Oscar Song, Score Shortlists Arrive: Yes to Multiple ‘Barbie’ and ‘Color Purple’ Song Submissions, but No to Bruce Springsteen, ‘Wonka’ and ‘Wish’

Oscar Song, Score Shortlists Arrive: Yes to Multiple ‘Barbie’ and ‘Color Purple’ Song Submissions, but No to Bruce Springsteen, ‘Wonka’ and ‘Wish’

Movies, News

Oscar’s music branch has had its say, naming 15 original scores and 15 songs to its shortlist for possible nomination at the 96th Academy Awards, with few surprises.

As expected, all three “Barbie” songs that were entered — Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For,” Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” and Ryan Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken” — made the 15-song list. Only two can be nominated.

The mild surprise was the citing of two new songs from “The Color Purple” (“Keep It Movin’” and “Superpower”) and two from “Flora and Son” (“High Life” and “Meet in the Middle”), while two of the biggest musicals of the season, “Wonka” and “Wish,” failed to make the cut in either category.

The Bruce Springsteen song from “She Came to Me,” Golden Globe-nominated, is also missing from Oscar’s preliminary list, as are the *NSYNC reunion on a song from “Trolls Band Together” and Jack Black’s shot at Oscar fame with “Peaches” in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

But Jarvis Cocker’s amusing “Dear Alien (Who Art in Heaven)” from “Asteroid City” and the Sharon Van Etten song “Quiet Eyes” from “Past Lives” are on the list. And Jon Batiste’s “It Never Went Away” is the only song chosen from a documentary, “American Symphony.”

Lenny Kravitz’s “Road to Freedom” made the list from “Rustin,” while another major pop name, Olivia Rodrigo, has a strong shot with the lyrical “Can’t Catch Me Now” from the “Hunger Games” prequel, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” And hip-hop giant Metro Boomin has a shot with “Am I Dreaming,” the end-title song from the animated Marvel hit “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.”

Diane Warren, so far with 14 nominations but no competitive wins (she has an honorary Oscar), could make the grade again with “The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot.”

All 15 of the score nominees were on most prognosticators’ prediction lists.

Canadian musician Robbie Robertson, who died Aug. 9, is favored to receive a posthumous nomination for his music for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” which was a prized personal project—not only as his 10th collaboration with director Martin Scorsese but because his mother was Native American.

Five-time Oscar winner John Williams continues his streak of being recognized by the Academy music branch. He’s already been nominated 53 times, a record for composers, and could score his 54th for what may be his last film score. He is 91 and has been concentrating on classical commissions and conducting for the past few months.

Similarly, Academy favorite Thomas Newman was cited for the Pixar film “Elemental.” He has been nominated 15 times without a win; three of those nominations are for Pixar movies and “Elemental” could mark his fourth.

Making the shortlist, and if chosen for the final five, could enjoy their first Oscar nominations, are Laura Karpman for “American Fiction,” Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt for “Barbie,” Joe Hisaishi for “The Boy and the Heron,” Mark Orton for “The Holdovers,” Jerskin Fendrix for “Poor Things,” and Anthony Willis for “Saltburn.”

Kris Bowers’ score for “The Color Purple” made the cut; he was previously nominated in the short-film category but has not previously been nominated for a music Oscar; viewers skipped his “Origin” score but went for his contributions of original music for the Broadway-musical adaptation of the Alice Walker novel.

Previous Oscar nominees Daniel Pemberton and Mica Levi were cited for, respectively, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and “The Zone of Interest,” while past Oscar winners Ludwig Goransson (“Black Panther”) and Michael Giacchino (“Up”) are in the running for “Oppenheimer” and “Society of the Snow,” respectively.

Nominations voting begins on Jan. 11, ends on Jan. 16, and the final five nominations in each category will be announced on Jan. 23.

The full lists as released by the Academy:

Original Score

“American Fiction”
“American Symphony”
“The Boy and the Heron”
“The Color Purple”
“The Holdovers”
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny”
“Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Poor Things”
“Society of the Snow”
“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”
“The Zone of Interest”

Original Song

“It Never Went Away” from “American Symphony”
“Dear Alien (Who Art In Heaven)” from “Asteroid City”
“Dance The Night” from “Barbie”
“I’m Just Ken” from “Barbie”
“What Was I Made For?” from “Barbie”
“Keep It Movin’” from “The Color Purple”
“Superpower (I)” from “The Color Purple”
“The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot”
“High Life” from “Flora and Son”
“Meet In The Middle” from “Flora and Son”
“Can’t Catch Me Now” from “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes”
“Wahzhazhe (A Song For My People)” from “Killers of the Flower Moon”
“Quiet Eyes” from “Past Lives”
“Road To Freedom” from “Rustin”
“Am I Dreaming” from “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”


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