2019 Oscars Look: Best Original Song

Welcome to our annual Oscar Look series, formally known as “Oscar Circuit” – our deep dive look into each and every category that will be presented at the upcoming Academy Awards.  Each writer of AwardsCircuit.com will tackle a different category, offering up their own perspectives on those specific races.  If you miss a piece, click on the tag titled Oscar Look 2018. You can also see the official Oscar Predictions for that particular race by clicking on the link here or at the bottom of each article.  Make sure to include your own predicted winners in the comment section too!

And the Nominees are:

  • “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” (When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings)
  • “Black Panther” (All The Stars)
  • “Mary Poppins Returns” (The Place Where Lost Things Go)
  • “RBG” (I’ll Fight)
  • “A Star Is Born” (Shallow)

NOMINEE BREAKDOWN

“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

Nominees: Music and Lyric by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch
Song: “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings”

One of the most enjoyable inclusions on Oscar nomination morning was this lark of a tune from the latest Coen Brothers offering first-time nominees David Rawlings and Gillian Welch injected fun into what otherwise could have been a potentially morbid tune in the first chapter of “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” They give Tim Blake Nelson and Willie Watson something rather unique and deeply charming. It’s a nominee that’s just happy to be here in Best Original Song, that’s for sure. Still, while the nomination is its reward, this fifth place finisher is one of the best citations by the Academy this year.

“Black Panther”

Nominees: Music by Kendrick Lamar, Mark “Sounwave” Spears and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith; Lyric by Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith
Song: “All The Stars”

Along with setting box office records, “Black Panther” saw its original music light the charts on fire. Kendrick Lamar is a big a star as the Marvel title, so this first Oscar nomination further brings him into the stratosphere. Lamar and his fellow nominees represent another reason for casual viewers to tune in as well, now that they’ll actually get to perform on the telecast. Not only that, this hit tune is a legitimate spoiler in Best Original Song. All The Stars actually did score some Grammy love, in addition to being in line for a potential Academy Award, which is as much of a trump card (no pun intended) as there is in the industry. This contender is behind the category’s frontrunner, but if there’s an Oscar night upset, this is the song to watch out for.

“Mary Poppins Returns”

Nominees: Music by Marc Shaiman; Lyric by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Song: “The Place Where Lost Things Go”

A Disney musical, and in fact a sequel to one of the great movie musicals of all time, always seemed to have a spot reserved for it in the Best Original Song race. There was some debate about whether this nominated tune, The Place Where Lost Things Go, or Trip A Little Light Fantastic, would be cited. Or, could they somehow cancel each other out? Well, “Mary Poppins Returns” does indeed have a song in the running. Composer Marc Shaiman is up to his seventh nomination, so he’s certainly due for a win. This soft and emotional song, as sung by star Emily Blunt, has an outside chance of taking the category, though the frontrunner and probably even one other contender stand in the way. Even just a month or so ago, it would have seemed like this could have been the film to beat. Now, it actually seems destined for a third place finish.

“RBG”

Nominees: Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
Song: “I’ll Fight”

Recently, documentaries have had excellent luck scoring nominations in Best Original Song. Plus, Diane Warren is a staple of this category. So, the inclusion of I’ll Fight from “RBG” is no shocker. What’s more shocking is that, despite this being Warren’s tenth citation, she’s almost certainly going to go home empty handed. To be sure, she’s long overdue for a win, but we’re just not there yet. Jennifer Hudson effectively brings life to Warren’s words, but voters seem inclined to snub her yet again. For all the money, this looks like the fourth most likely victor in Original Song, despite the Ruth Bader Ginsburg doc being a potential Best Documentary Feature winner. Ironically, the loss for Warren is probably going to come at the hands of a song from a film she also worked on, as you’ll see next.

“A Star Is Born”

Nominees: Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt
Song: “Shallow”

Here we are, the juggernaut of this category. Ever since the first Trailer debuted, Best Original Song all but seemed destined to go to “A Star Is Born.” The way Shallow is utilized in the film is nothing short of instantly iconic. Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga knocked the track out of the park, fueling the latter to her second nominee in this category (and her third Oscar nomination overall). Gaga teamed up with Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt, the latter three first time nominees, to come up with this zeitgeist capturing tune. The most popular song doesn’t always win the Academy Award, but barring a shock, that’s what will happen here. Shallow is far and away the leader of the pack, plain and simple. The song took home a Grammy. An Oscar is next.

WILL WIN: “A Star Is Born” (Shallow)

POTENTIAL SHOCKER: “Black Panther” (All The Stars)

SHOULD WIN: “A Star Is Born” (Shallow)

SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED: “Hearts Beat Loud” (Hearts Beat Loud) and “A Star Is Born” (I’ll Never Love Again)

Which tune do you foresee winning the Academy Award for “Best Original Song”? Let us know in the comments below!

Also, please sure to check out our Official Oscar Predictions Page!