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Weeknd, Selena Gomez, and “RRR” Songs Make the Oscar Music Shortlist; “Avatar,” “Nope,” and “Don’t Worry Darling” Are Left Out Scores Increase

Selena Gomez

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 14: Selena Gomez arrives at the Soho House on December 14, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Gotham/GC Images)

Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Rhianna, and the Weeknd are all up for best-song Oscar nominations with today’s music shortlist publication, so that it might be a star-studded musical evening on March 12 at the Academy Awards.

The 389 voting members of Oscar’s music division chose 15 songs and 15 scores from 2022 films, and there were few surprises in the song category. However, the score category created history by including three African-American and two female composers.

Five candidates will be chosen for each category by the music branch in subsequent voting in January.

Rhianna’s song “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and Taylor Swift’s “Carolina” from “Where the Crawdads Sing” both have a chance to win Oscar nominations. Gaga, who previously won an Oscar for “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” in 2018, could win again with “Hold My Hand,” the theme song from “Top Gun: Maverick.”

The Weeknd and David Byrne are probable contenders for “This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from “Avatar: The Way of Water, respectively. When final-round voting starts on January 12, The Weeknd would be a first-time contender, but Byrne has already won an Oscar (as a co-composer of the score for the 1987 film “The Last Emperor”).

The documentary “My Mind & Me” title song by Selena Gomez, “Stand Up” from “Till,” and “Time” from “Amsterdam” by Given all have a chance to make the final cut.

With her song “Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” Diane Warren, who just received an honorary Oscar for her work as a movie songwriter, is competing for a spot. She has been open about wanting a companion sculpture for her recently purchased small gold man.

The list included the heartfelt “Ciao Papa” from “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” as well as Rita Wilson’s “Til You’re Home” from “A Man Called Otto” (a duet with Sebastián Yatra, who is now well-known for singing “Dos Oroguitas” from “Encanto”).

Billie Eilish and Finneas, last year’s Oscar winners (for the James Bond song “No Time to Die”), whose “Nobody Like U” from “Turning Red” was thought to be a strong contender; “Love Is Not Love” from “Bros”; and “Ready as I’ll Never Be,” from the documentary “The Return of Tanya Tucker Featuring Brandi Carlile,” also failed to make the shortlist.

The score list for this year was a win for multiculturalism. Hildur Gunadóttir for “Women Talking” and Chanda Dancy for “Devotion” are the only two female composers on the list. Three African-American composers are represented on the shortlist: Terence Blanchard for “The Woman King,” Michael Abels for “Nope,” and Dancy for “Nope.”

Dancy would be the first Black female composer to place in the top five if she were nominated.

Gunadóttir, an Icelandic composer who won an Oscar for the year’s “Joker,” is one of five previous Oscar winners who made a list. John Williams, 90, who composed the music for “Jaws,” “E.T.,” and other films, is in line to receive his 53rd nomination for “The Fabelmans.” Justin Hurwitz (“La La Land”) for “Babylon,” Ludwig Göransson (“Black Panther”) for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and Alexandre Desplat (“The Shape of Water”) for “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” are some other previous winners.

Ryan Lott, Rafiq Bhatia, and Ian Chang make up the experimental trio Son Lux. Although Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste were not only nominated but also won for Disney-“Soul” Pixar’s in 2020, It wouldn’t be unusual for the Academy Awards to nominate three authors for a single score.

Despite having two entries, “Empire of Light” and “Bones and All,” did not include Reznor and Ross on the list this year. Michael Giacchino for “The Batman,” Thomas Newman for “A Man Called Otto,” Danny Elfman for “White Noise,” and Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch for “Living” were also left off the shortlist.

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