Watch: Rihanna Performs Moving Rendition of “Lift Me Up” at 2023 Oscars

Following a touching tribute from Danai Gurira honoring the late Chadwick Boseman, Rihanna performed a powerful rendition of her Black Panther: Wakanda Forever theme, “Life Me Up” at the 2023 Oscars.

Videos by American Songwriter

The ballad—written by Tems, Ryan Coogler, Ludwig Göransson, and Rihanna—received a nomination for Best Original Song alongside “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun Maverick, “This Is A Life” from Everything Everywhere All At Once and “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman.

With a sweeping string section and a rich chorus in tow, Rihanna delivered a performance befitting the somber tones around the film, following former lead actor Boseman’s death in 2020.

Burning in a hopeless dream / Hold me when you go to sleep / Keep me in the warmth of your love / When you depart, keep me safe, she sang while on a raised platform, mirroring the song’s chorus.

“Lift Me Up” acted as Rihanna’s long-awaited return to the music world. After focusing on her other pursuits for several years, the singer has started to tease future releases and perform on some of the world’s biggest stages—i.e. the Oscars and her lauded Super Bowl halftime performance.

The song has already swept up a number of award nominations, including Best Original Song at the Golden Globes, Best Original Song at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, and Best Song at the African-American Film Critics Association.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever earned five nominations in total, including Best Original Song, Best Supporting Actress (Angela Bassett), Best Costume Design, Best Visual Effects, and Best Make-up and Hairstyling.

The 2023 Oscars also featured performances from Sofia Carson, Lady Gaga, Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava.

Rihanna has been updating fans on the status of her ninth studio album over the past few months. “I want it to be this year,” she told Vogue UK. “Like, honestly, it’d be ridiculous if it’s not this year. But I just want to have fun. I just want to make music and make videos… And I need the right background music with the visuals. I can’t just go shoot a video of me talking.”

That timeline could potentially be curbed by the singer’s second pregnancy, which she was not aware of when she made those comments.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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