“In the first part of the song, it talks about overcoming obstacles in your life or anything in your life you want to succeed at,” reveals Tim McGraw about his song “Gravity” for the new documentary “Free Solo.” In our recent interview (watch the exclusive video above), he adds, “The movie, as the song does, speaks to bigger themes. You can watch this movie and get inspiration for anything you’re doing in your life. That’s what we wanted this song to represent.”
The breathtaking NatGeo film is directed by Elizabeth Chai VasarHelyi and Jimmy Chin as a profile of rock climber Alex Honnold. It shows him in various mountain quests but especially focuses on his lifelong dream of climbing El Capitan. The movie won the People’s Choice Award for documentaries in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.
McGraw and Lori McKenna are the songwriters for “Gravity,” which plays over the end credits for the documentary. When they reached out to him about penning the tune, his immediate reaction was, “I don’t know anything about mountain climbing. I’m scared of heights and not going to climb a mountain. I don’t know if the subject matter has any interest for me. But he said, ‘Let me send it to you and guarantee you’ll be inspired by it.'”
Oscar voters are now receiving a full-fledged campaign for the soaring tune as Best Original Song. McGraw has performed at the Academy Awards before when he substituted for the ailing Glen Campbell on “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from the documentary “I’ll Be Me” (2014). But a nomination would be his first with this group.
The country superstar has won 11 CMA Awards, 14 ACM Awards, 10 American Music Awards and three People’s Choice Awards. He also has prevailed three times at the Grammys for “Let’s Make Love” (2000, with wife Faith Hill), “Live Like You Were Dying” (2005) and “Like We Never Loved at All” (2006, also with Hill). His acting career has included roles in “The Blind Side,” “Friday Night Lights,” “Tomorrowland” and “Four Christmases.”
In our chat we discuss some of his awards history, including the Grammy wins. He also tells the hilarious story of the first big ceremony in his career, which involves complete nudity and country/pop star Dan Seals in the mid-1990s.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.