After being lifted up on some wild platforms during her Super Bowl halftime show earlier this month, Rihanna is ready to lift up the Oscars audience at next month’s awards show. On Thursday, the Academy Awards announced that Rihanna will perform her song “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at the 2023 awards ceremony.
Rihanna is the first performer announced for this year’s awards show, though typically, the Best Original Song artist nominees take the stage. Jimmy Kimmel is set to host the awards show, which is scheduled for March 12 at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theater.
“Lift Me Up,” which is nominated for Best Original Song, serves as a tribute to the life of the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman and allows Rihanna’s impressive vocals to shine as she’s backed by a piano and minimal string instruments on the emotionally powerful song. “Lift me up/Hold me down/Keep me close /Safe and sound,” she sings on the track. “Burning in a hopeless dream/Hold me when you go to sleep.”
Rih, Tems, Ludwig Göransson, and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler co-wrote the song. “After speaking with Ryan and hearing his direction for the film and the song, I wanted to write something that portrays a warm embrace from all the people that I’ve lost in my life,” Tems previously said in a statement. “I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I could sing to them now and express how much I miss them.”
“Lift Me Up” — Rihanna’s first Oscar nod — is up against Sofia Carson and Diane Warren’s “Applause,” Lady Gaga and Blood Pop’s “Hold my Hand, M.M. Keeravani’s “Naatu Naatu,” and Ryan Lott, David Byrne, and Mitski’s “This is a Life.”
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is up for several awards. Angela Bassett is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Queen Ramonda, while the film is up for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Costume Design, and Best Visual Effects.
The Oscars performance comes about a month after the singer dazzled during a performance at the Super Bowl halftime show, where she hit the stage with some of her greatest hits such as “Bitch Better Have My Money,” “Where Have You Been,” “Rude Boy,” and “Wild Thoughts.” During the performance, Rih revealed she was pregnant with her second child.
From Rolling Stone US