For a dozen or more reasons, Diane Warren would be thrilled to win an Oscar for Best Original Song for her work on “The Life Ahead” with Sophia Loren.
A trophy for the song from the Italian-language film, “Io Si (Seen)”, would be Warren’s first after 11 previous Oscar nominations.
“Yeah, that would be great to win. It would be (expletive) great,” Warren said. “I feel like a team that has competed in the World Series for decades and decades, and never wins.”
A triumph would be especially sweet for the seasoned songwriter whose first Oscar nomination dates back to 1988 (for the romantic comedy “Mannequin”). The Oscars ceremony, initially scheduled for February and delayed by the pandemic, airs on April 25, the birthday of her late father, David Warren, and a coincidence she calls “too cool.”
“He believed in me so much that he would take me to music publishers when I was 14 or 15,” Warren said. “My mom would say, ‘Why are you doing this? Why are you encouraging her? She can’t live on this.'”
Warren, who grew up in Los Angeles, recounted her father’s response: “She’s got talent. She really, really wants it.”
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His gifts and drive have led to success in a range of pop music and film genres, with his past Oscar contenders including “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” from Aerosmith and featured in “Armageddon” in 1998. It was a hit song, one of Warren’s many songs that include Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time”. Throw in a big name – Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga – and Warren probably worked with them.
She is an avowed workaholic who usually writes solo but joined Common on the 2019 Oscar nominated film “Stand Up for Something” for “Marshall,” a biopic about the late United States Supreme Court justice. -United, Thurgood Marshall.
“The Life Ahead” brought a new form of collaboration. Warren had written the music and lyrics for the song when director Edoardo Ponti – Loren’s son – realized the Italian-language film needed lyrics to match. Italian pop singer-songwriter Laura Pausini has been recruited for the task and shares the Oscar nomination.
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Warren’s music and lyrics are “amazing,” said Pausini, who recorded “Io Si” for the film. The song and the movie have the same message, “and that’s the goal.”
In “The Life Ahead”, Loren plays old Madame Rosa, a former prostitute and Holocaust survivor who helps sex workers by fostering their children. She reluctantly adds an orphan and tough young Senegalese known as Momo to her little offspring, and the couple gradually shift from distrust to love. Impressive newcomer Ibrahima Gueye, himself an immigrant to Italy from Senegal, plays the boy.
The third film adaptation of Romain Gary’s 1975 novel “Life Before Us” is a heart-wrenching story of those who live on the fringes of – and are largely invisible to – society, which prompted Warren to approach to the song.
“The first thing I found, sitting at my piano, was, ‘I want you to know you’re seen,’ she said, breaking briefly into an a cappella performance. so simple but it’s so deep, because we all want to be seen. “
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The song became an integral part of the film, heard in its translated version on the closing scene. Filmmaker Ponti readily gives credit to Warren, who approached him in 2019 before “The Life Ahead” went into production with Ponti’s legendary mother.
“I hadn’t even considered having a song in the movie,” he says. “She grabbed the script and something clicked for her. So when something clicks for Diane Warren, you just say, ‘Absolutely, I would like a song in my movie because Diane Warren is a great artist.'”
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When Warren came to her Los Angeles-area home early last year to showcase her creation, she was wearing a cast from a domestic accident, Ponti, a writer and director, recalled.
“With her broken hand and her guitar, she sang the song in my living room,” he said, recalling it as “a very bright day” in the ascending experience of making a movie.
It’s a cliché, but Warren says being nominated is truly an honor. Of the many songs introduced in films each year, she said, only five are honored by the academy’s music branch with “the best songwriters on the planet, the best songwriters, the best of the best. best ”.
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Other contenders include “Speak Now” from “One Night in Miami …” written by Leslie Odom Jr., a supporting actor nominated for the film, and Sam Ashworth.
Whatever happens on Oscar night, Warren thinks that “Io Si (Seen)” is destined to become evergreen covered by other artists. She has seen him quite often, but remains far from tired by the influence of his work.
“I’m sitting in my little room on my own (writing), and somehow the song touches people, makes them cry and makes them feel something,” he said. she declared. “It’s always amazing.”
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