University of Sussex Students' Newspaper

Everything Music At Oscars

Atreyo Palit

ByAtreyo Palit

Apr 25, 2024

At only twenty-two, Billie Eilish has won the affection of millions of fans, has earned critical acclaim for her music, and plenty of prestigious awards. She already has a staggering total of nine Grammy Awards, along with two Academy Awards for Best Original Song. She had already won the award alongside her brother Finneas O’Connell in 2022 for ‘No Time To Die’ featured in the James Bond film of the same name, and this year, they won for ‘What Was I Made For?’ featured in Barbie. This win came at the heels of a Golden Globe for Best Original Song in February, the second time the sibling duo won the award. The song beautifully captures the feeling of being lost in the pursuit of the meaning of life, which is one of the primary themes that  Barbie follows, as the ‘doll’ played by Margot Robbie goes through a journey of discovering her purpose.  The film culminates with a beautiful montage celebrating womanhood in all its complexity while Billie’s song plays.

But they weren’t the only ones to win a second Oscar for music this year as Ludwig Goransson took home the Academy Award for Best Original Score for Oppenheimer, which won seven Oscars, sweeping away the competition. His previous win was for the score of Black Panther, which remains the only film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to win an Oscar.  The score of Oppenheimer has become well recognised due to the success of the film, with the musical motif being used across social media platforms in memes, edits, and even motivational speeches, and it’s instantly recognisable.

Ludwig was competing for the win with none other than John Williams, who has an impressive fifty-four Academy Award nominations and five wins. He was nominated this year for the latest version of one of his most iconic compositions – the Indiana Jones theme song, featured in The Dial of Destiny. The other nominees for Best Original Score were Laura Karpman for American Fiction, her first-ever Oscar nomination; Robbie Robertson for Killers of the Flower Moon, a frequent collaborator of Martin Scorsese from his Raging Bull days; and Jerskin Fendrix for Poor Things, another first-time nominee.

The Best Original Song category included a nomination for the 2022 Grammy Award for Album of the Year winner Jon Batiste, whose song ‘It Never Went Away’ from American Symphony was nominated. Scott George was nominated for ‘Wahzhazhe’, which translates to ‘A Song for My People’, an Osage language song, and the only non-English song in the category, which featured in Killers of the Flower Moon. Performed at the ceremony by Scott and the Osage Singers, all dressed in traditional Osage attire, the recognition of the song’s nomination for an Academy Award cannot be understated. From Flamin’ Hot, ‘The Fire Inside’ was nominated, sung by Becky G, and written and composed by Diane Warren, a fifteen-time nominee.

Rounding up the list of nominees for Best Original Song, Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt wrote and composed arguably the catchiest number across all musical nominations this year. It was one of the most popular songs to be released in 2023, so popular that SNL did a spoof of it featuring Pete Davidson. Yes, I’m talking about Ryan Gosling’s ‘I’m Just Ken’, which he performed with charming energy at the ceremony paying homage to Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dance from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. To top it all off, Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash made an appearance to play alongside Gosling’s vocals. Regardless of your opinion on the slightly cheesy antics that occur yearly at the Oscars, everyone can agree that Gosling’s performance will go down as one of the award show’s best highlights.

[L-to-R: Ryan Gosling performs ‘I’m Just Ken’ at the Oscars, 2024; Marilyn Monroe in ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’] (Photograph taken from Instagram)

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