The songs in the running for the 2021 Best Original Song Oscar are “Fight for You” (“Judas and the Black Messiah”), “Hear My Voice” (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”), “Husavik” (“Eurovision Song Contest”), “Io sì (Seen)” (“The Life Ahead”), and “Speak Now” (“One Night in Miami”). Our current odds show that “Speak Now” (17/5) is favored to win, followed in order by “Husavik” (39/10), “Io sì (Seen)” (4/1), “Fight for You” (9/2), and “Hear My Voice” (9/2).
Eleven of the 12 individual songwriters included in this year’s lineup are first-time Oscar nominees, with Diane Warren (“Io sì (Seen)”) standing out as the only veteran. Since she was first recognized for “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” (“Mannequin”) 34 years ago, Warren has amassed 11 more nominations but has yet to win. Half of her bids have come over the last seven years, with her most recent loss being to Elton John and Bernie Taupin’s “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (“Rocketman”) last year.
Including Warren and her cowriter, Laura Pausini, a record total of five women are up for this year’s Best Original Song award. The remaining three are Celeste (“Hear My Voice”) and H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas (“Fight for You”). The category has seen only 14 female winners in its nearly nine-decade existence and three in the last 10 years: Adele (“Skyfall” from “Skyfall,” 2012), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (“Let it Go” from “Frozen,” 2014 and “Remember Me” from “Coco,” 2018), and Lady Gaga (“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” 2019).
This year’s lineup is the first to ever include three Black women (Celeste, H.E.R., and Thomas) and five Black songwriters in general. D’Mile shares in the “Fight for You” nomination, while Leslie Odom Jr. is one of the two creators of “Speak Now.” Having also earned a bid for his supporting performance in “One Night in Miami,” Odom is the fourth actor in as many years to garner both acting and songwriting nominations for a single film. He was preceded by Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound,” 2018), Gaga (2019), and Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet,” 2020).
The songs that won in this category most recently are “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” (“Rocketman,” 2020), “Shallow” (“A Star Is Born,” 2019), “Remember Me” (“Coco,” 2018), and “City of Stars” (“La La Land,” 2017). This year’s winner will be revealed during the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony, airing April 25 on ABC.
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