Best Original Song tends to be one of the starrier races at every Oscars — this is the field that, in recent years, has made Oscar winners of Billie Eilish, H.E.R., Lady Gaga, John Legend, and Adele, amongst others — but the nominees for the upcoming 95th Oscars are downright galactic. This year's nominated songs hail from two of the biggest pop stars in the world, an elder statesman of alt-rock, two Tollywood stars taking the Western world by storm, and one of the most prolific songwriters ever. The winner will be announced during the 95th Oscars on Sunday, March 12.
In the meantime, listen to this year's Best Original Song nominees below.
"Applause" from 'Tell It Like a Woman'
Diane Warren's Best Original Song streak continues, having earned consecutive nominations in this category every year since 2018. Her latest nomination comes for the anthemic "Applause," sung by actress and singer Sofia Carson. This marks Warren's 14th career nomination, with an honorary Oscar win at the 13th Governors Awards held on Nov. 19.
"Wow! This is so amazingly cool. It's my 14th nomination but it feels like the first," Warren said in a statement. "I'm truly grateful for the recognition for this song."
"Hold My Hand" from 'Top Gun: Maverick'
The original Top Gun won the Oscar for Best Original Song with Giorgio Moroder and Tom Whitlock's "Take My Breath Away." More than 30 years later, the sequel offers up another power ballad in "Hold My Hand," with music and lyrics by Lady Gaga and BloodPop. This marks the latter's first nomination, while Gaga is now a four-time nominee (three times for Best Original Song and once for Best Actress for 2018's A Star Is Born) who previously won Best Original Song for "Shallow" from A Star Is Born.
"Thank you so much to the Academy for nominating my song 'Hold My Hand' for an Oscar this year! Writing this song for the film Top Gun: Maverick was a deep and powerful experience that I will never forget," Gaga said. (Via Instagram) "So grateful for the magic of music and cinema."
"Lift Me Up" from 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'
With Rihanna's first proper release in six years, she is a newly-minted Oscar nominee. The emotional ballad features music by Rihanna, Nigerian musician Tems, filmmaker Ryan Coogler, and composer Ludwig Göransson, with lyrics by Tems and Coogler. This marks both Coogler and Göransson's first nomination in Best Original song, but second overall for each artist: Coogler was previously up for Best Picture as a producer of 2020's Judas and the Black Messiah and Göransson won Best Original Score for 2018's Black Panther.
"I feel deep gratitude to have collaborated with Rihanna, Tems and Ryan Coogler on a song as profoundly personal as 'Lift Me Up.' For it to be recognized by the Academy is a huge honor," Göransson said in a statement. "'Lift Me Up' is a song that holds great meaning to us as it was written as a tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of our friend, the late Chadwick Boseman, and his influence on this film. It felt cathartic and healing to write this song. We could not be more proud of this musical tribute and the unique collaboration that brought it to life."
"Naatu Naatu" from 'RRR'
"What is Naatu?" It's not salsa, not flamenco, and not a question you'll ever need to ask again thanks to RRR. The infectious Tollywood dance number, sung by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava, makes history as the first song from an Indian film to be nominated for Best Original Song, with music by composer M.M. Keeravaani and lyrics by Chandrabose. This marks the first Oscar nomination for both.
"It feels great," Keeravaani told Deadline, "because it involves the dreams of artists from all over the world, which is not a joke. It takes a great deal of effort and credibility. That's why the Oscars is the Oscars. That's why we respect and value it very much. And I'm very proud to be nominated for the first time from [South] Asia in this music category. I'm thrilled."
"This Is A Life" from 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'
The multiversival sci-fi spectacular offers up a hauntingly optimistic duet sung by Japanese-born indie pop star and first-time Oscar nominee Mitski and new-wave icon David Byrne. (The latter previously won Best Original Score for 1987's The Last Emperor, shared with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su.) "This Is a Life" features music by Son Lux frontman Ryan Lott, Byrne, and Mitski, with lyrics by Lott and Byrne. (Son Lux is also nominated for Everything Everywhere All at Once's original score.)
"As if the joy of helping to make this wonderful and weird movie wasn't enough, we are ecstatic to be nominated for our score, and for the song we wrote with David Byrne and Mitski for the film," Son Lux wrote on Instagram. "While our belief in Everything Everywhere All at Once is boundless, receiving an Oscar nomination, let alone 2, wasn't on our radar of possibility in this universe. Thank you to the Academy for this enormous honor!!!"