The music branch of the Academy often leans into pop stars in this category — perhaps wanting to see them perform the song on the Oscar stage — as well as hit songs from Disney animated musicals. And Best Original Song contenders are very much part of that tradition.
Scoring both Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nominations: Elton John’s original song “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Dexter Fletcher’s bio-musical “Rocketman,” and the follow-up to Idina Menzel’s Oscar-winning “Let It Go” juggernaut, her “Frozen 2″ ballad “Into the Unknown,” also written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Elton John took home both Globe and CCA wins.
Another animation entry is “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” from veteran and dual nominee Randy Newman, for “Toy Story 4.” The music maestro has earned 22 nominations for Original Song and Score (including a “Marriage Story” Original Score nod this year) and two song wins over the decades. Also racking up her scorecard is Oscar bridesmaid Diane Warren, with “I’m Standing with You,” sung by Chrissy Metz in the film “Breakthrough,” which marks her eleventh nomination. She has never won.
And don’t underestimate Tony and Grammy winner Cynthia Erivo, who writes and sings her anthem for Harriet Tubman in “Harriet,” “Stand Up.” She follows “Mudbound” singer/actress Mary J. Blige as a dual Oscar nominee for songwriting and acting. She’s heading for a EGOT.
The five nominees are listed in alphabetical order below; no film will be deemed a frontrunner until we have screened it.
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (Elton John, “Rocketman”)
“Into the Unknown” (Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Robert Lopez, “Frozen 2”)
“Stand Up” (Cynthia Erivo, Joshua Campbell, “Harriet”)
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” (Randy Newman, “Toy Story 4”)
“I’m Standing with You” (Diane Warren, Chrissy Metz, “Breakthrough”)