Oscars Predictions: Best Original Song – Diane Warren, Janelle Monae and H.E.R. Among the Shortlist for the Academy

Clayton Davis
·7-min read

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year's contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to revision date.

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2021 OSCARS PREDICTIONS:
BEST ORIGINAL SONG

UPDATED: Feb. 9, 2021

AWARDS COMMENTARY:

This category offers several exclusions that are surprising to see. The magic for “Over the Moon” wasn’t able to crack the lineup, nor the sincerity of “Onward.” Andra Day’s possibility of a double Oscar nomination has now ended with both of her songs failing to make the list, despite a Golden Globe nomination — which by the way, she can still win. There are two songs from Diane Warren from “The Life Ahead” and “The One and Only Ivan,” and Abraham Marder can also be a double nominee as he wrote the song for “Sound of Metal” and was also a co-writer with his brother, Darius Marder, and director Derek Cianfrance on the screenplay. Good on the Academy for the shout out for the song from “Mr. Soul!” but shame for not shortlisting it for documentary feature.

PRECURSORS LEADER: “Speak Now” from “One Night In Miami” (Amazon Studios)
Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021)

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. "One Night in Miami" (Amazon Studios)
    "Speak Now" (Written by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Regina King
    SYNOPSIS: A fictional account of one incredible night in 1964, where four icons of activism, sports and music – Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown and Sam Cooke – gathered, discussing their roles in the civil rights movement and cultural upheaval of the ’60s.
    STARRING: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge, Leslie Odom, Jr., Joaquina Kalukango, Nicolette Robinson

  2. "The Life Ahead" (Netflix)
    "Io Si (Seen)" (Written by Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, Niccolò Agliardi)

    OSCAR HISTORY: 11 nominations (most recently for "I'm Standing With You" from 2019's "Breakthrough")

    DIRECTOR: Edoardo Ponti
    SYNOPSIS
    : In seaside Italy, a Holocaust survivor with a daycare business takes in a 12-year-old street kid who recently robbed her..
    STARRING
    : Sophia Loren, Ibrahima Gueye

  3. "Judas and the Black Messiah" (Warner Bros.)
    "Fight for You" (written by H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas.)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Shaka King
    SYNOPSIS: The story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and his fateful betrayal by FBI informant William O'Neal.
    STARRING: Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback, Jesse Plemons, Martin Sheen, Dominique Thorne, Algee Smith, Lil Rel Howery, Jermaine Fowler

  4. "Minari" (A24)
    "Rain Song" (Written by Emile Mosseri, Stefanie Hong)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Lee Isaac Chung
    SYNOPSIS: A Korean family moves to Arkansas to start a farm in the 1980s.
    STARRING:Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan S. Kim, Yuh-jung Youn, Will Patton

  5. "All In: The Fight for Democracy" (Amazon Studios)
    "Turntables" (Janelle Monáe, Nathaniel Irvin III, George “George 2.0.” A. Peters II)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Liz Garbus, Lisa Cortés
    SYNOPSIS: The documentary takes a look at the history, and current activism against voter suppression; barriers to voting that most people don't even know is a threat to their basic rights as citizens of the United States.
    STARRING: Stacey Abrams, Debo Adegbile, Jayla Allen

NEXT IN LINE:

  1. "Belly of the Beast" (Independent Lens)
    "See What You've Done" (Written by Mary J. Blige, Darhyl Camper, Jr., Denisia Andrews and Brittany Coney)

    OSCAR HISTORY:
    Blige - 2 nominations (2017's "Mudbound" in supporting actress and original song)


    DIRECTOR: Erika Cohn
    SYNOPSIS: When an unlikely duo discovers a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women's prisons, they wage a near impossible battle against the Department of Corrections.
    STARRING: Cynthia Chandler, Kelli Dillon, Corey G. Johnson

  2. "Giving Voice" (Netflix)
    "Never Break" (John Legend, Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie, Greg Wells, John Stephens)

    OSCAR HISTORY:
    Legend - 1 nomination, 1 win ("Glory" from "Selma" in best original song in 2014)


    DIRECTOR: James D. Stern, Fernando Villena
    SYNOPSIS: This film follows the annual August Wilson Monologue competition and the thousands of high schoolers who enter the competition for the opportunity to perform on Broadway..
    STARRING: Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Gerardo Navarro

  3. "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" (Amazon Studios)
    "Wuhan Flu" (Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Erran Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Swimer, Jena Friedman, Jim Russell, Jerry Holleman)OSCAR HISTORY:: Baynham, Cohen. Hines, Mazer: 1 nomination

    DIRECTOR: Jason Woliner
    SYNOPSIS: A satire on Trump’s America that follows a Kazakh journalist who’s sent to America to deliver a gift from his government to Vice President Mike Pence. Along the way, his worldview is turned upside down and steadfast beliefs are challenged by his teenage daughter.
    STARRING: Sacha Baron Cohen, Maria Bakalova

  4. "The Trial of the Chicago 7" (Netflix)
    "Hear My Voice (Written by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Aaron Sorkin
    SYNOPSIS: The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois.
    STARRING: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, John Carroll Lynch, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong

ALSO IN CONTENTION:

  1. "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" (Netflix)
    "Húsavík" (Savan Kotecha, Rickard Goransson, fat max Gsus)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: David Dobkin
    SYNOPSIS: When aspiring musicians Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) are given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their country at the world's biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.
    STARRING: Will Ferrell, Rachel McAdams, Pierce Brosnan, Dan Stevens, Mikael Persbrandt, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Graham Norton, Melissanthi Mahut, Demi Lovato

  2. "Sound of Metal" (Amazon Studios)
    "Green" (written by Abraham Marder)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Darius Marder
    SYNOPSIS: A heavy-metal drummer's life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.
    STARRING: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Mathieu Almaric, Lauren Ridloff

  3. "Mulan" (Disney Plus)
    "Loyal Brave True" (Written by Jamie Hartman, Harry Gregson-Williams, Rosi Golan, Billy Crabtree)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Niki Caro
    SYNOPSIS: A young Chinese maiden disguises herself as a male warrior in order to save her father.
    STARRING: Yifei Liu, Donnie Yen, Gong Li, Tzi Ma, Jet Li, Jason Scott Lee, Yosan An, Rosalind Chao

  4. "The One and Only Ivan" (Disney Plus)
    "Free" (written by Diane Warren)

    OSCAR HISTORY: 11 nominations (most recently for "I'm Standing With You" from 2019's "Breakthrough")

    DIRECTOR: Thea Sharrock
    SYNOPSIS: A gorilla named Ivan tries to piece together his past with the help of an elephant named Ruby as they hatch a plan to escape from captivity..
    STARRING: Bryan Cranston, Sam Rockwell, Phillipa Soo, Chaka Khan, Mike White, Angelina Jolie, Helen Mirren, Danne DeVito, Ron Funches

  5. "Mr. Soul!" (Shoes in the Bed Productions)
    "Show Me Your Soul" (music by Robert Glasper. lyrics by Muhammad Ayers)

    OSCAR HISTORY: Never nominated

    DIRECTOR: Melissa Haizlip, Sam Pollard
    SYNOPSIS: Before Oprah, before Arsenio, there was Mr. SOUL. Ellis Haizlip ensures the Revolution will be televised with "SOUL!," America's first "Black Tonight Show..
    STARRING: TBD

† = no release date scheduled / could be delayed / may not be eligible
†† = could be campaigned in the lead or supporting categories / original or adapted screenplay categories
††† = official eligible nominees not yet determined by AMPAS

About makeup and hairstyling category:
The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Rick Baker (“Men in Black”), who is now retired, has the distinction of most nominations with 11 and wins with seven. Greg Cannon (“Bram Stoker’s Dracula”) is closest to him in both regards, with 10 mentions over his career with four wins. The most decorated woman in this space is Ve Neill (“Mrs. Doubtfire”).

Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)

2021 Golden Globes Predictions (Film)

2021 SAG Awards Predictions (Film)

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