Diane Warren & John Legend Each Have 2 Songs On Oscars’ Best Original Song Shortlist

Diane Warren and John Legend each have two songs on Oscar’s shortlist of 15 songs for best original song, but such top names as Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake were shut out of the category.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released its shortlists in nine categories, including best original song, on Tuesday (Feb. 9).

Warren is shortlisted with both “Io sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead and “Free” from The One and Only Ivan. Legend is shortlisted with both “Never Break” from Giving Voice and “Make It Work” from Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.

Legend is a past winner in this category, for “Glory” from Selma. Warren, despite 11 nominations, has yet to win.


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This is the second time in the three years that the Oscars have revealed their shortlists in the music categories that two songwriters or songwriting teams have had two shortlisted songs in the same year. Two years ago, two songwriting pairs — Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman and Mark Ronson & Andrew Wyatt – each had two shortlisted songs. Ronson and Wyatt won the award for “Shallow,” which they co-wrote with Lady Gaga and Anthony Rossomando.

Four of the five recently announced Golden Globe nominees for best original song made the Oscar shortlist, but one, “Tigress & Tweed” from The United States vs. Billie Holiday, fell short. The Globe-nominated songs that made the shortlist are “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah, “Io sì (Seen)” from The Life Ahead, “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami and “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7.

Thus, Andra Day’s hopes of receiving acting and songwriting Oscar nominations in the same year end here. But Leslie Odom Jr.’s hope of achieving those double nods remain alive. Odom is shortlisted for “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami…. If Odom is nominated in both songwriting and acting categories, he will join Mary J. Blige, Lady Gaga and Cynthia Erivo as the only performers to achieve those double nods in the same year.


Blige is shortlisted this year with “See What You’ve Done” from Belly of the Beast. If the song is nominated, Blige would become the second Black female songwriter, following Siedah Garrett, to receive two nods in this category.

H.E.R., Dernst Emile II & Tiara Thomas are shortlisted for co-writing “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah. These three writers are Grammy-nominated this year for co-writing H.E.R.’s socially charged “I Can’t Breathe.”

Savan Kotecha, Rickard Göransson and fat max Gsus are shortlisted for “Husavik” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. The three composers are Grammy-nominated this year for best compilation soundtrack for visual media for their work on this film.


“Wuhan Flu” from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm made the shortlist, though of the nine writers who are credited on the song at IMDb.com, only three are credited here: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines and Erran Baron Cohen. From the Oscar rulebook: “No more than two statuettes will normally be given in the original song category. A third statuette may be awarded when there are three essentially equal writers of a song. The music branch executive committee has the right, in what it alone determines to be a very rare and extraordinary circumstance, to award a fourth statuette.”

Four of the 15 shortlisted songs are from documentaries that were entered in the competition for best documentary feature: “Turntables” from All In: The Fight for Democracy, “See What You’ve Done” from Belly of the Beast, “Never Break” from Giving Voice and “Show Me Your Soul” from Mr. Soul!.

Here’s a complete list of the 15 shortlisted songs, listed (per Oscar custom) alphabetically by film title:


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

“See What You’ve Done”
Mary J. Blige, Nova Wav & DJ Camper
Belly of the Beast (Independent Lens)

“Wuhan Flu”
Sacha Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines & Erran Baron Cohen
Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Amazon Studios)

Savan Kotecha, Rickard Göransson & fat max Gsus
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (Netflix)

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


“Make It Work”
John Legend
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey (Netflix)

“Fight For You”
H.E.R., Dernst Emile II & Tiara Thomas
Judas and the Black Messiah (Warner Bros)

“Io sì (Seen)”
Diane Warren, Laura Pausini & Niccolò Agliardi
The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se) (Netflix)

“Rain Song”
Emile Mosseri
Minari (A24)

“Show Me Your Soul”
Robert Glasper, Muhammad Ayers
“Mr. Soul!” (Shoes In the Bed Productions, LLC)


“Loyal Brave True”
Jamie Hartman, Harry Gregson-Williams, Rosi Golan & Billy Crabtree
Mulan (Disney+)

Diane Warren
The One and Only Ivan (Disney+)

“Speak Now”
Leslie Odom, Jr. & Sam Ashworth
One Night in Miami… (Amazon Studios)

Abraham Marder
Sound of Metal (Amazon Studios)

“Hear My Voice”
Daniel Pemberton & Celeste
The Trial of the Chicago 7 (Netflix)


These 15 songs were selected by the Academy’s 376-member music branch from 105 songs that were eligible in the category. The members of the music branch will also select the five nominees, which will be revealed on March 15. All Oscar voting members will vote to determine the winners, which will be announced on April 25.

Highly touted songs that failed to make the shortlist include “Only the Young” (Taylor Swift & Joel Little), Miss Americana (Netflix); “Just Sing” (Justin Timberlake, Ludwig Göransson, Max Martin & Sarah Aarons), Trolls: World Tour (Universal); “Tigress & Tweed” (Raphael Saadiq & Andra Day), The United States Vs. Billie Holiday (Hulu); “Everybody Cries” (Rod Lurie, Larry Groupe, Rita Wilson), The Outpost (Screen Media Films); and “Carried Me With You” (Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth), Onward (Pixar).

Other songs that missed the cut include “Wear Your Crown” (Adam Anders, Peer Astrom, Matthew Sklar & Chad Beguelin), The Prom (Netflix); “How Can I Tell You” (Lynn Ahrens & Stephen Flaherty), Nasrin (Virgil Films/Kino Marquee); “Rocket to the Moon” (Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield & Helen Park), Over the Moon (Netflix); “Uh Oh” (Cynthia Nabozny, Matias Mora & Mia Minichiello), Promising Young Woman (Focus Features); “I’ll Be Singing” (Sinéad O’Connor), Wild Mountain Thyme (Bleecker Street); and “The Plan” (Jacques Webster II (Travis Scott), Ludwig Göransson & Ebony Oshunrinde), Tenet (Warner Bros.).