2020 Oscar for best original song: My picks and a look at the contenders



My picks:


bruce-springsteen western stars

Western Stars by Bruce Springsteen

(The Academy have previously nominated songs from documentaries, so why not again? One of 2019’s best songs for me)








The Art Of Self-Defense Soundtrack)
Can You Hear Me Now? by Donald McMichael (The Art of Self-Defense soundtrack)

(I’d love to see get nominated but a long shot. I can’t stop listening)






stand up harriet.jpg
Stand Up by Cynthia Erivo (Harriet soundtrack)

(Anthemic, uplifting, can potentially reach a big audience. In the same vein as Glory by Common & John Legend. If I had to pick a winner this is the most powerful. Although Disney/Beyoncé may run a better Oscar campaign so who knows)






The rest of the contenders:


As for the winner, Disney will likely dominate the category though I suspect Cats, Harriet or Rocketman stand a good chance of a nomination if the Academy go with five songs. They have been known to only pick three songs in total. I’m not going to talk about Best Score here.







The Lion King: Spirit
Music & Lyrics by Beyoncé, Ilya Salmanzadeh & Labrinth

(I don’t like the autotuned intro. No complains about Beyoncé’s singing which she can be proud of. An epic song though is it memorable enough to triumph?)







The Lion King: Never Too Late
Lyrics by Elton John, Tim Rice & Lebo M
Music by Greg Kurstin & Lebo M

(Passable. Not as good as Elton John’s Lion King hits from the 90s. Prefer it to the Rocketman contender I’m Gonna Love Me Again)





Aladdin: Speechless
Music & Lyrics by Alan Menken, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul

(Didn’t have enough emotion or personality. Too “produced”)





Toy Story 4: The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy
Performed by Chris Stapleton

(Makes sense to write a country song for a toy cowboy. Unfortunately the vocal and lyrics failed to move me)


Toy Story 4:  I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away
Music & Lyrics by Randy Newman

(In contrast, this one hit me in the gut! Hope it gets nominated)








Frozen 2: Into the Unknown
Idina Menzel, AURORA

(Easily remembered but is it too calculated? Arguably a rip-off of the oscar-winning classic “Let it Gooooooooo“. “Into the Unknnownoooooon!!!”)


Frozen 2: Some Things Never Change
sung by Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff

(I need the context of the movie to assess its value. Catchy and the lyrics are not bad)




Cats: Beautiful Ghosts by Taylor Swift 
Performed by Taylor Swift.
Written by Taylor Swift & Andrew Lloyd Webber

(An interesting collaboration.  A good but not a great song)




Rocketman: (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again
Lyrics by Bernie Taupin & Elton John
Music by Giles Martin

(Bernie Taupin & Elton John created amazing music in the past. With emphasis on “past”. This new tune is merely ok and too syrupy. I haven’t see the film though, so I reserve the right to change my opinion)










Should get nominated:
Stand Up by Cynthia Erivo (from: Harriet)
Western Stars by Bruce Springsteen (from: Western Stars)
Can You Hear Me Now? by Donald McMichael (from: The Art of Self-Defense)
I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away by Randy Newman (from: Toy Story 4)
Some Things Never Change (from: Frozen 2)


Will get nominated:
Stand Up by Cynthia Erivo (from: Harriet) (prediction: winner)
Spirit by Beyoncé (from: The Lion King)
Beautiful Ghosts by Taylor Swift (from: Cats)
Into the Unknown by Idina Menzel, AURORA (from: Frozen 2)
I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away by Randy Newman (from: Toy Story 4)






Still early days, so not set in stone. What do you think? As always, comments are welcome

26 thoughts on “2020 Oscar for best original song: My picks and a look at the contenders

  1. I’m so out of touch that I don’t really know many of these, or the movies they come from, but I can’t see Western Stars get nominated. Ultimately it’s just a concert film / album promo. Admittedly I’ve not actually seen it, but I’ve read enough about it to think it won’t even be on the Academy’s radar. I hope you prove me wrong, obviously.

    Donald McMichael… I hope that’s his real name and not just a spoof of Michael McDonald.


    1. @Rol: True, Western Stars is concert film in support of an album though it is listed as a “documentary” on imdb which gives me optimism. I haven’t watched.

      Well spotted re. Donald McMichael and Michael McDonald. I missed the likeness. His voice is kind of similar too!


      1. I think it really is Michael McDonald! They sound exactly the same and I can’t find anything online about a musician named Donald McMichael. You would think he would have at least a facebook page or something… If it is true, I wonder why this was done under a different name! Probably some kind of legal or financial reason… Weird!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nothing from The Lego Movie 2? It’s got a few catchy songs that I think should be nominated like “Catchy Song” and “Gotham City Guys”. They’re actually really good. Especially the latter as I’m surprised at how well Tiffany Haddish could sing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @ninvoid99: You’re right, I overlooked The Lego Movie 2. Just heard “Gotham City Guys” and “Everything’s Not Awesome” which both are funny for the lyrics. The actor and music references might be lost on kids but I guess parents can explain. “Catchy Song” wasn’t for me. The film itself I can watch on Netflix pretty soon.


    1. @stephen1001: I wrote my commentary down on the songs without having seen these films. I hope to watch a few of them soon. Doubtful Frozen 2’s “Into the Unknown” will win because it’s so similar to “Let it Go” but a nomination is certainly possible!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. @Brittani: I would be shocked if Stand Up (from Harrriet ) missed out on a nom. The best of the probable nominees, and would be a win for #OscarsSoWhite.


    1. @sati: Great movie songs such as ”Shallow” don’t come around every year anymore (like they did in past decades) ”Stand Up” is pretty amazing though and there are other enjoyable contenders as well.


  3. I’m not familiar with any of these (other than Western Stars), but I think it’s fair to say that Stand Up has more about it than any of the others that are likely to get the nomination nod.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No Max Richter for his two year long project in making the OST for Ad Astra? He uses slight sounds recorded from the Voyager too, its just an amazing listen…. tho i guess its more the entire thing than a single song, tho it was originally released as a single! Grrr that song should be up there! Not that I’ve ever watched the oscars haha, i’d rather watch another movie!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Jordan Dodd: It sounds interesting and I could see the Ad Astra soundtrack getting nominated for Score. Though last year First Man’s excellent score was snubbed so there is that.


  5. Thanks for including links to all these songs. As a collection, they’re a great way to start the day. 🙂

    I hope the song from Aladdin, “I won’t be silenced” is nominated. But it will be interesting to see what ends up on the final List.

    Liked by 1 person

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