×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Oscar Music Shortlists Arrive, Pitting Thom Yorke Against Gaga and Dolly, With Double Shots for ‘Mary Poppins’ Tunes

The Academy music branch returned to the “shortlist” concept for the first time in nearly 40 years, and for the most part, it seems to have worked. The 15 scores and 15 songs chosen by the composers, songwriters and music editors — from which the final five in each category will be selected — in large part align with the choices of most observers and pundits.

The preliminary songs list allows for an eclectic assortment of singer-songwriters from the pop, rock, country, R&B and hip-hop worlds, including Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, Dolly Parton and Troye Sivan — all of whom were already nominated for a Golden Globe this month — along with Thom Yorke, Sade, Gillian Welch and the Coup.

In the score category, all five Golden Globe nominees were cited among the top 15: Ludwig Goransson for “Black Panther,” Marco Beltrami for “A Quiet Place,” two-time Oscar winner Alexandre Desplat for “Isle of Dogs,” Marc Shaiman for “Mary Poppins Returns” and another two-time winner, “La La Land’s” Justin Hurwitz, for “First Man.”

“Shallow,” the Lady Gaga song from “A Star Is Born,” remains a frontrunner — and it won’t be competing against any other numbers from the movie, since Warner Bros. chose to enter only one song. That’s in contrast to Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” which entered two from the songwriting team of Shaiman and Scott Wittman and achieved spots on the shortlist for both: “The Place Where Lost Things Go” and “Trip a Little Light Fantastic,” which are big numbers for Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, respectively.

Neither of the “Mary Poppins” numbers had picked up a Golden Globe nomination this month, to the shock of many. But the surprises run both ways. One song that got a Globe nomination failed to even make the shortlist for the Oscars: the theme for “A Private War,” from previous Oscar winner Annie Lennox.

The other four Globe song nominees — Gaga’s “Shallow,” Lamar’s “All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” the Sivan-Jonsi collaboration “Revelation” from “Boy Erased” and Parton’s “Girl in the Movies” from “Dumplin'” — all made the preliminary Oscar list, as predicted.

Nine-time nominee Diane Warren has a shot at being up for a 10th nomination, since her Jennifer Hudson-sung “I’ll Fight,” from the documentary “RBG,” made the shortlist. However, the other song from a Ruth Bader Ginsburg-related movie, Kesha’s theme for “On the Basis of Sex,” did not make the top 15.

Among the longer shots that made it through this round: song nominations for Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, for “Suspirium,” from the supernatural horror fantasy “Suspiria”; the amusing faux-folk song “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from the Coen Bros.’ “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” written by Americana favorites Gillian Welch and David Rawlings; the Sampha song from “Beautiful Boy,” “Treasure”; Arlissa’s “We Won’t Move” from “The Hate U Give”; Sade’s “The Big Unknown” from “Widows”; and, on the notably edgier side, “OYAHYTT” by the Coup from “Sorry to Bother You.”

Eighty-five-year-old Quincy Jones earned a spot, too, for “Keep Reachin’,” which he co-wrote and produced with Mark Ronson and Chaka Khan for the documentary on his life, “Quincy.” And another Disney song rounds out the top 15: “A Place Called Slaughter Race,” by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken, from “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”

Among scores, the biggest surprise was the inclusion of the music for the science-fiction-horror film “Annihilation,” a collaboration between Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and British film composer Ben Salisbury. Less surprising to careful observers was the political satire “The Death of Stalin,” whose Russian-flavored score by Chris Willis has been the talk of musicians for months.

Two Marvel movies made the cut, one highly expected — “Black Panther” — and one less so, “Avengers: Infinity War,” by Alan Silvestri. Silvestri, a well-respected veteran (“Forrest Gump,” “Back to the Future”), took a second slot for his music for Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.”

Nicholas Britell (“Moonlight”) also managed two nods, for the much-lauded “If Beale Street Could Talk” and the still-to-be-released “Vice.” Brian Tyler, who tends to do popular commercial films but is regularly passed over for awards, earned a spot on the list with his music for “Crazy Rich Asians.”

Rounding out the list are Carter Burwell for “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” Terence Blanchard for “BlacKkKlansman” and James Newton Howard for “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”

Any headlines about inclusivity among score contenders will have to wait for another year. While 16 of the 156 qualifying scores were written by women (including “The Wife” by Jocelyn Pook,” “Eighth Grade” by Anna Meredith and “Tag” by Germaine Franco), none made the final list. The only hint of diversity was the presence of African-American composer Terence Blanchard.

More Film

  • 'Shazam!' Review: Zachary Levi is Pure

    Film Review: 'Shazam!'

    In “Shazam!,” Zachary Levi brings off something so winning it’s irresistible. He plays a square-jawed, rippling-muscled man of might, with a cheesy Day-Glo lighting bolt affixed to his chest, who projects an insanely wholesome and old-fashioned idea of what a superhero can be. But he’s also playing a breathless teenage kid on the inside, and [...]

  • WGA Agents Contract Tug of War

    Showrunners, Screenwriters Back WGA in Agency Battle, Sides to Meet Again Tuesday

    More than 750 showrunners and screenwriters have backed the WGA’s battle against talent agencies taking packaging fees and other changes to the rules governing the business relationship between agents and writers. The letter of support issued Saturday is significant because of the immense clout showrunners and prominent screenwriters possess in Hollywood. Several showrunners had recently [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Box Office: 'Us' on Track for Second-Highest Debut of 2019 With $67 Million

    Jordan Peele’s “Us” is on its way to scaring up one of the biggest debuts of 2019, with an estimated $67 million from 3,741 North American locations. Should estimates hold, “Us” will be able to claim several milestones: the highest debut for an original horror movie (the biggest launch for any horror pic goes to [...]

  • NF_D_JGN-D6-2160.cr2

    Film Review: 'The Dirt'

    A long time ago, the words sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll carried a hint of danger. The lifestyle did, too, but I’m talking about the phrase. It used to sound cool (back around the time the word “cool” sounded cool). But sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll has long since passed into the realm [...]

  • James Newton Howard Danny Elfman

    New Trend in Concert Halls: Original Music by Movie Composers — No Film Required

    Movie and TV composers are in greater demand than ever for, surprisingly, new music for the concert hall. For decades, concert commissions for film composers were few and far between. The increasing popularity of John Williams’ film music, and his visibility as conductor of the Boston Pops in the 1980s and ’90s, led to his [...]

  • Idris Elba Netflix 'Turn Up Charlie'

    Idris Elba in Talks to Join Andy Serkis in 'Mouse Guard'

    Idris Elba is in negotiations to join Andy Serkis and Thomas Brodie-Sangster in Fox’s fantasy-action movie “Mouse Guard” with “Maze Runner’s” Wes Ball directing. Fox is planning a live-action movie through performance capture technology employed in the “Planet of the Apes” films, in which Serkis starred as the ape leader Caesar. David Peterson created, wrote, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content