Rihanna’s Sparkling Performance of “Lift Me Up” Garnered a Standing Ovation at the Oscars

Rihanna lifted the entire audience up.
By Madison E. Goldberg
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Musician and makeup brand founder Rihanna was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2023 Oscars for “Lift Me Up,” which appeared in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Rihanna recently made her return to performing at the 2o23 Super Bowl, after a seven year hiatus. Also at the Super Bowl, she announced her pregnancy with her second child. Her last award show performance was at the 2018 Grammy Awards.

The track is Rihanna’s first new song in several years. She previously released countless pop hits, including “Umbrella”, “Work,” “Diamonds,” and more. Rihanna produced the song alongside Tems, “Black Panther 2” director Ryan Coogler and composer Ludwig Göransson, with Tems and Coogler serving as songwriters on the piece.

Rihanna captivated the audience with her performance of the uplifting ballad, which she sang against a  backdrop that paid homage to the film.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 12: Rihanna performs onstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)


Composer Göransson penned an essay for Variety, where he spoke for the first time on his unexpected collaboration with Rihanna. He praised her ability to quickly jump back into production after such a long break. “For the first time in six years, Rihanna returned to the studio, and I had never heard her voice sound like this before. There was a new kind of conviction and softness in her sound. She took the chorus of the song to a new level,” Göransson wrote.

“Lift Me Up” shared the Best Original Song category with Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand,” Diane Warren’s “Applause,” Chandrabose and M. M. Keeravani’s “Naatu Naatu”, and David Byrne and Mitski’s “This Is A Life.” The award wound up going to “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, making history for South Asian musicians.