productions)
Other contenders (alphabetical)
The Bad Guys – “Good Tonight” (Dreamworks/Universal Pictures)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – “TBD” (Walt Disney/Marvel)
The Bob Burgers Movie – “Lucky You” (20th Century Studios)
Bodies Bodies Bodies – “Alice” (A24)
Bones & All – “(You Made Me Feel Like) Home” (MGM/UAR)
Bros – “Love Is Not Love” (Universal Pictures)
Devotion – “Not Alone” (Sony Pictures)
Elvis – “Vegas” (Warner Bros)
A Jazzman’s Blues – “Paper Airplanes” (Netflix)
Let it Be Me – “Feels Like Me” (Greenwich Entertainment)
Lyle Lyle Crocodile – “Heartbeat” (Sony Pictures)
Marry Me – “On My Way (Marry Me)” (Universal Pictures)
Minions: Rise of Gru – “Turn Up the Sunshine” (Universal Pictures)
Top Gun: Maverick – “I Ain’t Worried” (Paramount Pictures)
White Noise – “New Body Rhumba” (Netflix)
Avatar: The Way of Water – “TBD” (20th Century Studios)
Babylon – “TBD” (Paramount Pictures)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody – “TBD” (Columbia Pictures)
Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me – “TBD” (Apple Original Films)
Wendell & Wild – “TBD” (Netflix)