Music At The Oscars: 2022

The artists and songs nominated for this year’s Academy Awards – from Beyoncé and Billie Eilish to Hans Zimmer and Jonny Greenwood

As Hollywood gets ready to celebrate itself at the annual Oscars show, it’s time to listen back to another stellar year of movie music. All eyes might be on the Best Picture gong, but all ears will be on Best Original Song and Best Original Score – both showcasing some of the most exciting recent work from artists spanning pop, rock, hip hop and musical theatre.   

Music (Original Song)

‘Be Alive’ from King Richard
Music and lyrics by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

Be Alive (Original Song from the Motion Picture "King Richard")

Beyoncé is set to perform ‘Be Alive’ at the Academy Awards, bringing her collaboration with Roc Nation’s DIXSON into Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre with enough star power to outshine an entire audience full of A-listers. Since she already has 28 Grammys, it’s only a matter of time before she gets to add an Oscar to her trophy wing – and the empowering ballad from Reinaldo Marcus Green’s Williams sisters biopic might be just the song to do it. 

‘Dos Oruguitas’ from Encanto
Music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Sebastián Yatra - Dos Oruguitas (From "Encanto")

Lin-Manuel Miranda has an annoying kind of genius – capable of making every great song he writes get lodged in your head for the rest of your life. Who’s ever seen Hamilton and been able to stop singing ‘My Shot’, or watched Moana without always slightly humming ‘How Far I’ll Go’? ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ might be the biggest earworm from Disney’s Encanto, but ‘Dos Oruguitas’ is probably the one to beat at this year’s Oscars. Translating to “Two Caterpillars”, the love song is the blubbery heart of the whole film.  

‘Down To Joy’ from Belfast
Music and lyrics by Van Morrison

“I casually asked Van Morrison whether he maybe heard any saxophone in this story and he sent back 20 minutes of sax and electric piano score,” director Kenneth Branagh told NME, speaking about recruiting Belfast’s favourite son to contribute the soundtrack to his heartfelt coming of age drama. Similar in style to his 1970 hit, ‘Coming Down To Joy’, the new song taps into the film’s tender emotions perfectly (although it’s only half as memorable as hearing Jamie Dornan belt out a karaoke version of Love Affair’s ‘Everlasting Love’).

‘No Time To Die’ from No Time To Die
Music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell

Billie Eilish - No Time To Die (Official Music Video)

Mounting such an expansive cinematic score from the smoky corners of her usual dark-pop sound was difficult enough for Billie Eilish, but doing it all with the weight of 007 history on her shoulders made things ever more challenging. “Daniel Craig had to be the one to sign it off,” she said on a recent Deadline podcast. “It was his last film, it’s something that has taken over his life for as long as he’s done it and been incredibly important… that’s a lot”.

‘Somehow You Do’ from Four Good Days
Music and lyrics by Diane Warren

Reba McEntire - Somehow You Do (From The Motion Picture Four Good Days)

Heading into the Oscar race without any nominations in any other categories, Rodrigo Garcia’s hard-hitting addiction melodrama is very much the underdog. Diane Warren also looks slightly overshadowed by Billie Eilish, Van Morrison, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Beyoncé, but the singer-songwriter has spent her career writing No.1 hits for the likes of Cher, Celine Dion and Aerosmith (and Beyoncé…), making her one of the most successful writers in history. Nominated for 12 other Oscars before her exquisitely moving ‘Somehow You Do’, maybe 13’s a charm? 

Music (Original Score):

Don’t Look Up – Nicholas Britell

Forget the others, Nicholas Britell already deserves every award going for writing the Main Title theme to Succession. Proving his range after his beautifully sensitive score to 2019’s If Beale Street Could Talk, his soundtrack to end of the world satire Don’t Look Up mixes big band jazz, hip-hop, electronica, a 100-piece orchestra and a great Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi fake-out ballad. 

Dune – Hans Zimmer

The master of bass returned in 2022 to shake the paint off more cinema walls with another typically huge score – this time pushing into even more experimental areas than those he already rewrote the rules for with InceptionInterstellar and The Dark Knight. Using newly invented instruments to play notes that don’t actually exist and machine generated beats that were impossible for humans to play, Zimmer’s Dune score is a work of mad genius – as ambitious and otherworldly as the film itself.  

Encanto – Germaine Franco

Mexixan-American composer Germaine Franco was the first Latina to win an Annie award (for her gorgeous score to Pixar’s Coco), and she returns to the world of animation here to evoke the magic of Columbia in Encanto. Basing her soundtrack around the beat of the cumbia, Columbia’s national dance, Franco wrote a score for traditional folk instruments including the accordion, tiple guitar, tambora drum, arpa harp and the gaita; a flute made out of a hollowed out cactus. 

Parallel Mothers – Alberto Iglesias

Alberto Iglesias has been Pedro Almodóvar’s go-to composer since 1995’s The Flower Of My Secret, writing his best work to date here with a score that balances film noir, romance and melodrama. “It just has this electricity to it,” Iglesias told The Hollywood Reporter, trying to put his finger on the rare power of the film’s soundtrack. “It crackles with energy and light. It’s almost operatic. It plays with a vital, lifelike impulse. Like a heartbeat. It’s about loving life.”

The Power Of The Dog – Jonny Greenwood

Jonny Greenwood’s slow transition from Radiohead guitarist to one of the greatest classical film composers of the modern age is tracked in 11 perfect soundtracks – from 2003’s Bodysong through his work with director Paul Thomas Anderson (The Phantom ThreadThere Will Be BloodThe Master) to this year’s extraordinary work on Jane Campion’s alt-western, The Power Of The Dog. Just as intimate, nuanced and expansive as the story itself, Greenwood’s score proves that he deserves a lifetime achievement Oscar for 2022 alone – working on this alongside the Licorice Pizza soundtrack and The Smile.