Best Original Song Oscar Reactions From Diane Warren & Gillian Welch, Plus ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Songwriters on Making Emily Blunt Cry

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The contenders for this yr's Academy Award for finest authentic music embody each a comic book ebook superhero from Black Panther and a real-life superhero in RBG, a documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

With her Oscar nomination for finest actress and finest authentic music from A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga turns into solely the second artist, following Mary J. Blige final yr, to be nominated in each classes for a similar movie. Lady Gaga co-wrote "Shallow" with Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt, whereas fellow pop star Kendrick Lamar and SZA additionally snagged a nomination for co-writing Black Panther's "All the Stars" with  Mark Spears and Anthony Tiffith. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman earned a nomination for the touching ballad "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns, whereas Diane Warren landed her 10th nod for RBG's "I'll Fight" and Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch garnered their first entry with  "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Billboard talked with a number of of the nominees on Tuesday (Jan. 22).

Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, "The Place Where Lost Things Go" (Mary Poppins Returns)
Oscar nominations could also be previous hat for Shaiman -- he’s been nominated 5 occasions earlier than -- however “it’s brand-new for me,” Wittman tells Billboard. “I haven’t slept in a few days. I’m simply glad to fly on Emily [Blunt]'s kite strings right here. She had rather a lot to do with placing the music over.” The music took its inspiration from the thought in a ebook by Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers that the person within the moon is Mary Poppins’ uncle and he retains all of the misplaced objects on the darkish facet of the moon. “Scott remembered that. We knew from working with [director] Rob [Marshall] and screenwriter David Magee the significance of this second,” Shaiman says. “How do you sing to kids concerning the lack of their mom and nonetheless soothe them? We got here up with that title, and all of it made sense.” The music, which serves as an emotional touchstone within the movie, even introduced Blunt to tears. “When we had been writing, we had Emily right here with us,” Wittman says. “She would come over and we might attempt it out on her. She had simply had a child, so she may barely get by way of the music with out crying. It took her many a attempt, however she understood the language completely.”

Diane Warren, “I’ll Fight” (RBG)
“It by no means will get previous, I’m in no way jaded,” Warren says of touchdown her 10th finest authentic music Oscar nomination for “I’ll Fight,” from the documentary about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For the third yr, Warren hosted a “sleepless sleepover,” with 20 mates spending the evening, consuming pizza and staying up all evening to look at the 5:30 a.m. PT nominations. Though Warren says her songwriting course of is identical whether or not writing for an actual or fictional character, in penning “I’ll Fight,” carried out by Jennifer Hudson, “I wished to create one thing that was in RBG’s voice -- you know the way her mother all the time taught her to talk softly and but she speaks so loud. Everything she does, her voice carries, so I wished to write down a music that would discuss that as a result of she’s been preventing for us eternally. It’s an honor to be related together with her in any approach. Then Jennifer Hudson is like her vocal avatar,” Warren says. The songwriter has but to fulfill Ginsburg. “There was a screening that Gloria Steinem did in New York City a couple of month and a half in the past and he or she was supposed to return, however she was caught in visitors and had one other occasion she needed to go to. I haven’t met her but. I’m hoping to.”

David Rawlings and Gillian Welch, "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
“I received buried in a bunch of textual content messages and cellphone calls,” says Welch, revealing how she discovered that she and Rawlings had earned their first Oscar nomination for the Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. “How do we discover out something nowadays? My cellphone began blowing up.” Joel Coen reached out to the pair with particular directions for the twangy tune. “He stated they wanted a duet between two singing cowboys, one the extra established one and one the youthful, sooner, better-looking sweeter singer, and that the duet wanted to be sung between them as soon as one in every of them is lifeless,” Welch recollects. “We love a problem. We put a bunch of yodeling in there, however the primary factor we needed to give you the thought for the music: ‘When a cowboy trades his spurs for wings.’ I form of got here up with that fundamental thought [while we were] driving throughout New Mexico on a cross-country journey. I ran it by Dave. It appeared to suit and we began engaged on it.” On a visit again west, Welch and Rawlings performed it for Joel Coen, accompanied solely by an acoustic guitar. “He actually appreciated it. I don’t know if he was anticipating the yodeling,” Welch says. “All he stated after we performed it for him was ‘It’s excellent.’ We laughed and talked for a minute and he stated, ‘Will you play it once more?’"