Oscars 2021: Best Original Song Predictions

The music branch of the Academy often leans into pop stars in this category, partly because the members want to see stars like last year’s winner, Elton John for “Rocketman,” sing their original songs on the Oscar stage. But that may not be possible in this pandemic year. Voters also go for hit songs from Disney animated musicals, like Idina Menzel’s Oscar-winning “Let It Go” juggernaut from “Frozen.″

This year’s animation entries include “Rocket to the Moon,” from veteran Disney animator Glen Keane’s “Over the Moon” (Netflix), and “Just Sing” from “Trolls: World Tour,” Justin Timberlake’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” from 2016’s “Trolls.” Joining him in this year’s pop star contingent is eight-time Grammy nominee Janelle Monáe (“Turntables,” from the election documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy”).

This year’s current frontrunner is “Hamilton” Tony and Grammy winner and rookie Oscar contender Leslie Odom, Jr., who could follow Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) and Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”) as a dual Oscar nominee for songwriting and acting, for the song “Speak Now” from Regina King’s “One Night in Miami,” where he plays soul icon Sam Cooke.

Another potential dual nominee is Andra Day, who not only stars in the title role in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” but cowrote the song “Tigress & Tweed” with Raphael Saadiq. Both songs scored Globe and Critics Choice nods.

So did Oscar bridesmaid Diane Warren’s “Io Si (Seen)” from Edoardo Ponti’s “The Life Ahead” (Netflix), starring his mother Sophia Loren. Warren also has a second song, “Free” ( from Disney+’s “The One and Only Ivan”), in the mix. Last year’s “I’m Standing with You,” sung by Chrissy Metz in the film “Breakthrough,” marked Warren’s 11th nomination. She has never won.

“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”


Potential contenders for the shortlist of 15 are listed in alphabetical order. No film will be considered a frontrunner unless I have seen it.

“Carried Me With You,” written by Brandi Carlile, Phil Hanseroth, Tim Hanseroth (“Onward,” Pixar)
“Everybody Cries,” written by Rod Lurie, Larry Groupé, Rita Wilson (“The Outpost,” Screen Media Entertainment)
“Fight for You,” written by H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” Warner Bros.)
“Hear My Voice,” written by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste (“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Netflix)
“Húsavík,” written by Savan Kotecha, Rickard Goransson, Fat Max Gsus (“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” Netflix)
“(If Only You Could) Save Me,” written by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (“Mank,” Netflix)
“Io Si (Seen),” written by Diane Warren (“The Life Ahead,” Netflix)
“Just Sing,” written by Justin Timberlake, Ludwig Göransson, Max Martin, Sarah Aarons (“Trolls: World Tour,” DreamWorks/Universal Pictures)
“Loyal Brave True,” written by Jamie Hartman, Harry Gregson-Williams, Rosi Golan, Billy Crabtree (“Mulan,” Disney+)
“Never Break,” written by John Legend, Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie, Greg Wells (“Giving Voice,” Netflix)
“Only the Young,” written by Taylor Swift and Joel Little (documentary “Miss Americana,” Netflix)
“Speak Now,” written by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth (“One Night in Miami,” Amazon Studios)
“Tigress & Tweed,” written by Andra Day and Raphael Saadiq (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” Hulu)
“Turntables,” written by Janelle Monáe, Nathaniel Irvin III, George “George 2.0.” A. Peters II (“All In: The Fight for Democracy,” Amazon Studios)
“Wuhan Flu,” written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Erran Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines (“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” Amazon Studios)

“Over the Moon”


“Free,” written by Diane Warren (“The One and Only Ivan,” Disney+)
“Great Unknown,” written by X Ambassadors (“The Call of the Wild,” Fox/Disney)
“Green,” written by Abraham Marder (“Sound of Metal,” Amazon Studios)
“How Can I Tell You,” written by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (documentary “Nasrin,” Kino Marquee)
“The Plan,” written by Travis Scott, Ebony Naomi Oshunrinde, Ludwig Göransson (“Tenet,” Warner Bros.)
“Rain Song,” written by Emile Mosseri (“Minari,” A24)
“Rocket to the Moon,” written by Christopher Curtis, Marjorie Duffield, Helen Park (“Over the Moon,” Netflix)
“See What You’ve Done,” written by Mary J. Blige, Nova Wav, DJ Camper (documentary “Belly of the Beast,” Independent Lens)
“Uh Oh,” written by Cynthia Nabozny, Matias More, Mia Minichiello (“Promising Young Woman,” Focus Features)
“Wear Your Crown,” written by Adam Anders, Peer Astrom, Matthew Sklar, Chad Beguelin (“The Prom,” Netflix)

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