The songs in the running for the 2023 Best Original Song Oscar are “Lift Me Up” (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), “This Is a Life” (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), “Naatu Naatu” (“RRR”), “Applause” (“Tell It Like a Woman”), and “Hold My Hand” (“Top Gun: Maverick”). Our current odds show that “Naatu Naatu” (16/5) is favored to win, followed in order by “Lift Me Up” (39/10), “Hold My Hand” (4/1), “This Is a Life” (9/2), and “Applause” (9/2).
Only two of the 12 individual songwriters included on this year’s roster have vied for this prize before, with Lady Gaga (“Hold My Hand”) being the sole past winner. She is seeking a bookend trophy after prevailing in 2019 for writing “Shallow” for “A Star Is Born.” Her first song nomination came in 2016 for “Til It Happens to You” from the documentary “The Hunting Ground.”
Diane Warren, with whom Lady Gaga shared her first Oscar bid, has now achieved her 14th academy notice for writing “Applause.” All 13 of her past bids, beginning with her 1988 one for “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” from “Mannequin,” were all unsuccessful. She has now been nominated in eight of the last nine years, with her most recent loss having been to Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell (“No Time to Die” from the film of the same name) last year.
Warren follows filmmaker Agnès Varda as only the second woman to earn a competitive Oscar bid mere months after receiving an Honorary Academy Award. Varda established this precedent in 2018 as a Best Documentary Feature nominee for “Faces Places,” which was ultimately bested by “Icarus.” Warren was feted at this year’s Governors Awards alongside Euzhan Palcy, Peter Weir, and Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award honoree Michael J. Fox.
The 10 category first-timers in this group are Lady Gaga’s collaborator, BloodPop, “Naatu Naatu” pair Chandrabose and M. M. Keeravani, “This Is a Life” trio David Byrne, Ryan Lott, and Mitski, and “Lift Me Up” quartet Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna, and Tems. Most are general Oscars newcomers, but Coogler is a past producing nominee for “Judas and the Black Messiah” (2021) while Byrne and Göransson are Best Score winners for “The Last Emperor” (1988) and “Black Panther” (2019), respectively.
The songs that won in this category most recently are “No Time to Die” (“No Time to Die,” 2022), “Fight for You” (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” 2021), “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (“Rocketman,” 2020), and “Shallow” (“A Star Is Born,” 2019). This year’s winner will be revealed during the 95th Academy Awards ceremony, airing March 12 on ABC.
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