After 13 nominations, Diane Warren finally gets her Oscar

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Diane Warren was in the recording studio with Sofia Carson working on her new song “Applause” when she received an unexpected phone call earlier this year. It was David Rubin, the former president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and he had some good news: he was getting an Oscar.


What you need to know

  • Diane Warren will collect her honorary statuette on Saturday at the annual Governors Awards
  • Warren had been nominated for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards 13 times
  • Warren will collect his honorary statuette Saturday at the annual Governors Awards, along with fellow recipients Euzhan Palcy, Peter Weir and Michael J. Fox
  • She is the first singer-songwriter to receive the award

“I was like, ‘no, I’m not. I’m the one who always loses,” Warren said in a recent interview with the Associated Press. “I was in complete disbelief.”

The prolific songwriter had been nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars 13 times. And she has gone home empty-handed 13 times, most recently at a ceremony earlier this year. However, Warren, 66, has never been distressed or discouraged by that statistic. He loved playing the game. But he had begun to wonder if he was ever supposed to have one.

Warren will collect his honorary statuette Saturday at the annual Governors Awards, along with fellow recipients Euzhan Palcy, Peter Weir and Michael J. Fox, who is receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. She is the first singer-songwriter to receive the award.

“This is the big Oscar,” he said. “And I still want to win one. But the nomination is the victory. This isn’t the Grammys with, you know, 50 song categories. There are five songs in one category. To hear your name when they say those nominations? It’s like winning the lottery every time.”

The first time she was nominated, for the song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now,” which she co-wrote with Albert Hammond for the movie “Mannequin,” Warren didn’t hear her name mentioned. She didn’t even know the nominations were happening. There were no campaign events or screenings. She seemed to come out of nowhere.

“That was in the old days,” he laughed. “Now I stay up all night. I’m too geeky to go to sleep and not give like—-. I’m just very uncool. And I stay up all night, and I’m happy to be uncool.

Warren developed an early passion for the power of song in film. She recalled “criing her eyes out” listening to John Barry and Don Black’s song for “Born Free” and being moved by Mark London’s song for “To Sir with Love”.

“They moved me viscerally,” she said. “Music doesn’t get to your brain. It gets to your heart. And you combine it with the right film? It’s powerful.

He was, in other words, a natural fit to top his wildly successful career. Some of her most popular Oscar-nominated songs include “Because You Loved Me,” from “Up Close and Personal,” “How Do I Live,” from “Con Air,” and “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” , from “Armageddon”. And she’s gotten a nomination almost every year since 2015.

And, though she loves every Oscar ceremony, she counts Lady Gaga’s 2016 performance of her survivors’ anthem “Til It Happens to You,” from “The Hunting Ground,” as one of her favorite performances ever.

“It was monumental for me,” she said. “He was playing the notes and I have no idea how he played them, but it was so emotional. So when did you get those survivors up when people weren’t really talking about it at the time? I don’t think there was a better performance for me at the Oscars or almost anywhere.

He also loved playing piano at the 2020 Oscars while Laura Pausini sang “Io Sì (Seen)” from “The Life Ahead”.

“It was amazing,” Warren said. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”

Mostly, Warren loves the Oscars and becomes a part of that world. And he found it quite touching to get the call for the award while he was working on “Applause,” which is included in the film “Tell It Like a Woman,” which is made up of seven short films directed by and about women.

The lyrics, he thought, seemed appropriate for the moment: “Give yourself some applause. You deserve it. Give yourself some respect because you’ve earned it. Treat yourself to some love because it’s worth it. You’re worth it. You know, let him know.

“How crazy is that?” Warren said. “I’m in the room doing that song and I go to the other room because the phone just rings? After all these years of trying to get an Oscar it was like, wow, what a moment right?

Now she’s just trying to piece together her thoughts for her speech and she’s pretty sure she’ll start crying immediately when she takes the stage on Saturday.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet,” Warren said. “I know she’s going to really hit me that night. I don’t even know how she’s going to handle it.

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