This piece has ben updated.
Diane Warren has written more than a dozen songs that have been recognized with Oscar nominations over the past three decades. But despite being nominated 13 times since 1988, she’s never won an Academy Award, making her the most-nominated woman without one.
The songwriter had another chance to finally take home a statue at the 2022 Academy Awards on March 27, this time for the song “Somehow You Do,” performed by country music singer Reba McEntire. Warren’s single is featured in the addiction drama Four Good Days starring Glenn Close (another woman who has been nominated several times, but never won). Instead, Billie Eilish won for her Bond theme.
Warren told The Daily Beast she stayed up all night to listen to this year’s Oscar nominations. When the announcers read out her name for Best Original Song, she said, “it was one of the best moments of my life.”
The late songwriter Sammy Cahn holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for Best Original Song, having been recognized 26 times. Four of Cahn’s songs won the Oscar between 1954 and 1963, three of which were performed by Frank Sinatra.
The only woman nominated for Best Song more times than Warren is Marilyn Bergman, who received 15 nominations alongside her husband Alan. The songwriting pair won the Oscar twice, first for Michel Legrand’s “Windmills of Your Mind,” featured in The Thomas Crown Affair, and later for Barbra Streisand’s “The Way We Were,” which was in the 1973 movie of the same name.
Similarly to Warren, the composer Thomas Newman has been nominated 14 times (pdf) for Best Original Score, and once for Best Original Song, but never won. His father Alfred won Best Score nine times, while cousin Randy has two Oscars for best song.
The songwriter penned “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing,” which was featured in Armageddon and performed by Aerosmith, and wrote Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” for the 1996 drama Up Close and Personal. Both songs were Billboard chart-toppers, but didn’t earn enough votes from the Academy to clinch Oscar wins.
Part of the reason an Oscar remains elusive for Warren is because the competition for musicians is particularly fierce at the Academy Awards. There are just two music categories—awards for Original Score and Original Song—whereas musical artists have a shot at 86 categories at the Grammys, for example. Warren has won a Grammy, an Emmy, and two Golden Globes.