Elton John leads pack of 2020 Oscar nominees for best original song

Elton John is nominated for an Oscar with his song from "Rocketman."
(Greg Gorman)

For pop divas and their fans, the Oscar nominations offered a lot to complain about.

First, Jennifer Lopez was overlooked in the supporting actress category for her widely acclaimed role in “Hustlers.” Then Beyoncé failed to score an original song nod for “Spirit,” her grand-scaled ballad from “The Lion King.”

As announced Monday morning, song nominations instead went to Elton John and Bernie Taupin for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” from “Rocketman”; Randy Newman for “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” from “Toy Story 4”; Diane Warren for “I’m Standing With You,” from “Breakthrough”; Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez for “Into the Unknown,” from “Frozen 2”; and Joshuah Brian Campbell and Cynthia Erivo for “Stand Up,” from “Harriet.”

John and Taupin appear to be the front-runners for the prize, at least to judge by the standing ovation John received from Hollywood’s elite at this month’s Golden Globes ceremony, where “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” — a new tune written by the longtime creative duo for director Dexter Fletcher’s whimsical John biopic — was named best original song. (Four of the past five Oscar song winners, including Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” last year, took a Golden Globe first.)

Victory for John would give the 72-year-old rock legend his second Academy Award following a win in 1995 with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” his and lyricist Tim Rice’s selection from the original “Lion King” movie. Remarkably, three of John and Rice’s “Lion King” songs were nominated that year — a fact sure to bring Beyoncé no comfort right now.


Other pop artists joining Beyoncé out in the cold include Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who wrote “Daily Battles” for “Motherless Brooklyn,” and Pharrell Williams, who wrote “Letter to My Godfather” for “The Black Godfather.”

Taylor Swift’s “Beautiful Ghosts,” for which she partnered with “Cats” composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, didn’t even make the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ shortlist for a nod.

Among the remaining nominees, Newman is probably the most likely to upset John and Taupin: Each of his tunes from the previous “Toy Story” films was nominated for original song, and “We Belong Together,” from “Toy Story 3,” won the prize in 2011. (Newman is also up for the original score award — against nominees including his cousin Thomas Newman with “1917” — with his music for “Marriage Story.”)

For Warren, the veteran power-ballad specialist whose many Top 40 hits include Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” her nod for “I’m Standing With You” represents the 11th time she’s been in the running for an Academy Award without ever having taken one home.