She has written the music for the film, she sings the music of the film… she made Oscar history.
Mary J Blige has, rather surprisingly, become the first person to be nominated for an acting performance and best original song in a single year.
The R&B icon, who already has nine Grammy awards, stars as a poor farmer’s wife in Mudbound, won her best supporting actress nomination.
Its theme, the Powerful River, is a rallying cry against racial division, and a front-runner for the best song award.
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In previous years, Oscar-nominated actors have sung the songs in the category of best original song – more recently, Jennifer Hudson, for her Dreamgirls anthem to the Love of You, I know, but the award itself is given to the songwriters.
Blige, who co-wrote Mighty River with Raphael Sadiq, therefore, becomes the first person to score a double appointment.
However, the duo face stiff competition from the oscar-winning composers of The Earth and Frozen.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who won the best original song for the City Of the Stars of last year are nominated again for Me, The greatest Showman.
Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who wrote Frozen Let It Go, are designated for Remember Me, the animation of Pixar Coconut.
Here are the five songs in the running.
Remember Me (Coconut)
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Animated Films take years to reach the big screen. So long, in fact, that Remember Me was written in 2013, shortly before husband-and-wife team of Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez won their Oscar for Let it Go.
The song is at the center of Coco story about the honor and remember your family, and is performed in four distinct versions – from a crowd-pleasing mariachi rendered in a plaintive lullaby. that draws its inspiration from The Beatles’ Yesterday.
“At its core, this is a farewell message,” Kristen said Period. “This song can evoke the singer after they say goodbye, and it can be taken many ways.”This Is Me (by The greatest Showman)
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The largest man of Show tells the story of PT Barnum as he launches his famous Barnum & Bailey Circus with a cast of misfits and outcasts.
It Is Me that is sung by the bearded lady Lettie Lutz is a moment in the film where the, derided as “freaks”, and in the face of public events, circus artists to find their inner strength.
“This is the moment where they realize that we are who We are, and we go to our own identity”,” Justin Paul says Variety magazine. “They walk through the streets, all of the protestors, return to their circus to the house and perform.”
The hustle and bustle of the ballad became the film’s break-out song, with 32 million Spotify streams propelling it into the UK Top 40.Mystery of Love (Call Me By Your Name)
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The music of Sufjan Stevens imbues Call Me By Your Name, the story of a young man finding love for the first time in the 1980s in Italy.
Director Luca Guadagnino even asked the folk-rock musician to record a voice-over for the film. Stevens has declined, but agreed to write new music for the film – something he had resisted in the past.
“I’m always a little wary of the role of music in film,” he said to Deadline Hollywood. “But Luca is an exception, because it is one of those rare directors who uses the music and sound, so fiercely and with such mastery that you can’t imagine the movie without the music.”
Two Stevens songs have been shortlisted for the Oscar, but it is the Mystery of Love – the sound of the Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer budding romance that makes the final cut.Standing For Something (from Marshall)
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Marshall sees Chadwick Boseman enter the role of civil rights hero Thurgood Marshall, who became the first african-American Supreme Court justice in american history.
The theme of the song has been recorded by the Municipality and Andra Day (which also appears in the film), and co-written by the famous songwriter Diane Warren.
To enter Marshall’s state of mind, Warren listened to Sam Cooke’s Change is Gonna Come, and Curtis Mayfield’s People Get Ready back-to-back; while Common in part wrote his verses as a reaction to the first weeks of Donald Trump presidency.
The result is a song that pays tribute to Marhsall’s achievements, while encouraging listeners to take a position in the present day.
“And it doesn’t have to be of the community you come from,” said Billboard. “I can’t just stand for black people.
“I’m not a woman but I am concerned about the rights of women and all sexual harassment in Hollywood. It is the difficult moments, and we are dealing with a lot. But we can overcome these things that it takes us really looking at each other.”River (from Mudbound)
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Mudbound is the story of two farming families in the 1940s, Mississippi, to face the poverty, misery and, in the case of the Jacksons, racism is rampant.
Mary J Blige, who plays the Jackson family matriarch Florence, has also written the film is a dark song theme – but not until shooting had wrapped.
“I couldn’t write while I was filming,” she told Entertainment Weekly, but “after that I saw it at Sundance, I was like, ‘Ok, I need to write a song for it!””
The lyrics are a plea for understanding and reconciliation at a time of hate, to give them a shot of relevance in 2018.
“It’s like” come on, enough of this already! White flag in hand, I don’t want to do it. I’m tired of this. Are you not tired of doing this?'” said the singer.
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