My Frontrunners for the Oscars’ Original Song Category

By Lucy Hubbard

5.“Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Written and Performed by Celeste, this song was for those who protested the Democratic National Convention in 1968. The song captures the theme of protest and rebellion within the movie with the lyric “Hear my voice, hear my dreams.” Celeste’s voice is accompanied by a Beatles-esque instrumental, which immerses the listener into the time period of the trial and creates a powerful narrative about the political troubles.

4.“Turntables” from “All In: The Fight for Democracy”
From the documentary “All In,” which talks about voter suppression in the U.S., this song that’s both written and performed by Janelle Monáe feels like a call to action written for a documentary about voter suppression in the US. Lyrics such as “The whole world ‘bout to testify” capture the frustration felt by many living in a democracy where voter suppression is rampant and has the potential to change the course of elections. Monáe’s songwriting style fits the subject of the documentary perfectly, as she not only expresses her frustration with the issue, but also promises that a change will be made.

3.“See What You’ve Done” from “Belly of the Beast”
Written and performed by Mary J. Blige, this song captures the spirit of hurt and anger within the documentary it was written for, which focused on an unauthorized hysterectomy performed on a prisoner. Blige passionately repeats the phrase, “It ain’t over,” emphasizing the continued fight against violence directed towards female inmates. One of my favorite nominees, she details the pain along with a need for a change with her powerful voice and lyricism.

2.“Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami...”
A close second on this list, Speak Now comes from acclaimed Broadway performer Leslie Odom Jr. Featured in the Regina King film about the fictional meeting of Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Sam Cooke, the song captures the movie’s recurring theme of the struggles faced by black public figures in a nation divided on the issue of race. Odom’s powerful voice leads this song to be a frontrunner for the award. While portraying Sam Cooke in the film, Odom took inspiration from his music and blended it with music from today in order to create this song. Considering how the song captures the essence of the film, I would say it is well deserving of the Oscar.

1.“Fight For You” from “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Written for a film about the Black Panther Party, H.E.R. does an excellent job writing a song about the ongoing fight for racial equality, with clear influences from 60’s and 70’s R&B music with an added modern twist. The lyricism from this song perfectly captures the film with the message and themes evident in every verse. This song is well deserving of the Oscar simply because it effectively captures not only the message of the film, but the spirit of the Black Panther Party’s plight for racial equality. Following two Grammy wins this year, it is very likely H.E.R. will receive a well deserved Oscar for this original song.

Honorable Mention:
“Husavik” from “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga”
This song comes from a musical comedy about Icelandic singers striving to make their dream of winning the Eurovision Song Contest come true. Named after a town in Iceland, this song is performed by Icelandic singer My Marriane and American actor Will Ferrell. A duet featuring Ferrell is an interesting choice for an Oscar-nominated song, but it works nonetheless and matches the light and comedic spirit of the film. The song has an interesting mix of both English and Icelandic lyrics which makes it even more interesting and unique.