'Off the Cuff' Podcast: Oscar Nominee Diane Warren Says "Come On, Lucky Seven!"

Courtesy of Point Foundation
Diane Warren

The prolific songwriter hopes for her first Oscar win in twenty-seven years of being nominated.

Diane Warren was surprisingly chipper the morning after the Grammy Awards, when she joined Off the Cuff to chat about her Oscar-nominated song "Grateful" from the romantic indie Beyond the Lights. With no horses in the race this year she had watched the Grammys at home with friends (Diane Warren: just like us!) and was happy to see Beck take home album of the year.

"Whenever there's something that you don't expect, it's kind of cool," she says. "'Oh, Beyonce didn't get that, Sam Smith didn't get that.' No, Beck did!"

Warren, of course, has won a Grammy herself ("my little lonely one" she calls it) for the 1996 Celine Dion hit "Because You Loved Me," a song she wrote about her father's support when Warren decided, at a very young age, that songwriting was her destiny.

"I either willed myself to be that or I just knew myself to be that," she recalls. "Or a little of both." Her early intuition turned out to be right, with a career full of No. 1's and nominations, but none of that makes her desire to win an Oscar this year any weaker.

"It's my song and I'm proud of it. The chance of that song being nominated was probably 1 percent," she says gratefully, but can't help pointing out that she's a "six-time loser. Come on, lucky seven!"

Her first Oscar nod came in 1988 for "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" from the movie Mannequin, a song that was also featured prominently in last year's Kristen Wiig/Bill Hader Sundance hit The Skeleton Twins. Warren wonders why that film wasn't a bigger hit ("It was a really cool movie") but she's even more concerned with what she calls the "badly marketed" Beyond the Lights, a movie she accurately points out was critically beloved and topically important but quickly faded from theaters after its release.

"They were trying to sell it like The Bodyguard. It wasn't like The Bodyguard at all," she says, adding that director Gina Prince-Bythewood was "snubbed" by the Academy. Warren has also had a hard time getting the artist who sings the song for the film, Rita Ora, to promote it during this critical voting period, an issue she has been unapologetically (but politely) vocal about.

"How hard is it to do a video? How hard is it to sing it on a couple of TV shows?" she asks. "Gina tried to call Rita and her people and didn't get a response." But ultimately she shrugs this off just like all other obstacles she's met in her illustrious career.

"I always want to prove people wrong," she states proudly. "It's my favorite thing to do."

Maybe she'll get the chance to do just that come Oscar Sunday.

Listen to Warren's' full interview in this episode of Off the Cuff and be sure to subscribe to #THRpodcasts on iTunes for all the latest episodes.

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