Rihanna Honors Chadwick Boseman in Emotional “Lift Me Up” Performance at Oscars 2023

Rihanna's "Lift Me Up" Honors Late Chadwick Boseman in Wakanda Forever-themed Performance at Oscars 2023

Rihanna Honors Chadwick Boseman in Emotional "Lift Me Up" Performance at Oscars 2023
Rihanna Performs at Oscars 2023

At the 95th Annual Academy Awards show on Sunday, Rihanna performed her Oscar-nominated song “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” in a custom-made sparkling Maison Margiela Artisanal ensemble by John Galliano for Maison Margiela.

The emotional performance, introduced by Danai Gurira, who played Okoye in the Marvel movies, earned a standing ovation from the audience, including her super fan boyfriend A$AP Rocky.

The power ballad, written by Ludwig Göransson, Ryan Coogler, Tems and Rihanna, and with lyrics by Tems and Ryan Coogler, speaks to the heart as a tribute to the late Chadwick Boseman, who portrayed Wakandan king T’Challa in the movie. Boseman’s passing in 2020 left an indelible mark on the film’s message of moving through grief, which the song uplifts.

“Lift Me Up” was up for the Best Original Song award against four other contenders, including “Naatu Naatu” from “RRR,” which ultimately won. It is the Bajan superstar’s first Oscar nomination. The song peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100.

“Wakanda Forever” was up for five Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress for Angela Bassett for her role as Queen Ramonda. Ruth E. Carter won her second Oscar in the costume design category for her work on the film.

Oscar producers were thrilled to have Rihanna perform her Oscar-nominated song, which was also nominated for Best Song at the Golden Globes. The anticipation grew after Rihanna stole the Super Bowl with her halftime performance and pregnancy reveal. “We were thrilled before the Super Bowl, but it only helped to see the coverage that her Super Bowl performance received,” Oscars producer Ricky Kirshner told USA TODAY.

Rihanna, who is pregnant with her second child, joked on Instagram ahead of the awards show about her son being disappointed to learn he would have to stay home while his new sibling attended the show.

While it was unclear whether Rihanna’s son was actually present at the Oscars, host Jimmy Kimmel took the opportunity to joke about the baby being backstage. “Rihanna has a nine-month-old backstage. He’s very cute. He pooped during rehearsal. You know who the last person was to poop backstage at the Oscars? The accountant that mixed up the envelopes,” Kimmel said, referencing the Best Picture winner mix-up during his ill-fated Oscars hosting gig in 2017.

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