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14 February 2023

David Byrne, Nile Rodgers Talk Oscar Nominations

David Byrne Tony Award American Utopia
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David Byrne and Nile Rodgers were among the songwriters taking part in a panel discussion on the Best Original Song Oscar nominations.

Every year, the Songwriters Hall Of Fame brings together writers nominated for the award. This year that group included the following:

• Diane Warren, writer of Applause from Tell It Like A Woman
• Chandrabose, co-writer of Naatu Naatu from RRR
• David Byrne and Ryan Lott, co-writers of This Is A Life from Everything Everywhere All At Once (co-writer Mitski did not attend)
• Ludwig Göransson, co-writer of Lift Me Up from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (co-writer Rihanna did not attend)

Neither Lady Gaga nor her co-writer BloodPop were present to discuss Hold My Hand from Top Gun: Maverick. The conversation was moderated by a pair of Hall Of Famers, Nile Rodgers (who’s also the chairman) and Paul Williams.

Ryan Lott, whose band Son Lux scored Everything Everywhere All at Once, said he felt that, after “two hours of nonstop score,” they needed a song to conclude the film. They first reached out to Japanese-American singer-songwriter Mitski as she was one of co-director Daniel Kwan’s favourite artists.

“That’s when we said, OK, this needs to be a duet, and it’s definitely not going to be me and Mitski,” Lott said with a laugh. They reached out to Byrne (already an Oscar winner for co-writing the score for 1987’s The Last Emperor).

“Having watched a rough cut of the film,” former Talking Heads singer Byrne said, “people are going to think it’s just this kind of mind-twisting, psychedelic experience. But they need to be reminded that there’s a lot of heart in this movie. It’s about forgiveness and redemption and all those things that are really universal. It brings you right back down to what it means to be a human being.”

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