The 90th Academy Awards show is this Sunday! As the entertainment world and film buffs around the world tune in to watch the awards, one category that has received some major buzz this year is the award for Best Original Song. This incredible year in film music saw everything from inspiring pop anthems to gentle folk balladry win hearts, leading to a highly eclectic and compelling range of nominees. Read on to learn more about and listen to each song gearing up for the gold!
“Mystery of Love” from Call Me By Your Name, by Sufjan Stevens
Folksy singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens has had a prolific presence in indie music for quite some time, but his original music for Call Me By Your Name has significantly expanded his presence into the limelight. Narrating the tale of a teenager who travels to Italy over one summer and falls in love with an older man, Call Me By Your Name has a romantic yet troubled atmosphere, perfectly encapsulated in the soothing crescendos of “Mystery of Love.” With fingerpicked acoustic guitars, lyrics about love and loss and emotive strings, this song provides the perfect accompaniment to the film.
“Stand Up For Something” from Marshall, written by Diane Warren and performed by Andra Day and Common
Formed from a collaboration between acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren and established hip hop luminary Common, “Stand Up For Something” was destined to attract attention from its very inception. This song provides an inspirational backdrop to Marshall, a Reginald Hudlin-directed biopic about the first African-American supreme court justice, Thurgood Marshall. With chart-topping hits by the likes of Celine Dion, Whitney Houston and others under her belt, Warren’s songwriting meshes perfectly with Common’s hard-hitting and rhythmic style. A rugged and stunning vocal performance by Andra Day, to top it all off, showcases this song’s strength in collaboration.
“This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, written by Pasek & Paul and performed by Keale Settle
Detailing the trials and tribulations of circus showman P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is a turn of the century musical and biopic that tells a charming tale of creativity and resilience. To match the movie’s freewheeling spirit, songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won an Academy Award for their original music for La La Land, worked with spellbounding vocalist Keala Settle for the inspiring track, “This is Me.” An unapologetic anthem about identity and standing up in the face of hardship, this song also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, Motion Picture. While the slick pop production of “This Is Me” gives it an anachronistic feeling in relation to the film, its message ultimately transcends time to tie in seamlessly with the biopic.
“Mighty River” from Mudbound, by Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige is one of the more unique nominees at the 2018 Oscars––not only is she nominated for her powerful performance on Mudbound’s “Mighty River,” she also played the role of Florence in the film itself! Co-written with soul giant Raphael Saadiq, the song channels the traditional feel of stripped down, soulful gospel and roots music, setting the tone for this acclaimed period piece about living in the South following World War II. The song describes how the shared strength of people helps in overcoming hatred, hardship and discrimination.
“Remember Me” from Coco, by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Perhaps the most heartwarming nominee in this category, “Remember Me” is a bilingual ballad from Pixar’s hit animated film, Coco. Recognized internationally for its unique storyline inspired by the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead (Día De Los Muertos), Coco captured a playful, inter-generational feeling that transcends borders and language. The song’s vibrancy is exemplified by numerous iterations within the movie, ranging from quiet lullaby to raucuous Ranchera and Mariachi styles. There’s even a pop version, performed by Miguel and Natalie LaFourcade! Anderson-Lopez and Lopez previously won an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2014, for writing “Let It Go,” the smash hit from Disney’s animated film, Frozen.
With all these great songs and moving compositions, it’s hard to pick a favorite this year! Who are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments. And Happy Oscars Weekend!