Hear all the tunes nominated for original song at the Oscars

Benj Pasek, left, and Justin Paul, whose song "This Is Me" is nominated for an Academy Award.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Pop Music Critic

Proven movie-music makers will vie against pop-star newcomers for the original song Oscar, nominations for which were announced Tuesday morning in Beverly Hills.

The nominees include tunes from hit movie musicals like “The Greatest Showman” and “Coco,” along with more introspective numbers from “Mudbound” and “Call Me By Your Name,” as well as a sweeping empowerment anthem featured in “Marshall.”

Among the category’s screen veterans, the songwriting duo of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul are the likely front-runners with “This Is Me,” their flashy show tune from the P.T. Barnum biopic “The Greatest Showman.”

This month the two men — who are also responsible for the acclaimed Broadway musical “Dear Evan Hansen” — took home their second Golden Globe for “This Is Me,” which followed their win last year with “City of Stars,” from “La La Land.” That plinking jazz ditty also won an Academy Award in 2017.


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Yet Pasek and Paul may face stiff competition from another duo, the married couple of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who earned a nod for “Remember Me,” from Disney/Pixar’s animated “Coco.”

The Lopezes won an Oscar in 2014 for “Let It Go,” from Disney’s “Frozen.” And the Mouse House, of course, has a long history with the academy, as seen in prizes for tunes from “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

Sufjan Stevens, the celebrated indie-folk singer and songwriter, was nominated for “Mystery of Love,” one of two delicate acoustic tunes he composed for “Call Me By Your Name.”

Mary J. Blige is in the running with “Mighty River,” a stirring soul ballad she co-wrote with the multitalented R&B musician Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson for “Mudbound,” in which she also stars. (Blige was also nominated for the supporting actress Oscar.)

And the final nominee for original song is “Stand Up for Something,” Common and Andra Day’s proud (if vague) message song — co-written by Common (aka Lonnie R. Lynn) and veteran songwriter Diane Warren— from “Marshall,” which dramatizes the early career of Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice.

Like the Lopezes and Pasek and Paul, Common is a known quantity among academy voters: The Chicago rapper took the original song prize three years ago with “Glory,” his and John Legend’s tune from Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.”

Yet his songwriting partner, the great pop balladeer Warren, often jokes about her lengthy streak of Oscar nominations — this is her ninth — with no wins.

Twitter: @mikaelwood