Less than one month before the end of the year–and the cutoff date for eligibility for the upcoming Academy Awards–it looks like one of the biggest musicians in the world is about to throw his hat into the ring for the highly-coveted Best Original Song Oscar.
Over the weekend, pop/R&B chart-topper The Weeknd posted a cryptic (but not-so-cryptic) teaser on Instagram that included the logo associated with the upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water, the long-awaited sequel to the box office smash that premiered more than a decade ago. The clip also featured enough music to let everyone know what the singer-songwriter’s involvement will be, as well as to indicate what his new production may sound like. According to the post, the as-yet-untitled cut will be released on December 16, the same day as the film it’s a part of.
As if The Weeknd’s post wasn’t enough for the world to understand the announcement, the film’s official account and the movie’s producer Jon Landau also shared images and clips that underline the musician’s involvement.
At this moment, while it seems certain that The Weeknd has penned a track for Avatar: The Way of Water, it thus far hasn’t been named. Some reports claim that the tune will play over the film’s credits, though there’s a very good chance that it will actually begin before the names appear. That prediction is due to the fact that according to the rules set down by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the organization behind the Oscars), a tune must be featured in a movie–and not simply after it ends–in order to be eligible for the Best Original Song trophy.
The Weeknd’s involvement is likely a play for the Canadian crooner to earn another Oscar nomination in the Best Original Song category. He was nominated once before in 2015 for his hit “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey. The singer–along with his co-writers and co-producers Ahmad Balshe, Stephan Moccio, and Jason “Daheala” Quenneville–didn’t end up taking home the trophy, which that year went to Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes for their James Bond theme “Writing’s on the Wall”.
Currently, The Weeknd is on break from his After Hours tour, which promotes his 2022 album of the same name. The trek wrapped its North American leg in November, and it picks up again next summer in Europe. The singer has a presence on a number of Billboard charts at the moment with his single “Die For You”, which has become something of a surprise sleeper hit. The tune was originally released in 2017 from his album Starboy, but only now is it reaching new heights on the Hot 100.
This year’s Best Original Song Oscar race is turning out to be one of the most star-studded in recent memory, with names like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish, and Rihanna all vying for a spot in the five-space field.