Despite the title of her most recent single “Lift Me Up,” it appears Rihanna will be the one doing the lifting at this year’s Oscars. The Academy announced today that the singer will perform the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever track— nominated for Best Original Song this year— at the ceremony in early March, per multiple outlets.
Crafted alongside artist Tems, producer Ludwig Göransson, and director Ryan Coogler, “Lift Me Up” is one of two tracks Rihanna recorded for the Marvel movie, along with the still-unreleased “Born Again.” The pair of singles is the first music Rihanna has released as a lead artist since her 2016 studio album Anti.
Neither of the tracks made the thirteen-minute setlist for Rihanna’s Super Bowl LVII half-time show earlier this month, so her Oscars moment will mark the first time she’s performed “Lift Me Up” live. Although two major performances in two months after a nearly six-year hiatus between releases makes a full-on musical comeback feel ever more feasible, Rihanna has kept the stakes low in interviews while still reassuring fans that she has “new music coming out” in the form of a “special project.”
A Best Original Song win would bring the Grammy-winning artist one letter closer to revered EGOT status. This year, she’s competing this year against Diane Warren’s “Applause,” from Tell It Like A Woman; Lady Gaga and BloodPop’s “Hold My Hand,” from Top Gun: Maverick; M.M. Keeravani and Chandrabose’s “Naatu Naatu,” from RRR; and Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski’s “This Is A Life,” from Everything Everywhere All At Once.
The Academy Awards will air live from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday, March 12, 2023, via ABC. Jimmy Kimmel is set to host the ceremony. For a full list of this year’s nominations, see here.