“I was just compelled to write the song for this,” reveals Diane Warren during our recent webcam chat (watch below) about “Til It Happens to You,” the tune she penned for “The Hunting Ground.” This shattering new documentary from Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering shines a light on college rape crimes. Warren co-wrote the song with Lady Gaga, who also performs it.
Subscribe to Gold Derby Breaking News Alerts & Experts’ Latest Oscar Predictions
The title, she explains, comes from something deeply personal. “’Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels. Everybody can tell you, ‘it’s gonna be fine, it’s gonna get better,’ and you know what? When you’re going through that, you don’t feel that. You don’t. You feel like nobody understands you.”
The film follows several different women and men who have survived sexual assault on college campuses, stirring up strong reactions within the viewer that no doubt influenced Warren’s song. “There’s a lot of different emotions that you feel,” she divulges.
“Of course you just feel kicked in the gut and heartbroken because it’s so harsh, to hear what these girls go through.” Yet many of the women in the film have started fighting to call attention to institutional cover-ups within the school systems, and to show its devastating effects. “When you see the whole movie,” she continues, “you see them getting empowered.”
As performed by Lady Gaga, Warren believes, “That song follows the stories of these girls, really. When Gaga sang it, the first verse is very vulnerable, like the girls are at the beginning; the second verse, she’s getting more pissed off; and then in the end, it’s so victorious, and powerful. They’re not just survivors, they’re activists. So the song is following that.”
Warren has racked up seven Oscar nominations but no wins for original songs in “Mannequin” (‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’), “Up Close & Personal” (‘Because You Love Me’), “Con Air” (‘How Do I Live’), “Armageddon” (‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’), “Music of the Heart” (‘Music of My Heart’), “Pearl Harbor” (‘There You’ll Be’), and “Beyond the Lights” (‘Grateful’). ‘Because You Love Me,’ written for Celine Dion, won her a Grammy.
“Til It Happens to You” is nominated for Best Song at the Critics’ Choice Awards. Do you think it will contend at the Oscars?
Make your Oscar predictions beginning with Best Song using the menu to the right or below.
place of honor on our leaderboard contest rules.
Meet the guy who won our contest to predict the Oscar nominations last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar.
“The Hunting Ground” logo: The Weinstein Company