Behind the Music of the 2023 Golden Globe Best Original Song Nominees: Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and More

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, director Guillermo del Toro, and composer M. M. Keeravani are among the 2023 Golden Globe nominees for Best Original Song, Motion Picture.

Nominations were announced on Dec. 12, and the winners will be revealed during the 80th Golden Globe Awards ceremony on January 10, 2023, which will air on NBC and Peacock.

In the race for Best Motion Picture, Drama is Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis — with actor Austin Butler also up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama— along with Avatar: The Way of Water, The Fabelmans, Tár, and Top Gun: Maverick.

Best Picture, Musical or Comedy nominees include Triangle of Sadness, Glass Onion, Babylon, The Banshees of Inisherin, and Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Here’s a look behind, and a listen to the 2023 Golden Globe nominees for Best Original Song, Motion Picture:

1. “Carolina,” performed by Taylor Swift
Where the Crawdads Sing (Sony Pictures)
Written by Taylor Swift 

Based on Delia Owens’ 2018 novel, Where the Crawdads Sing, the soundtrack to the 2022 movie adaptation features a Taylor Swift original: “Carolina.” Already a fan of the book, Swift was keen to write music for the Olivia Newman-directed mystery thriller, produced by Reese Witherspoon. The song was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner, who collaborated with Swift on her 2020 studio albums folklore and evermore.

“’Where The Crawdads Sing’ is a book I got absolutely lost in when I read it years ago,” said Swift when she first shared a clip of the song on Instagram along with a trailer for the film. “As soon as I heard there was a film in the works starring the incredible [Daisy Edgars Joes] and produced by the brilliant [Reese Witherspoon], I knew I wanted to be a part of it from the musical side. I wrote the song ‘Carolina’ alone and asked my friend [Aaron Dessner] to produce it.”

Swift added, “I wanted to create something haunting and ethereal to match this mesmerizing story.”

2. “Ciao Papa,” performed by Gregory Mann
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
Written by Roeben Katz, Guillermo del Toro 

Pinocchio Sings “Ciao Papa” in Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson’s 2021 stop-motion fairytale, based on the classic 1883 children’s book (The Adventures of Pinocchio) by Italian author Carlo Collodi. The Netflix film follows the story of a father, Gepetto, who wishes to bring his son back to life as a wooden boy.

The film also stars the voices of Ewan McGregor, Cate Blanchett, David Bradley, Tilda Swinton, Gregory Mann, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, Christoph Waltz, Stranger Things actor, and musician Finn Wolfhard.

3. “Hold My Hand,” performed by Lady Gaga
Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Written by Lady Gaga, BloodPop 

Produced by Lady Gaga and BloodPop, with additional production by Benjamin Rice and score by Harold Faltermeyer and Hans Zimmer, “Hold My Hand” was written especially for Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel starring Tom Cruise reprising his role as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

“This song is a love letter to the world during and after a very hard time,” said Gaga when she first shared the song on social media. “I’ve wanted you to hear it for so long. I’m so grateful to Tom and Hans and Joe [director Joseph Kosinski] for this opportunity—and it’s been a beautiful experience working with them.”

4. “Lift Me Up,” performed by Rihanna
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Marvel Studios)
Written by Tems, Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler 

Co-written by Rihanna for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the piano and string arrangement is a poignant ode to the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman—Lift me up / Hold me down / Keep me close / Safe and sound. 

“Lift Me Up” was also accompanied by a video directed by Autumn Durald Arkapaw.

The film was the first release from Marvel Studios to feature Boseman following his death in 2020 after a long battle with colon cancer. Rihanna also performs a second track on the Wakanda Forever soundtrack, “Born Again,” which was written by The-Dream, who penned her 2007 hit “Umbrella” and 2011 hit “Birthday Cake.”

5. “Naatu Naatu,” performed by Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava 
RRR (Variance Films)
Written by Kala Bhairava, M. M. Keeravani, Rahul Sipligunj 

Translated as “Spice” in an Indian Telugu language, “Naatu Naatu” is prominently featured in the 2022 S. S. Rajamouli-directed action drama RRR, centered around Indian revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rama Rao Jr.) and their fight against the British Raj. The video for the song features characters actors Charan and Rama Rao Jr. singing the lyrics and out-dancing the rich British men at a posh party.

“‘RRR’ throbs with many pulse-pounding moments,” said composer M. M. Keeravani. “Underlying all those spectacular sequences is one consuming emotion that elevates them. Giving musical form to the beat of that very heart was one of the most fulfilling experiences.”

Photo: Emma McIntyre/AMA2019/Getty Images for dcp

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