×

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

  • The Lion King Box Office

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Rules With $185 Million Debut

    Simba and Mufasa reigned supreme this weekend as Disney’s “The Lion King” dominated box office charts. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the animated classic collected a massive $185 million from 4,756 North American theaters during its first three day of release. The movie landed the best domestic launch for a PG film and set a [...]

  • Creative-Producers-Indaba-Cover-Image-1920x1080-px-2

    Realness, EAVE, IFFR, Sundance Launch African Producers Network

    DURBAN–South Africa’s Realness Institute, EAVE, the Intl. Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Sundance Institute are joining forces to create the Creative Producers Indaba, a professional training program designed to support emerging African producers. Inspired by initiatives such as the EAVE Producers Workshop and Sundance’s Creative Producing, the program will bring together 15 participants to develop [...]

  • BOTM-Eve-Viper-Gang

    Director Angus Gibson: My Audience is ‘Young, Black South Africans’

    DURBAN–Sophiatown, 1958. On the outskirts of Johannesburg, as the apartheid police prepare to demolish the community at the heart of black South African cultural and intellectual life, a notorious gang leader is determined to make a last stand. Resisting the forced evictions that will transport the residents of Sophiatown to a desolate township miles away, [...]

  • marvel

    Marvel Phase 4 Plan Revealed, But Comic-Con’s Big Winner is Disney Plus

    In a triumphant return to the San Diego Comic-Con main stage, leadership at Marvel Studios managed some splashy surprises and showed off risky creative bets for the next two years of content coming from the superhero operation. But the biggest takeaway from the Saturday presentation inside Hall H was how important Marvel will make Disney [...]

  • Florence Pugh, O. T. Fagbenle, Rachel

    'Black Widow': Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh Go Head-to-Head in First Footage

    Marvel’s “Black Widow” has only been in production for a month, but studio president Kevin Feige still delivered the goods for fans at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Filmmakers brought an intense sizzle reel of on-location shots, kicked off by a dazzling and bone-crushing fight sequence between lead Scarlett Johansson and her on-screen sister Florence [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor

    Natalie Portman Returns for 'Thor: Love and Thunder' as Female Thor

    Natalie Portman is coming back to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she’s no one’s love interest this time around. The Oscar winner will play a female god of thunder in the fourth film from the Chris Hemsworth series, titled “Thor: Love and Thunder.” Portman hit the stage at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday to great [...]

  • Fantastic Four

    New 'Fantastic Four' Movie in Development at Marvel

    Marvel is going back to the Fantastic Four. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige announced that a new movie based on the superhero group is in the works at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. Further details, however, including a release date, were not revealed. It marks the first Fox property for Disney to mine since the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content