Diane Warren is getting up there on the all-time list of top Oscar nominees for best original song. Her nod this year for “Applause,” sung by Sofia Carson in Tell It Like a Woman, is her 14th — a tally equaled by only seven other songwriters in the 89-year history of the category).
Moreover, this is the sixth year in a row she has been nominated, the longest continuous run streak of nominations in this category since Alan Bergman and his late wife Marilyn Bergman were nominated six years running from 1968-73. (Their streak was bookended by two winners – “The Windmills of Your Mind” and “The Way We Were.”)
Only two other songwriters in Oscar history have had six or more consecutive nods. Mack David, the older brother of Hal David (of Bacharach & David fame), was nominated every year from 1961-66. He never won. Sammy Cahn holds the all-time records both for the most consecutive years with a best original song nod (eight, from 1954-61) and most total nods in that category (26). Cahn won a record-tying four Oscars in the category.
If you’re looking for a common denominator among Warren’s best original song nominees – besides quality – good luck. Three of them reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but several others didn’t even crack the chart. Three are from blockbuster action films, but several others are from smaller indie films that barely made a dent at the boxoffice.
Four of the 14 songs, including the current one, are from films directed by women. That’s far higher than the industry-wide percentage of films directed by women. The only director Warren has worked with on two nominated songs is Michael Bay. She wrote songs for his blockbusters Armageddon (“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”) and Pearl Harbor (“There You’ll Be”).
Warren received an honorary Oscar in November. She’s only the fifth person in Oscar history – and the first person from the world of music – to receive an honorary Oscar and a competitive Oscar nomination in the same awards year. Warren, 66, has the work ethic of a songwriter half her age, one still trying to make her mark. That could be her secret.
Let’s take a closer look at Warren’s best original song nominees. The films’ worldwide box-office receipts are taken from boxofficemojo.com (rounded off to the nearest million). In two cases where the film grossed less than $1 million, we show the exact tally.
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