Rihanna Earns First Oscar Nomination for 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever' Original Song

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Rihanna has earned another iconic first! On Tuesday, the Academy revealed that her single, "Lift Me Up," from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is up for Best Original Song at the 95th Academy Awards.

Other nominees in the category include Diane Warren's "Applause" (Tell It Like a Woman), Lady Gaga's "Hold My Hand" (Top Gun: Maverick), NTR and Ram Charan's "Naatu Naatu" (RRR) and Son Lux, Mitski and David Byrne's "This Is a Life" (Everything Everywhere All at Once)

"Lift Me Up" plays during the end credits of the Black Panther sequel. The single was penned by singer Tems, Oscar winner Ludwig Göransson, Rihanna and Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler, and serves as a eulogy to Chadwick Boseman, who played King T'Challa, a.k.a Black Panther, and died at the age of 43 after a four-year battle with colon cancer. 

"I feel deep gratitude to have collaborated with Rihanna, Tems and Ryan Coogler on a song as profoundly personal as 'Lift Me Up.'  For it to be recognized by the Academy is a huge honor," Göransson said in a statement. "'Lift Me Up' is a song that holds great meaning to us as it was written as a tribute to the extraordinary life and legacy of our friend, the late Chadwick Boseman, and his influence on this film. It felt cathartic and healing to write this song. We could not be more proud of this musical tribute and the unique collaboration that brought it to life."

"My deepest thanks go to Ryan Coogler, a true visionary and great friend, who created one of the most unique films of our time," the composer added.

"It was an honor to work with these incredible musicians in crafting a song for our film and for our friend. It was meant to be a tribute to love and the specter of loss, and I couldn’t be happier that it is being recognized," Coogler said in a statement. "Immense congratulations to Angela and our creative teams on their nominations. The story of Wakanda is built in front of and behind the camera, and I couldn’t be more honored to work with these incredible artists. The Academy’s acknowledgement of their work is greatly deserved."

Two weeks after the release of "Lift Me Up," Rihanna dropped "Born Again," another single from the Wakanda Forever soundtrack. 

The release of "Lift Me Up" marked the new mom's first single in six years and the first foray in the next era of Rihanna's iconic career. The single picked up a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song (Motion Picture), but ultimately lost to  "Naatu Naatu" from RRR

In October 2022, Coogler opened up to ET about being "forever grateful" for Rihanna's contribution to the emotional track -- and for coming out of musical hibernation. 

"I'll say this, I didn't get [Rihanna] to do anything. I don't think anybody can get her to do anything, she's a person who marches to the beat of her own drum," the director said. "I'm just thankful that she wanted to contribute to this, and I'll be forever grateful and not just to her, but all the other fantastic musicians that are on the soundtrack." 


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