2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Song [UPDATED: November 16]

Predicting the nominees for Best Original Song at the Oscars is made more difficult by the three-stage process. In years past, many seemingly sure-fire contenders were deemed to be ineligible. Even those ditties that clear this hurdle then have to pass muster with the nearly 400 members members of the music branch of the academy. In recent years, upwards of 75 songs have been in the running. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2021 Oscar predictions for Best Original Song.)

To be even eligible for consideration, a tune must meet these criteria:
It must be an original song with words and music, both of which were original and written specifically for the film;

It must be the result of a creative interaction between the filmmaker(s) and the songwriter(s) who have been engaged to work directly on the film; and

There must be a clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition (not necessarily visually presented) of both lyric and melody used in the body of the movie or as the first music cue in the end credits.

The academy asks branch members to view clips from the films that include the performances of the original songs and then rank their favorites using preferential voting. Starting with the 2019 Oscars, the academy released a shortlist of 15 contenders. We’ll get this year’s roster of semi-finalists on February 9, 2021.

A second round of voting by the members of the music branch, again using preferential voting, will cut these 15 down to the final five nominees. These will be announced, along with the final contenders in all of the other competitive categories on March 15, 2021. The entire voting membership of the academy will then vote for the winners, which will be revealed during the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony on April 25, 2021.

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UPDATED: November 16, 2020

Leading Contenders 

“Carried Me With You” from “Onward” (Pixar)
Written by Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth

“Comfortable” from “The Photograph” (Universal)
Written by H.E.R.

“Identical” from “On the Rocks” (A24)
Written by Phoenix

“lo Si (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead” (Netflix)
Written by Diane Warren

“Just Sing” from “Trolls: World Tour” (DreamWorks Animation)
Written by Justin Timberlake, Ludwig Goransson, Max Martin, Sarah Aarons

“The Plan” from “Tenet” (Warner Bros.)
Written by Travis Scott

“See What You’ve Done” from “Belly of the Beast” (Independent Lens)
Written by Mary J. Blige, Darhyl Camper, Jr., Denisia Andrews, Brittany Coney

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

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

“Wuhan Flu” from “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” (Amazon Studios)
Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Erran Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines

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Strong Contenders 

“Boss Bitch” from “Birds of Prey” (Warner Bros.)
Written by Sky Adams, Amalaranta Zandie Dlaamini, Ashton Casey, Imad Roya

“Feel The Thunder” from “The Croods: A New Age” (Universal)
Written by HAIM

“Free” from “The One and Only Ivan” (Disney Plus)
Written by Diane Warren

“Hear My Voice” from “The Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix)
Written by Daniel Pemberton, Celeste

“Lazy” from “Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon” (Netflix)
Written by Tom Howe

“Make You Mine This Season” from “Happiest Season” (Hulu)
Written by Tegan and Sara

“Never Break” from “Giving Voice” (Netflix)
Written by John Legend, Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie, Greg Wells

“Only the Young” from “Miss Americana” (Netflix)
Written by Taylor Swift, Joel Little

“Queen Bee” from “Emma” (Focus Features)
Written by Johnny Flynn

“Rocket to the Moon” from “Over the Moon” (Netflix)
Written by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park

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Possible Contenders

“Come and Play with Me” from “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
Written by Romy Flores, Andy Rosen

“Everybody Cries” from “The Outpost” (Screen Media Films)
Written by Rod Lurie, Larry Groupe, Rita Wilson

“I Get It” from “Bad Hair” (Hulu)
Written by Justin Simien

“Love Myself” from “The High Note” (Focus Features)
Written by Sarah Aarons, Greg Kurstin

“Loyal Brave True” from “Mulan” (Disney Plus)
Written by Jamie Hartman, Harry Gregson-Williams, Rosi Golan, Billy Crabtree

“Purify” from “Sound of Metal” (Amazon Studios)
Written by Margaret Chardiet and Olivia Cooke

“Square Root of Possible” from “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey” (Netflix)
Written by Philip Lawrence, Davy Nathan, Michael Diskint, David E. Talbert

“Staring at the Mountain” from “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Focus Features)
Written by Sharon Van Etten, Adam Gunther

“Without a Net” from “Stuntwomen: The Untold Hollywood Story” (Netflix)
Written by Diane Warren

“Uh Oh” from “Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features)
Written by Cynthia Nabozny, Matias Mora, Mia Minichiello

PREDICT the 2021 Oscar nominations through March 15

We will be updating our Oscar predictions for each competitive category often in the days to come so be sure to bookmark this page and keep checking back as the race heats up.

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