Outside of the rare show-stopping performance or blockbuster biopic, music is used to playing second fiddle at top-tier movie and TV award ceremonies. Expect that to change at the 2019 Golden Globes, taking place this Sunday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. The star wattage of this year’s crop of Best Original Song nominees includes two pop stars, an R&B breakout, a hip-hop stalwart, a Eurythmic, and a country legend.
Ahead we break down each track, and unveil our pick to win.
“All the Stars” — Kendrick Lamar and SZA
All the stars are closer in this triumphant lead single from the Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther: The Album. The song, which plays during the end credits of the Marvel superhero flick, features K. Dot and labelmate SZA singing and rapping over a thundering, tribal-inflected beat by Sounwave and Al Shux. In addition to its Globes nod, “All the Stars” has received acclaim on the music awards front, nabbing four Grammy nominations, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
“Girl in the Movies” — Dolly Parton
This ballad from the country star comes courtesy of Netflix’s Dumplin. The film follows Willowdean, a Dolly Parton fan and plus-size daughter of a legendary beauty queen, who decides to enter a local beauty pageant. The “Jolene” singer wrote six original songs for the soundtrack (the other half includes re-recordings of her pervious hits), including the dream-big ballad “Girl in the Movies.” Over a softly strummed guitar, Parton sings from the perspective of a young girl with aspirations of being an actress: “It’s time I show the world just what I’m about / I’m steppin’ up and I’m steppin’ out / I’m feelin’ bold and I’m feelin’ proud / I want to be that girl.”
“Requiem for a Private War” — Annie Lennox
It had been eight years since Annie Lennox recorded an original song. But then director Matthew Heineman came calling. “I didn’t really feel I could write anymore, and then suddenly I felt, ‘You know, I’d like to give it a try,’” she told EW’s Sarah Rodman about making “Requiem for a Private War,” a track from the 2018 film A Private War. The movie tells the true story of the late war correspondent Marie Colvin. For Lennox, she saw a bit of kismet in the track, having written it before seeing the movie. “One of the last things that Marie Colvin is saying [in the film] is ‘Why? Why?’ That’s actually the first word in the beginning of the song,” said Lennox. “It’s uncanny.”
“Revelation” — Jónsi and Troye Sivan
This collaboration from pop star Troye Sivan and Sigur Ros multi-instrumentalist Jónsi is a poignant extension of the Joel Edgerton-directed film Boy Erased, which focuses on a young boy coming to terms with his sexuality and being forced into conversion therapy after being outed to his religious parents. “It’s this really tender song about the moment where you let yourself go and fall for someone of the same sex for the first time and realize that God didn’t strike you down,” Sivan told EW’s Marc Snetiker. “It’s the moment of, maybe this is okay. This feels right… maybe it is.” The “My My My!” singer also costars in the film, and said shooting it was an intense experience: “It was amazing, but at the same time, it was gnarly. [Conversion therapy] is such a hurtful thing to witness, even when it’s pretend. It was super eye-opening and really lit a fire in me to try and change.”
“Shallow” — Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper
Was there a more defining movie song of 2018 than “Shallow”? The answer: AH AH AH HA HA AHHHHH AH (sorry, I meant: no, there wasn’t). The anchor of Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born remake, co-written by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, and Andrew Wyatt, features Cooper’s gravelly voiced Jackson Maine dueting with the inimitable Ally (Gaga) about finding love. “Shallow” not only launched a million Star Is Born memes, it’s also the odds-on favorite to win the Best Song Golden Globe. “It just has changed me,” Gaga told EW’s Tim Stack about working on the film. “Watching Bradley work was phenomenal and then having him believe in me — it gave me more ammunition to believe in myself and I just feel so blessed to have had that experience.” Added Cooper, of working with Gaga, “I think the biggest thing I learned is that sky’s the limit if you find a companion artistically, and you have a project. There is no dreaming too big.”