The coronavirus pandemic has forced the delay of the Academy Awards until April of 2021, closed theaters, canceled or postponed festivals, shifted countless release dates and switched up the Oscars nominations process itself (as long as a theatrical release was planned, movies that stream online or premiere via an online festival are eligible).
But as Oscar season slowly begins to bloom, some things remain — like an early potential Best Original Song contender from 11-time nominee Diane Warren: “Free,” performed by Charlie Puth over the end credits of Disney’s new movie, “The One and Only Ivan.”
Of the ballad, Warren says, “I’m so proud to have written the song ‘Free’ for Thea Sharrock’s amazing movie ‘The One and Only Ivan.’ The theme of this movie deeply touched my heart and I hope my song deeply touches yours as well. Charlie Puth brought this song to life in a way nobody else could. It is a very special and meaningful song to me, and I hope it becomes one for you as well. I hope it makes you feel a little more free.”
While Warren has yet to win an Oscar despite all those nominations, perhaps Puth will be the charm: he is credited with one of the most successful movie songs of all time, “See You Again” from the “Fast and Furious 7” (4.5 billion views on YouTube and counting). He said, “It was very exciting to work on this movie and to collaborate with the incomparable Diane Warren on the song “Free,” I can’t wait for everyone to hear what we created together for this special film.”
“The One and Only Ivan” marries CGI and photo-real technology and tells the story of Ivan, a 400-pound silverback gorilla who shares a communal habitat in a suburban shopping mall with Stella the elephant, Bob the dog, and various other animals. He has few memories of the jungle where he was captured, but when a baby elephant named Ruby arrives, it touches something deep within him. Ruby is recently separated from her family in the wild, which causes him to question his life, where he comes from and where he ultimately wants to be.
“The One and Only Ivan” is streaming on Disney Plus. The single and soundtrack are out now.