Nominations voting is from January 11-16, 2024, with official Oscar nominations announced January 23, 2024. Final voting is February 22-27, 2024. And finally, the 96th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT. We update predictions through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2024 Oscar picks.
The State of the Race
Despite box office ups and downs, many of this years’ films have already managed to make an impact with their soundtracks. Early on, perennial Best Original Song nominee and honorary Oscar winner Diane Warren assembled an all-star group of performers for a song made for, of all things, the movie “80 for Brady.” By now, the Academy taking notice of Warren in this category is a given, but the added prospect of Dolly Parton, Belinda Carlisle, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, and Debbie Harry all going up on the Dolby Theater stage together to perform her track live is quite an incentive. Warren also has “The Fire Inside” performed by Latin superstar Becky G, for the film “Flamin’ Hot,” though Academy members may view that project as more of a Hulu release than a theatrical one.
Before a certain summer box office phenomenon, “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was a smash hit that had Jack Black voicing Bowser crooning “Peaches” as one of its major highlights. Often, the Academy gives extra points to the songs that resonate within the film, rather than get tacked onto credits, and that aspect might just as well help the three songs from “Barbie” vying for a nomination. Films are limited to two nominations in this category, so it is up to voters to decide which songs, between Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night,” Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For,” and Ryan Gosling belting “I’m Just Ken,” make the final cut, but expect all three submissions from the Greta Gerwig-helmed hit to make the Best Original Song shortlist.
Getting into fall releases, the marquee name is obviously *NSYNC, reuniting on the song “Better Place” off the “Trolls Band Together” soundtrack. The stakes are particularly high for member Justin Timberlake, who scored the longest-running hit of his career with “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” off the first “Trolls” soundtrack, and even earned an Oscar nomination for it in 2017. While his song for the second film was overlooked by the Academy, third time may be the charm.
That all said, there are still plenty of dark horse candidates in the mix, from the finale song “Camp Isn’t Home” in Sundance breakout “Theater Camp,” ballad “Quiet Eyes” from major Oscar contender “Past Lives,” another lovable cut from Best Original Song winner John Carney with “High Life” from his new film “Flora and Son,” and “Steal the Show” from summer sleeper hit “Elemental.” The most interesting one to watch for, however, is the A24 release “Dicks! The Musical,” which won the TIFF Midnight Madness People’s Choice award, and has multiple songs that scratch that subversive itch, much like when “Blame Canada” from “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” was nominated in this Oscar category.
Contenders for the shortlist are listed in alphabetical order. No film will be deemed a frontrunner until we have seen it.
“Dance the Night”— Caroline Ailin, Dua Lipa, Mark Ronson, and Andrew Wyatt (“Barbie”)
“Peaches”— Jack Black, Aaron Horvath, Michael Jelenic, Eric Osmond, and John Spiker (“The Super Mario Bros. Movie”)
“High Life”— John Carney and Gary Clark (“Flora and Son”)
“Quiet Eyes”— Zach Dawes and Sharon Von Etten (“Past Lives”)
“Annihilate”— Mike Dean, Jozzy, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, Metro Boomin, Offset, and Prince 85 (“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse)
“What Was I Made For?”— Billie Eilish and Finneas (“Barbie”)
“Camp Isn’t Home”— Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt, and Mark Sonnenblick (“Theater Camp”)
“All Love is Love”— Aaron Jackson and Josh Sharp (“Dicks: The Musical”)
“Steal the Show”— Lauv, Michael Matosic, and Thomas Newman (“Elemental”)
“Road to Freedom”— Lenny Kravitz (“Rustin”)
“For the First Time”— Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“The Little Mermaid”)
“I’m Just Ken”— Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt (“Barbie”)
“Gonna Be You”— Diane Warren (“80 for Brady”)
“Wing of Time”— Nick Allbrook and Kevin Parker (“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves”)
“Better Place”— Amy Allen, Shellback, and Justin Timberlake (“Trolls Band Together”)
“Dear Alien (Who Art in Heaven)”— Wes Anderson, Richard Hawley, and Jarvis Cocker (“Asteroid City”)
“Am I Dreaming”— A$AP Rocky, Mike Dean, Peter Lee Johnson, Metro Boomin, Roisee, Scriptplugg (“Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse)
“Eye For an Eye”— Tyler Bates, Brasko, and Rina Sawayama (“John Wick: Chapter 4”)
“Gay Old Life”— Aaron Jackson, Karl Saint Lucy, and Josh Sharp (“Dicks: The Musical”)
“Still Alive”— Demi Lovato, Mike Shinoda, and Laura Veltz (“Scream VI”)
“Wild Uncharted Waters”— Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda (“The Little Mermaid”)
“The Wish”— Julia Michaels and Benjamin Rice (“Wish”)
“Rise”— Ewan J. Phillips, Freya Ridings, and Peter Rycroft (“Ruby Gillman: Teenage Kraken”)
“Love Again”— Rosaileen Scher and Dan Wilson (“Love Again”)
“She Came to Me”— Bruce Springsteen (“She Came to Me”)
“The Fire Inside”— Diane Warren (“Flamin’ Hot”)