With the delayed release of “No Time to Die,” the 25th film of the James Bond franchise, an avalanche of changes and shifts have occurred within the industry. In the realm of awards prognostication, the Billie Eilish song was considered one of the favorites in the best original song category.
With the 18-year-old music sensation out of the running now, possible contenders in the category are still emerging, with no real frontrunner as yet. Netflix’s animated feature “Over the Moon” offers a formidable contender with “Rocket to the Moon.” Sung by newcomer Cathy Ang, and written by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield and Helen Park, the song could net the streamer its third nomination in this category. Netflix scored with “Mighty River” from 2017’s “Mudbound” (Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq & Taura Stinson) and “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from 2018’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (David Rawlings and Gillian Welch). Blige was the first person to be nominated for both acting and song for her work in the film. She will be submitting again this year with “See What You’ve Done” from the documentary “Belly of the Beast,” along with co-writers Darhyl Camper, Jr., Denisia Andrews and Brittany Coney.
Leslie Odom, Jr. hopes to follow in Blige’s footsteps with “Speak Now” from Regina King’s “One Night in Miami” from Amazon Studios. Along with co-writer Sam Ashworth, Odom Jr. has had an outstanding year along with his work in Disney Plus’ “Hamilton.” With a still-to-be-decided campaign for his acting work as Sam Cooke in lead or supporting, the song category may be an easy spot for AMPAS to reward the Tony winner.
Netflix is also fielding some of the biggest names in music, as John Legend will be looking for another shot at goal with “Never Break” from the upcoming documentary “Giving Voice.” The song is also written by Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie and Greg Wells. Legend won the Oscar for “Glory” from 2014’s “Selma,” making him part of the elite list of EGOT winners.
Netflix viewers got a deeper look at Taylor Swift with her documentary “Miss Americana,” which debuted earlier this year, and now she’ll go for an Oscar nomination with “Only the Young,” the song she co-wrote with Joel Little. Finally, there’s “Hear My Voice” from the critically-acclaimed “The Trial of the Chicago 7” from Aaron Sorkin. Performed and co-written by Celeste Waite, along with the film’s composer Daniel Pemberton, a song nomination isn’t too far-fetched if the film is also making a strong play for best picture.
United Artists Releasing and MGM’s “No Time to Die” was set to bow on Nov. 25, after moving from its March 4 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday the studio announced that the film was pushing to April 2, causing Cineworld/Regal to shutter 543 venues in the United States and the U.K.
Liesl Tommy’s upcoming “Respect,” which tells the story of Aretha Franklin, is said to have a still-unknown original song. Giving the vocal power of Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls”), it would be foolish not to expect an awards-worthy song contender.
Janelle Monáe was close to landing her own Oscar nomination for her performance in “Hidden Figures” in 2016. This year, she’ll be trying to muscle her way with “Turntables” from documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy.” She co-writes with Nathaniel Irvin III and George “George 2.0.” A. Peters II.
With 25 songs currently charted on the Oscar predictions for best original song, expect more to drop in the coming weeks, as well as some exclusions if more films keeping bowing out of the year.
If Billie Eilish does manage to maintain awards interest next year, she will still make history as the youngest songwriter in the category in Oscar history, as well as the youngest to provide a theme song for the James Bond franchise.