Dear Diane Warren: Here’s How to Win a Best Original Song Oscar in 2021

Diane Warren poses for a portrait
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutt

Dear Diane Warren,

We’re sad. When you didn’t win the best original song Oscar on Sunday’s telecast, it was like we too had been handed our 11th rejection in a row. We’ve been on this journey with you, and gosh darn it, your time to be “Academy Award winner Diane Warren” is long overdue.

In fact, we were in the room last Sunday night and we really felt your loss. After weeks of analyzing odds and stats in the pages of Variety‘s Contenders section, we were rallying for you to go home accompanied by a dashing golden guy. And when Elton John and Bernie Taupin took the top prize, we weren’t angry about it, but rather, defeated. Some even felt confused — after seeing you on the red carpet dubbing yourself the Susan Lucci of the Oscars, they wondered: Why was this so?

If we could make a suggestion to address that question: How about a return to the power ballad? The undeniable earworm with the bigger-than-life chorus; the song we love to hate; the Diane Warren anthem. Give us a song we’ll be singing through Valentine’s Day and on to bar mitzvahs, karaoke nights and weddings for years to come. As much as we love the message songs of the last few years — “Stand Up for Something,” “I’m Standing With You,” sensing a trend here —  let’s return to themes of simpler times: like love and valor and broken hearts. That’s what we crave.

And another thing: Write a song for a blockbuster. If there’s one thing “Titanic” taught us, it’s that two people can fit on a door, and also that a gusher of a song can soundtrack even the most dire of moments. You got close with “Armageddon” and Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing,” among the most commercial of your movie offerings, but close is no Oscar.  And “Breakthrough” is no “Titanic.”

The Academy’s Music branch loves you dearly and that’s why they keep voting for your songs to be nominated. They  have spoken and they want you in the race, so give the people what they want. Try it for 2021 and let’s see how it goes. You are the most nominated female in Academy history to never have won and have given us some of the most ubiquitous songs of our lifetime, and you deserve to hear that walk-to-the-stage music accompanied by, “And the Oscar goes to…”