Oscars: Weighing the Odds in the Best Original Song Category

7:30 AM 12/12/2019

by Scott Feinberg

Ahead of the Dec. 16 shortlist reveal, The Hollywood Reporter's awards analyst takes a look at which new tunes are gaining traction.

From left: '5B,' 'Frozen 2,' 'The Black Godfather'
From left: '5B,' 'Frozen 2,' 'The Black Godfather'
Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival; Courtesy of Disney; Courtesy of Netflix

  • "A Human Touch"

    '5B'

    '5B'
    '5B'
    Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

    Playing over the end credits of a powerful doc about America's first AIDS ward where doctors and nurses dared to touch the sick and dying, this tune was co-written by the legendary folk-rock singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, who has been making the rounds to support it.

  • "Letter to My Godfather"

    'The Black Godfather'

    'The Black Godfather'
    'The Black Godfather'
    Courtesy of Netflix

    Six years after landing an Oscar nom for "Happy," master singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams is back, promoting and performing a musical tribute to Clarence Avant, the trailblazing music biz maven who's the subject of this Netflix doc.

  • "Into the Unknown"

    'Frozen 2'

    'Frozen 2'
    'Frozen 2'
    Walt Disney Pictures

    Husband-wife duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who won Oscars in 2014 for Frozen's "Let It Go" (he became an EGOT and has since become a double EGOT), are back with another catchy tune, once again sung by Idina Menzel.

  • "Never Too Late"

    'The Lion King'

    'The Lion King'
    'The Lion King'
    Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.

    Co-writer Elton John, who won an Oscar for "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," didn't help the remake when he called it "a huge disappointment" because its makers "messed the music up." (He's also up for Rocketman's "I'm Gonna Love Me Again.")

  • "I Can't Let You Throw Yourself Away"

    'Toy Story 4'

    'Toy Story 4'
    'Toy Story 4'
    Disney/Pixar

    Randy Newman is a music branch favorite. While he also scored Netflix's Marriage Story this year, Disney is encouraging voters to focus only on one of his Toy Story 4 songs, an ode to the existential-crisis-encumbered Forky.

  • "Glasgow (No Place Like Home)"

    'Wild Rose'

    'Wild Rose'
    'Wild Rose'
    Courtesy of NEON

    This brainchild of Oscar-winning actress-turned-musician Mary Steenburgen (she discovered songwriting a decade ago) is a country power ballad performed by Jessie Buckley at the film's conclusion, summarizing her character's crazy journey.

    This story first appeared in a December stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.