After the Golden Globes concluded late last night, much of the online chatter was focused on who won, who was snubbed, the powerful messages conveyed by stars wearing black and speaking their minds, and, of course, Oprah’s show-stopping speech. Now that the party has come and gone, the focus now has turned to which nominees and winners will go on to be successful at the Academy Awards, and at least one of the musical categories seems like it might select the same winner at both ceremonies.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, better known simply as the songwriting duo Pasek & Paul, now appear to be a lock for the Academy Award for the Best Original Song...and the nominations haven’t even been announced yet.
The two industry favorites just beat out some stiff competition from superstars like Mariah Carey, Nick Jonas, and Mary J. Blige, all of whom also have a chance at being nominated for an Oscar when the names are read aloud on the morning of January 23. Their song “This Is Me” from the musical film The Greatest Showman sounds like exactly the kind of uplifting, inspiring, emotional tune that people love to vote for, and it’s a perfect example of Oscar bait.
While The Greatest Showman likely won’t collect many Oscars when the ceremony rolls around in March, the Best Original Song vertical is the film’s best chance for a win, and the Golden Globe honor is only the latest indication that “This Is Me” is on track to collect some gold.
The track was originally sung by Keala Settle in the movie, and recently, pop star Kesha covered the tune in an effort to make it a serious hit. There is some potential there for radio play and chart-climbing, but even if it doesn’t rule like past smashes that received love from the Oscars like Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go,” Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling!,” or Pharrell’s “Happy,” the fact that there’s another big name attached will bring some much-needed attention to the composition.
The movie’s soundtrack just bolted to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S. this week, which is another accomplishment that will not go unnoticed by Oscar voters when the time comes. There aren’t many other potential nominees that are receiving the same kind of promotional push that “This Is Me” is currently enjoying, and those efforts matter.
Finally, while the public might not be familiar with the names Pasek & Paul (especially over Mariah Carey and other artists who have songs that are eligible), they have proven themselves in the film and music businesses, and they’ve got the hardware to prove they can win.
The two took home the Best Original Song Oscar last year for “City of Stars” from La La Land, and just a short time later, they won their first Tony for the musical Dear Evan Hansen. They’re currently up for a few GRAMMYs for their work on La La Land, and all that award show love will likely better their chances of earning another nod, since they’re tried-and-true competitors now.
“This Isn’t Me” is easily at the top of the list for nominations, which will be announced later this month, and while this category is sometimes one of the most surprising at the Academy Awards, if you’re gambling on any tune, this piece of music certainly seems to be a safe bet.
Kesha's performance on "This Is Me" feels very different from the days when her name included a dollar sign, so let's revisit that golden era.