Barbie’s having a blowout party with planned choreography and a bespoke song at this year’s Grammys, and we’re all invited. Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster was a dominant force among this year’s Grammy nominees, announced Friday morning. Two songs from the soundtrack, Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” and Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night,” earned song of the year nominations, and Eilish’s song sored an additional recognition for record of the year. Meanwhile, the category for songs written for a visual media – a.k.a the movie songs — had four songs from Barbie, making room for the Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice cover of “Barbie World” and, of course, the song and dance spectacular “I’m Just Ken.”
The show of strength is not hugely surprising, given how much of a pop culture juggernaut Barbie was, and how many existing superstars were part of the Mark Ronson—produced soundtrack album. Ronson himself was nominated as a co-writer of “Dance the Night” and “I’m Just Ken” as well as for the film’s score, competing in that category against double nominees John Williams (The Fabelmans and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) and Ludwig Göransson (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Oppenheimer.) And yes, we know that the Grammy eligibility window makes these movie-related nominations insane.
There are plenty of questions about what might happen at the Grammys, from which Barbie song will win in the soundtrack category to whether a Taylor Swift or Olivia Rodrigo tidal wave might wipe out the rest of the competition in the other categories. But, as is our wont, we’re already looking ahead to the Oscars, where Barbie will once again be a juggernaut. In the best original song category, however, there’s a catch— thanks to a rule change instituted in 2008, after Enchanted and Dreamgirls both received three song nominations, only two songs from a given film can be nominated. Usually awards strategists focus their energy on submitting one song per film; Slumdog Millionaire was the last film with multiple nominations to win the category, and since then music-heavy contenders like La La Land, A Star Is Born, and The Greatest Showman have submitted just one nominee. (For Encanto, the decision to submit the ballad “Dos Oruguitas” instead of the smash hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” didn‘t pay off at all; they lost to Billie Eilish and Finneas.)
So even if Barbie could pull a Slumdog and get two nominations and win, which two songs should they choose? Eilish is a previous Oscar winner, but so is Ronson, for co-writing A Star Is Born’s “Shallow,” so maybe that makes “What Was I Made For?” and “Dance the Night” obvious contenders. But then that leaves out “I’m Just Ken,” the film’s showstopper and loving tribute to the kind of musical numbers that used to make Hollywood run. The Oscars featuring a live performance of “I’m Just Ken” is a no-brainer; will a nomination be so simple? If there’s ever been a movie that could just take up every category in best original song it’s Barbie, but Oscar rules are going to force some tough decisions instead.
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