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. This year voters skipped past hit songs from Disney movies like “Mulan.”
This year’s current frontrunner is “Hamilton” Tony and Grammy winner and rookie Oscar contender Leslie Odom Jr., who follows Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), Lady Gaga (“A Star is Born”), and Mary J. Blige (“Mudbound”) as a dual Oscar nominee for songwriting and acting, for the Sam Cooke-inspired “Speak Now” from Regina King’s “One Night in Miami.” Odom collected a win at the Critics Choice Awards. Best Song could be the film’s only Oscar.
Scoring a Golden Globe win and Critics Choice nomination was Oscar bridesmaid Diane Warren‘s “Io Si (Seen)” from Edoardo Ponti’s Italian heart-tugger “The Life Ahead” (Netflix), starring his mother Sophia Loren. 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.
Oscar contenders are listed in order of their likelihood to win. No film will be considered a frontrunner unless I have seen it.
“Speak Now,” written by Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth (“One Night in Miami,” Amazon Studios)
“Io Si (Seen),” written by Diane Warren (“The Life Ahead,” Netflix)
“Fight for You,” written by H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas (“Judas and the Black Messiah,” Warner Bros.)
“Húsavík,” written by Savan Kotecha, Rickard Goransson, Fat Max Gsus (“Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga,” Netflix)
“Hear My Voice,” written by Daniel Pemberton and Celeste (“The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Netflix)