Even in 2002, Beyoncé knew what she wanted. And it had nothing to do with music.
Back then, she was just a 20-year-old singer best known for her work with Destiny’s Child and had yet to release a solo album.
She was set to make her theatrical-film debut in the Mike Myers comedy “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”
During filming, she had gotten to talking with co-star Michael Caine, and one day, the Brit asked Beyoncé what she wanted to do with her life.
“I want to win the Academy Award for acting,” she told him, according to a 2019 interview with Caine in Rolling Stone.
Not become a gazillionaire with a pile of Grammys, or a mother of three. An Oscar winner.
But throughout the succeeding 17 years, the star has been frustrated in her goal.
Could this be the year when she finally breaks through and brings home the hardware?
Maybe. Though it won’t be for her acting.
The singer has contributed a new song to Disney’s remake of “The Lion King” called “Spirit,” and it has her fans, at least, tipping her for a Best Original Song win at next year’s ceremony.
A win, however, is hardly a sure thing, in part because it’s only July, and it remains unclear what her potential competition could be.
Also, the 37-year-old superstar may face some institutional headwinds.
“We’ve seen in recent years that adding a new song to a pre-existing score doesn’t usually pay off,” Daniel Montgomery, a senior editor at awards-watch Web site Gold Derby, tells The Post.
Montgomery cites “I Move On,” from 2002’s “Chicago,” “Learn to be Lonely,” from 2004’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “Suddenly,” from 2012’s “Les Misérables,” as nominees for Best Original Song that ultimately lost.
“Beyoncé will have to overcome that bias,” he says.
The good news is that any sniffy academy voters probably won’t bat an eye at handing the Oscar nomination and prize to a pop star. Lady Gaga, Adele and Sam Smith have all taken home the prize in recent years.
Queen Bey voices a female lion in the film, as well as curating the companion soundtrack, “The Lion King: The Gift,” upon which her song appears.
She has said that she was eager to be part of the remake because she grew up loving the original 1994 film and wanted to “pass that legacy” on to her kids, as she told Robin Roberts on ABC earlier this week.
Also, “Beyoncé is the hottest ticket, and Disney probably paid her a s - - tload of money for that song,” Brooke Wentz, a music supervisor who runs San Francisco’s rights-clearing agency the Rights Workshop, tells The Post.
A song for use in an indie documentary can easily cost six figures, so it’s not hard to imagine how much a Beyoncé track would run.
To fill the singer’s mantle, not just her bank account, “Spirit” will have to resonate with the audience.
“It’s usually about subject matter and how well a song fits and the impact it has in the film itself that gets people,” Wentz says.
Beyoncé told the BBC in 2002 that acting was “a new chapter of my life . . . a new way to grow as an artist.” But her transition hasn’t always been easy.
‘She’s a better actress than given credit for and in the right environment can really shine.’
“Beyoncé has had a tough time as an actress,” J. Randy Taraborrelli, author of “Becoming Beyoncé: The Untold Story,” tells The Post. “Good roles have been hard to come by. In fact, she’s a better actress than given credit for and in the right environment can really shine.”
She’s only appeared in a handful of films. Beyond “Goldmember,” there was 2003’s forgettable “The Fighting Temptations” and 2006’s “The Pink Panther” redux. (The Post dubbed her “talking scenery” in the latter.)
“I love acting — even though I haven’t really lost myself acting,” she told Vanity Fair in 2005. “What has to happen is like a tingling, something that happens where I can do anything, and I’m not scared. I’m just lost in the moment. I haven’t done that with acting yet, but I know I can.”
Her chance came with 2006’s “Dreamgirls,” an adaptation of the Broadway musical that seemed to offer her the meaty, awards-baiting dramatic role she craved.
She studied for six months, sometimes seven days a week, with an acting coach, learning the craft.
Unfortunately though, it was Jennifer Hudson who walked away with most of the acclaim and the Best Supporting Actress trophy, reportedly angering Bey and causing her to avoid reading any reviews.
Playing Etta James in 2008’s “Cadillac Records” earned her more buzz. Essence wrote that she was surely bound for an Oscar nod.
She even had the opportunity to front last year’s “A Star Is Born” remake, playing the part that earned Lady Gaga a Best Actress nod.
Beyoncé was originally cast in the role but dropped out after she became pregnant.
Even her previous Best Song chances have fizzled. She was not credited as a writer on the nominated “Listen” from “Dreamgirls,” because the academy only allowed three names.
Her anthem “Rise Up” from the 2013 animated movie “Epic” was among the 75 tunes considered for an Oscar nod, but failed to make the cut in the end.
So maybe 2019 is finally her year.
“In terms of her career and legacy, an Oscar would definitely help to cement her iconic status,” Taraborrelli says. “Also, it would be nice to see her achieve this goal because she has worked hard in this business for a long time, and she definitely deserves the acclamation.”
Credit: Source link