Attention, Lin-Manuel Miranda – Beyoncé has entered the chat.
The 40-year-old singer, already the most-winning female artist at the Grammy Awards, landed her first Oscar nomination on Tuesday for Best Original Song for “Be Alive,” a heart-pounding ballad she wrote with the songwriter Dixson for “King Richard,” a biopic about Venus and Serena Williams’ father.
The song, which plays during the film’s end credits and is accompanied by archival footage of the real Williams family, features inspirational lyrics that recount the journey the Williams sisters have made to the top of the tennis world.
Supported by a heavy rhythm of drums and layered vocal harmonies, Beyoncé, in a soaring voice, sings:
Look how we fought to stay alive
So when we win, we’ll have pride
Do you know how much we cried?
How hard did we have to fight?
Other lyrics speak to the importance of black pride, family and brotherhood, with a chorus emphasizing the importance of having the singer’s ‘family’, ‘sisters’ and ‘tribe’. by his side.
The song, which sounds like Beyoncé’s work on “Lemonade,” found favor with critics. Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz praised Beyoncé’s “singular voice”, “lush harmonies” and lyrics that convey “pride and beauty as a celebration of black art and culture”. Variety’s Clayton Davis compared “Be Alive” to Common and John Legend’s song “Glory,” which concluded Ava DuVernay’s 2014 historical drama “Selma.” The song, which Legend wrote with Lonnie Lynn, won the Oscar.
While this is Beyoncé’s first Oscar nomination, it’s not the 28-time Grammy winner’s first cinematic crossover. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Deena Jones in the 2006 film adaptation of the Broadway musical “Dreamgirls”; starred as R&B singer Etta James in the 2008 biopic “Cadillac Records”, on the pioneering Chicago blues label; and voiced Nala in the 2019 live-action remake of “The Lion King,” in addition to recording music for that film’s soundtrack.
But to win her first statuette, she will have to overcome tough competition. Miranda, the ‘Hamilton’ creator who only needs an Oscar to achieve EGOT status, has been nominated for ‘Dos Oruguitas,’ a Spanish love song about two caterpillars he wrote for Disney’s animated musical “Encanto”. Other nominees in the category are Billie Eilish and Finneas, for the James Bond song ‘No Time to Die,’ which won the Golden Globe; Van Morrison, for “Down to Joy” from “Belfast”; and “Somehow You Do” from “Four Good Days”.