Following their win at the Golden Globes, in the category of Best Original Song – Motion Picture, songwriters Diane Warren and Laura Pausini have locked down an Oscar nomination, which recognized “Io Sì,” the original song they wrote for Italian Netflix drama, The Life Ahead.
While this recognition brought Warren to a career total of 12 noms, it happened to mark the first for Pausini, who’s referred to by her collaborator as “the best singer in Italy.”
“For Italy, this is an honor,” Pausini said. “I’m happy to be part of this project because this is a project we made as a family.”
While Warren is no newcomer to the Oscars competition, getting nominated for her songs never gets old. “This is so great, it really is, and so exciting,” she said. “I haven’t won yet, so maybe Laura, you’re my lucky charm here.”
Directed by Edoardo Ponti, The Life Ahead centers on Madame Rosa (Sophia Loren), a Holocaust survivor and former prostitute, who now runs a daycare for the children of “working girls.” After being robbed by a 12-year-old street kid named Momo (Ibrahima Gueye), Rosa reluctantly agrees to take him into her home, developing a bond with the boy she never could have imagined.
“When I first read the script, it just really touched me. It was such a beautiful story about understanding,” Warren recalled. “The world doesn’t see [the two main characters], but they’re these beautiful people, and through seeing each other with their hearts, they love and see each other.”
Naturally, given her perspective on the script, Warren would orient her song for the film around the notion of the universal need to feel seen. “‘Seen’ is a very short word, and it means the world,” Pausini said. “Because if you think about the world we’re living in now, the word ‘seen’ is like a vaccum, like a protection.”
For the Italian singer-songwriter, the song and its message hit particularly close to home right now, given the fact that Italy has just entered lockdown for the third time, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. “It’s really tough,” she said, “and the song means even more than ever.”
On “Io Sì”—the first Oscar-nominated song to be sung entirely in Italian—Warren and Pausini share writing credit with Niccolò Agliardi.
Surely, the pair’s collaboration here won’t be their last. “Diane is my heart now,” Pausini said. “What more can I say?”
At the 93rd Academy Awards, “Io Sì” will be pitted against songs from Judas and the Black Messiah, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga and One Night in Miami. Nominees for Judas’ “Fight for You” include H.E.R., Dernst Emile II and Tiara Thomas. Noms for “Hear My Voice,” from Trial, are Daniel Pemberton and Celeste Waite. The writers of “Husavik,” from Eurovision, include Savan Kotecha, Fat Max Gsus and Rickard Göransson. And finally, there’s Leslie Odom Jr. and Sam Ashworth, who will represent Miami with their song, “Speak Now.”