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December 22, 2022

Jazmine Sullivan, Taylor Swift songs added to shortlist for Oscar nominations

'Stand Up' from 'Till' and 'Carolina' from 'Where The Crawdads Sing' are among 15 tracks being considered to be finalists for Academy Awards

Jazmine Sullivan's "Stand Up" and Taylor Swift's "Carolina" are officially Oscar contenders, as both were added to the Academy's shortlist for Best Original Song ahead of a nominations announcement in January. 

Sullivan's song was written for Temple alumna Chinonye Chukwu's biopic, "Till," about the activism of Mamie Till-Bradley, a Black woman and mother of Emmet Till, after her 14-year-old son was lynched in 1955 while visiting relatives in Mississippi. Emmet Till was killed by two white men because they were offended by an interaction the child had with a white woman working at a store. The atrociousness of his death helped propel the civil rights movement.

Swift's "Carolina" was written for Olivia Newman's film adaptation of "Where The Crawdads Sing," which tells the story of an abandoned girl who raises herself in the marshlands of North Carolina. As she grows older, she opens herself up to the surrounding community, she meets two young men from her town. When one of them is killed, she is the primary suspect. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Delia Owens. 

In total 15 total songs are being considered for Oscar nominations. They will be voted on by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences resulting in the nominations that are announced on Jan. 24. The 95th Academy Awards will air Sunday, March 12 on ABC.

"Stand Up," which was released in October, was co-written by Dernst "D'Mile" Emile II, and was released to the public just before "Till" opened in theaters nationwide. Sullivan, who grew up in North Philly, stressed the importance of telling Till's story, and other stories about Black experiences in America.

"I'm honored to be able to contribute to such a powerful film about such a historic and tragic moment in American history," Sullivan said in a statement shared with Variety. "I believe that part of my purpose is to give space for stories that are often ignored and silenced; the Black experience in particular." 

"Till," which stars Danielle Deadwyler and Jalyn Hall, has been praised widely by critics, earning a handful of nominations at the upcoming Critics Choice Awards. It has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 141 reviews and more than 500 audience ratings. 

Taylor Swift had a busy pandemic, releasing three original albums and two re-recorded albums of her previous work since 2019.

"Carolina," which was released ahead of the July premiere of "Where The Crawdads Sing," marked the Reading native's first original song following the explosive response to "Red (Taylor's Version)," which earned Swift a slew of accolades less than 10 years after the original album was released. 

Swift wrote in an Instagram post in March that, "'Where The Crawdads Sing' is a book I got absolutely lost in when I read it years ago. As soon as I heard there was a film in the works starring the incredible (Daisy Edgar Jones) 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 by friend Aaron Dessner to produce it. I wanted to create something haunting and ethereal to match this mesmerizing story." 

Here are all 15 original songs in contention for 2023 Oscar nominations: 

• "Stand Up" from "Till" 
• "Carolina" from "Where The Crawdads Sing" 
• "Time" from "Amsterdam" 
• "Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)" from "Avatar: The Way of Water" 
• "Life Me Up" from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" 
• "This Is A Life" from "Everything Everywhere All At Once" 
• "Ciao Papa" from "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" 
• "Til You're Home" from "A Man Called Otto" 
• "Naatu Naatu" from "RRR" 
• "My Mind & Me" from "Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me" 
• "Good Afternoon" from "Spirited" 
• "Applause" from "Tell It Like A Woman" 
• "Hold My Hand" from "Top Gun: Maverick" 
• "Dust & Ash" from "The Voice of Dust and Ash" 
• "New Body Rhumba" from "White Noise" 

Margaret Brown's film, "Descendant" is also an Oscar contender, as it was added to the shortlist for best documentary film. Produced by Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, the film tells the story of the descendants of the Clotilda, the ship that brought the last known group of African natives to the United States in 1860, more than 50 years after the transatlantic slave trade was abolished in 1808. Questlove's ancestors were among those smuggled into the country on the ship. 

All of the shortlists for the 95th Oscars nominations are on the Academy's website.