Billboard’s Best Original Song contenders for the Oscars, from I’m Just Ken to Dear Alien

Barbie achieved the biggest ever opening weekend box office takings in the US for a female director  (Film handout)
Barbie achieved the biggest ever opening weekend box office takings in the US for a female director (Film handout)

Billboard has revealed the early frontrunners for the coveted Best Original Song award at the upcoming Oscars.

Last year saw Kaala Bhairava and Rahul Sipligunj’s Naatu Naatu take home the win after it was featured in the 2022 Indian film RRR.

The winner of 2023 entries will be revealed at the 96th Academy Awards, which is due to be held on March 10, 2024.

Ahead of that, here is a look at the songs that have made the Best Original Song shortlist.

Best Original Song contenders

I’m Just Ken (Barbie)

Performed by Ryan Gosling, who portrayed the iconic Ken in the Barbie movie, I’m Just Ken has been an undeniable chart-topper since its release.

Thus far, the song has seen millions of streams on Spotify and its music video has been viewed more than 12 million times on YouTube alone.

Peaches (The Super Mario Bros. Movie)

Peaches was written by famed American actor and musician Jack Black, who portrayed Bowser in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

The piano ballad sees Bowser confess his love for Princess Peach and has conquered the hearts of fans ever since its release.

For the First Time (The Little Mermaid)

Sung by Halle Bailey in the remake of The Little Mermaid, For the First Time sees Ariel sing about her choice to let her voice go for the chance to have human legs to stand on.

Bailey, who is a professional singer, has been nominated for a Grammy Award five times so far.

What Was I Made For? (Barbie)

This emotional song by Billie Eilish has reached number one in a number of countries including the United Kingdom.

The song was featured towards the end of the Barbie movie, when Barbie starts questioning her life path and purpose.

The Fire Inside (Flamin’ Hot)

This Becky G song was a part of the soundtrack for the Eva-Longoria-directed film Flamin’ Hot, which celebrated Mexican-American heritage.

The song is a motivational anthem, telling listeners: “Nothing can hold you back/No one can kill your vibe/When you got the fire inside.”

Road to Freedom (Rustin)

Lenny Kravitz’s Road to Freedom featured in Rustin, a movie about the gay activist Bayard Rustin, who helped co-organise the historic march in Washington.

Talking about his decision to include the song, director George C Wolfe told Variety: “I first met Lenny very early in both of our careers… and the first time I heard him sing was a capella, and I remember the sound quite vividly, and there was something about the quality of his voice that seemed viscerally perfect for the end of the film.

“The one note I gave him was the song needed to help deliver us as an audience, from feeling to action. And trombones. I begged for trombones.”

Love Again (Love Again)

Love Again, sung by the iconic Celine Dion, was featured in the 2023 romantic comedy movie with the same name earlier this year.

The movie, which stars Priyanka Chopra, Sam Heughan and Celine Dion herself, tells the story of a young woman who is trying to ease the pain of her fiancé’s passing.

High Life (Flora and Son)

Apple’s musical drama, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eve Hewson, has made the shortlist with this emotional yet hopeful song.

It was sung by Hewson, who is the daughter of Irish rockstar Bono, and her co-star Oren Kinlan.

Dear Alien (Who Made Art in Heaven) (Asteroid City)

The vibrant Wes Anderson movie starring Scarlett Johansson, Margot Robbie, Tom Hanks and other Hollywood superstars included the Dear Alien song, which was performed by the Asteroid City cast.

It features in a scene set at a school, where a student named Dwight performs a song he has written about a space alien.

Joan, Still Theme (Theater Camp)

The movie sees the catchy tune performed during the end of the summer camp.

It is about the owner of the theatre camp, Joan, who is in a coma.