The 2020 Oscar nominations are in, and today we’re skipping straight to the music! Since the end of the silent film era, original music has been a staple of the movie-watching experience, and this past year of cinema introduced us to some truly memorable tracks. Read on to learn about each of the contenders for Best Original Song, and pick out your favorite ahead of the big day! Stay tuned for closer looks at some of the other movie-music categories in the near future.
“I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” — Toy Story 4
Performed by Randy Newman; music and lyric by Randy Newman
Randy Newman’s music has been at the emotional heart of Pixar’s Toy Story franchise since 1996, with “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” bringing generations of viewers together as the de-facto theme song for Woody and company. Newman has picked up Academy Award nominations for his work on each of the three previous Toy Story installments, and took home the prize for his song “We Belong Together” for Toy Story 3 in 2011.
“(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” — Rocketman
Performed by Elton John and Taron Egerton; music by Elton John, lyric by Bernie Taupin
Rocketman not only chronicles the career of legendary pop star Sir Elton John, but continues it with the inclusion of brand new music from the artist himself. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” is a power-pop duet for the ages that also features vocals from the singer’s on-screen embodiment, Taron Egerton. Elton John is a contender for Best Original Song for the first time since 1995, when he hauled in three nominations for his work on the Lion King soundtrack and won the award with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
“I’m Standing With You” — Breakthrough
Performed by Chrissy Metz; music and lyric by Diane Warren
Diane Warren is one of the most prolific pop songwriters in the industry, and the uplifting, gospel-inspired track she penned for Breakthrough scored her an 11th Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Despite earning her first shot at the prize all the way back in 1988, Warren has yet to leave Oscar Night with a golden statue in tow — will this be the year that changes?
“Into the Unknown” — Frozen 2
Performed by Idina Menzel and AURORA; music and lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
Idina Menzel’s voice soars to impossible new heights on “Into the Unknown,” the anthemic musical centerpiece of Disney’s Frozen 2. The inaugural Frozen film spawned the infectious “Let It Go,” also performed by Menzel and penned by the same duo, which took the prize for Best Original Song in 2013 and was stuck in countless heads around the world for years to come.
“Stand Up” — Harriet
Performed by Cynthia Erivo; music and lyric by Joshua Bryan Campbell and Cynthia Erivo
Most of the Oscar buzz surrounding Cynthia Erivo stems from her hallmark nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role, but the versatile performer and singer is also up for an award in the musical arena. Over the course of the epic 5-minute track “Stand Up,” Erivo’s voice swells from a low rumble to an unstoppable force backed by a chorus of other singers.
The 2020 Academy Awards take place on February 9.