Since it arrived last fall, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s hit duet from A Star Is Born, “Shallow,” has seemed the likely front-runner for Best Original Song at the Oscars. After winning the Golden Globe earlier this month, the song notched its Oscar nom this morning, but it’s up against some impressive competition, including first-time nominees Kendrick Lamar and SZA (Black Panther) and 10-time nominee Diane Warren (RBG).
For Gaga, “Shallow” marks her second nomination in the Best Original Song category following 2016’s “Til It Happens to You” (which she coincidentally shared with Warren). Warren, meanwhile, is up for “I’ll Fight,” her track from the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary, RBG, while Kendrick Lamar and SZA earned a look for “All the Stars” from the Black Panther soundtrack.
The Best Original Song category also boasts, “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” which Emily Blunt performed in Mary Poppins Returns, and “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” which Tim Blake Nelson and Willie Watson performed in the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
The Oscars will air February 24th at 8 p.m. ET on ABC. Listen to the nominees for Best Original Song below.
A Star Is Born – “Shallow”
Gaga wrote the centerpiece for A Star Is Born with her Joanne collaborator Mark Ronson, as well as Dirty Pretty Things’ Anthony Rossomando and Miike Snow’s Andrew Wyatt. In the film, “Shallow” both sparks the relationship between Gaga’s Ally and Bradley Cooper’s Jack and launches the former’s career as the latter’s begins to slow down. “We made this song for Ally and Jack and it’s such a special song, you know,” Gaga told Zane Lowe when the song debuted. “It’s two people talking to each other and talking about the need and the drive to dive in to the deep end and stay away from the shallow area.”
Along with its Golden Globe win and Oscar nomination, “Shallow” is up for four Grammys, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Lady Gaga also earned an Oscar nod for Best Actress for her performance in A Star Is Born.
Black Panther – “All the Stars”
The lead single and breakout track from the Black Panther soundtrack boasts TDE cohorts Lamar and SZA combining over a beat by Sounwave and Al Shux. The rapper served as the executive producer on the soundtrack album for the hit superhero film, and said of the project, “The magnitude of this film showcases a great marriage of art and culture. I’m truly honored to contribute my knowledge of producing sound and writing music alongside [director] Ryan [Coogler] and Marvel’s vision.”
The Best Original song nomination marks the first for both Lamar and SZA. Like “Shallow,” the song is also up for several Grammys, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year, while the Black Panther soundtrack earned a nod for Album of the Year.
RBG – “I’ll Fight”
Jennifer Hudson tackled the Diane Warren-penned anthem “I’ll Fight” for the acclaimed Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary, RBG. “There’s no one I’d rather have sing my songs than Jennifer Hudson,” Warren told Variety. “This is like the fourth song we’ve done together, and I said, so Jennifer has to do this song. What I loved about the idea is that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s voice is so soft but it speaks so loudly, so it’s so cool to have somebody with so much power sing it.”
This marks Warren’s 10th nomination for Best Original Song – a prize she has still yet to win. Her previously nominated efforts include Aerosmith’s Armageddon ballad “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Gloria Estefan and N’Sync’s “Music of My Heart” from Wes Craven’s Music of the Heart and “Stand Up for Something,” a collaboration with Common for the Thurgood Marshall biopic, Marshall.
Mary Poppins Returns – “The Place Where Lost Things Go”
This soothing tune, which Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) sings to comfort her new charges, was co-written by veteran composer Marc Shaiman and lyricist Scott Wittman. For Shaiman, it’s his seventh Oscar nomination (he’s also up for Best Original Score this year), though it’s just the first for Wittman.
Shaiman and Wittman have collaborated on a variety of projects including the Tony-winning musical Hairspray and recent Broadway adaptations of Catch Me If You Can and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. However, both described Mary Poppins Returns as their dream job. “The kind of music and style that I most ever wanted to write for a movie was just finally right in front of me,” Shaiman told EW. “I’m certainly writing in a style that you don’t quite hear anymore. I mean, I was so well-suited for this movie because I’m sure there are other directors over the years who have walked away from a scoring session of mine and said, ‘Why is this schmuck scoring my movie like it’s a Mary Poppins movie?’ And finally I actually was scoring a Mary Poppins movie.”
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings”
This bittersweet, and somewhat sly, country dirge complements the gunfight that closes the first installment of the Coen Brothers’ epic western anthology film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The track was sung by Tim Blake Nelson and Willie Watson, while it was penned by longtime collaborators and country stalwarts Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.
In an interview with Variety, Welch spoke about the song and how the Coen’s presented the assignment to her and Rawlings: “It was a pretty straightforward thing: ‘Well, we need a song for when two singing cowboys gun it out, and then they have to do a duet with one of ‘em dead. You think you can do that?’ ‘Yeah, I think we can do that.’ … The more peculiar restraints you put upon a song, the more fun it is, so this was kind of a dream assignment.”