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Grammys: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Zendaya Poised for Visual Media Noms

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The Grammys’ visual-media song category is always the same story: last year’s Oscar-bait movie tunes versus this year’s potential Oscar contenders. So Beyoncé, Ariana Grande and Jay-Z face off against Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Zendaya, Mick Jagger and Doja Cat in first-round balloting to decide the Grammy nominees for best movie, TV or video game song.

The Grammy eligibility window runs from October 2021 through September 2022, while the Oscars’ window is the calendar year, January to December. And because so many Oscar nominees tend to come from late-in-the-year entries, Grammy voters often feel a sense of deja vu.

The twist in this year’s competition is “Encanto,” the 2021 Disney film whose Oscar-song entry was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Dos Oroguitas,” which lost to Billie Eilish and Finneas for the James Bond theme “No Time to Die.” But the Grammy entry for “Encanto” isn’t “Dos Oroguitas,” it’s the wildly popular “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” — plus Eilish and Finneas had already won the Grammy for “No Time to Die” in 2021, so the Bond song isn’t even on this year’s list.

“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is also up for record of the year, song of the year, best pop duo or group performance, and best arrangement (instrumental or a cappella), but it’s certain to be nominated in the visual- media category and could very well win.

Its competition among 2021 movie songs includes Beyoncé’s “Be Alive” from “King Richard,” although that movie is now tainted by Will Smith’s Oscar misbehavior; and three songs which were highly touted during awards season but were bypassed by Oscar voters: “Guns Go Bang,” the Jay-Z and Kid Cudi tune from “The Harder They Fall”; “Just Look Up” from “Don’t Look Up” by Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi; and Bono’s “Your Song Saved My Life” from “Sing 2.”

More intriguing, and possibly more likely as Grammy nominees, are the entries from this year’s movies, topped by Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick.” But don’t count out Taylor Swift’s “Carolina” from “Where the Crawdads Sing,” Eilish and Finneas’ “Nobody Like U” from Pixar’s animated “Turning Red,” or Doja Cat’s “Vegas” from “Elvis.”

The wild cards among this year’s 154 entries in the visual-media song category are the tunes from TV: Zendaya and Labrinth’s “I’m Tired” from season 2 of “Euphoria,” Mick Jagger’s “Strange Game” from “Slow Horses” and Thom Yorke’s “5.17” from “Peaky Blinders,” among others.

Other possibilities include last year’s winner, comedian Bo Burnham, entered this year for “Five Years” from “The Inside Outtakes”; and newly released songs from “Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile,” “The Woman King,” “Bros,” “Don’t Worry Darling” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

The compilation soundtrack category, with just 51 entries, is a little easier to predict, as last year’s “Encanto,” “The French Dispatch,” “Licorice Pizza” and “West Side Story” face off against this year’s “Elvis,” “ Top Gun: Maverick,” “Turning Red” and “Marry Me” for the final five or six slots.

The most massive of the four visual-media categories is that of “score soundtrack,” which boasts an astounding 250 entries. Here again last year’s high profile movie scores (Germaine Franco’s “Encanto,” Hans Zimmer’s “No Time to Die,” Nicholas Britell’s “Don’t Look Up,” Jonny Greenwood’s “The Power of the Dog”) are opposite movie releases from earlier this year (most notably Michael Giacchino’s much talked-about “The Batman”).

Half or more of the score soundtrack entries are from TV, including “The Book of Boba Fett,” “1883,” “Euphoria,” “The Gilded Age,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” “Moon Knight,” “Ms. Marvel,” “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” “Only Murders in the Building,” “Pachinko,” “She-Hulk” and “Succession.” Whether any of them will pass muster with bleary-eyed Grammy voters is anyone’s guess.