Miranda Lambert, Nick Cannon & More Unexpected Artists Up for Oscar’s Best Original Song

by Stacy Lambe 1:20 AM PST, December 11, 2015
Photo: Getty Images

A total of 74 songs are in contention to be nominated for a Best Original Song Oscar, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed on Friday. But of that massive list, only five will actually wind up vying for the coveted statuette come Sunday, Feb. 28.

Scanning through the current list of eligible tunes, we couldn't help but get excited for a few unexpected names. While Wiz Khalifa—the rapper behind the Paul Walker tribute, "See You Again," from Furious 7—is pretty much a lock at this point, Nick Cannon, Miranda Lambert, and Charli XCX could potentially go up against him.

Let's look at the most unexpected eligible nominees:

1-3. Tove Love, "Love Me Like You Do" from Fifty Shades of Grey

While Ellie Goulding sings on the record, the Swedish artist, Tove Lo, is one of the four writers on this hit track from the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack. Meanwhile, The Weeknd's "Earned It" -- also on the short list and co-written by the Canadian breakout -- was a much bigger hit on the charts. However, it didn't get nominated for a 2016 Golden Globe, potentially hurting its chances come Oscar time. Sia rounds out the list of eligible songs from the soundtrack with "Salted Wound" -- though it's a shame her"Elastic Heart" fromCatching Firewasn't eligible the year before.

4. Nick Cannon, "Pray 4 My City" from Chi-Raq

In addition to starring in Spike Lee's latest film, Nick Cannon also contributed several songs to its soundtrack. "Pray 4 My City" is the only of his being considered, but another track -- "I Run" sung by Jennifer Hudson -- made the short,er,long list as well.

5. Tessa Thompson, "Grip" from Creed

If you're not familiar with Tessa Thompson, then it's time to get to know this multi-talented entertainer. She appeared on Veronica Mars before making a name for herself with notable appearances in Dear White People and Selma. Now, she's starring opposite Michael B. Jordan in Creed, for which she co-wrote "Grip."

6. Charli XCX, "Red Balloon" from Home

Charli XCX has had great success with soundtracks -- "Boom Clap" from The Fault in Our Stars, anyone? -- and now her track for the animated film, featuring the voices of Rihanna and Jim Parsons, could earn her Oscar gold.

7. Miranda Lambert, "Two of a Crime" from Hot Pursuit

While her ex-husband, Blake Shelton, will make a run for the GRAMMYs, Miranda Lambert could be staring down a new man named Oscar. The girl-powered anthem was co-written by Lambert and her two songwriting sidekicks, Nicolle Galyon and Natalie Hemby.

8. Lady Gaga, "Til It Happens to You" from The Hunting Ground

Wiz Khalifa's biggest competition comes in the form of Lady Gaga, who channeled her own real-life experience with rape into this chilling theme song for the documentary about college-based sexual assault. Following her show-stopping Sound of Music medley during last year's ceremony, Gaga is an Oscar favorite.

9. Mark Ronson, "Johanna" from Mortdecai

Most people will probably admit to forgetting that Mortdecai, starring Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow, was a thing that happened. But one surviving artifact is the '60s-influenced theme, "Johanna," from super producer Mark Ronson.

10. Meghan Trainor, "Better When I'm Dancin'" from Peanuts

The breakout star of 2014 kept things moving with a hit album and a soundtrack contribution to the latest movie adaptation of Peanuts. Considering she was an unknown songwriter just over a year ago and now she's up for GRAMMYs' Best New Artist and potentially an Oscar, the girl has made it!

11. Jessie J, "Flashlight" from Pitch Perfect 2

Jessie J rounds out the list of many, many pop stars with Oscar-eligible theme songs thanks to Pitch Perfect 2's original number, "Flashlight." The song provided an unexpected twist for the a cappella-themed movie about performing chart-topping numbers by lady singers with their mouths. But it was a welcomed one.

"Everyone loves to sing, and everyone loves to sing songs that they know," Jessie told ET in a behind-the-scenes look at the music video for the song. "What's so great about this movie, there's a twist. The big song, the big finale, the big final song is a song that no one knows, which is 'Flashlight.'"

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