Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”) is in a heated Best Actress Oscar race with Glenn Close (“The Wife”) and Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”), but even if she comes up short there, chances are she’ll still leave Oscar night a winner. Gaga is considered a near lock to prevail in Best Original Song with “Shallow,” which would make her just the 14th woman to win the category.
Best Original Song was first introduced at the 7th Academy Awards, honoring the films of 1934, but like nearly all of the non-gendered categories, it’s been dominated by men. Dorothy Fields was the first woman to win the category for co-writing “The Way You Look Tonight” from “Swing Time” (1936) with Jerome Kern, but it would be another 32 years before a second woman triumphed; Marilyn Bergman won for penning “The Windmills of Your Mind” from “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) with Michel Legrand and her husband Alan Bergman.
Bergman scored a second Oscar for the title song from “The Way We Were” (1973), this time shared with her husband and Marvin Hamlisch. Three years later, Barbra Streisand became the first female composer to win, for crafting “Evergreen” from her version of “A Star Is Born” (1976) with lyricist Paul Williams.
The ’80s saw four female champs, notably Carly Simon, who became the first solo woman to take home the Best Original Song Oscar, with “Let the River Run” from “Working Girl” (1988). Simon is also the first person to win the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe for a song written, composed and performed by one artist; Bruce Springsteen has since achieved the same feat with “Streets of Philadelphia” from “Philadelphia” (1993).
The ’90s, a decade ruled by Alan Menken and Tim Rice, had zero female champs, but there have been six this century. Annie Lennox and Fran Walsh are the first women to share a win, garnering the award for “Into the West,” which they wrote with Howard Shore, from “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003). Melissa Etheridge joined Simon as a solo female winner, with “I Need to Wake Up” from “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006). Marketa Irglova, who co-wrote “Falling Slowly” from “Once” (2007) with Glen Hansard, was memorably brought back out by host Jon Stewart to deliver her speech that was cut off.
Adele‘s victory, with Paul Epworth, for the title track from “Skyfall” (2012) marked the first time a Bond song won. And in March, Kristen Anderson-Lopez joined Bergman as the category’s only two-time female champs when she prevailed for “Remember Me” from “Coco” (2017), four years after sweeping the season with “Let It Go” from “Frozen” (2013). Just like Bergman, Anderson-Lopez won both alongside her own husband, double EGOTer Robert Lopez.
While the Best Original Song category isn’t open in our predictions center yet, “Shallow” is shaping up to be one of those undeniable smashes that runs the table — Grammys included. Written by Gaga, Andrew Wyatt, Anthony Rossomando and Mark Ronson, the earworm ballad is the de facto anthem from “A Star Is Born” and has been killing it on the charts worldwide, hitting No. 1 in multiple countries, from Australia to Iceland. It’s currently enjoying its fourth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Digital Songs chart.
Plus, not that anyone is owed an Oscar, but Gaga was predicted to win for “Til It Happens to You,” from the campus sexual assault documentary “The Hunting Ground” (2015), which she wrote with Diane Warren. Then-VP Joe Biden introduced her powerful performance at the Oscars, which featured more than 50 sexual assault survivors coming out on stage in solidarity. But Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes ended up winning for “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre.” No offense to Smith and Napes, but it was one of those situations where you feel like people may have voted differently if they’d seen that performance first.
Gaga could find herself up against Warren this time. The nine-time nominee is campaigning with “I’ll Fight” from the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG” and sadly not with “Why Did You Do That?” from “A Star Is Born.”
See all the female Best Original Song winners below.
1. Dorothy Fields: “The Way You Look Tonight” from “Swing Time” (1936) — shared with Jerome Kern
2. Marilyn Bergman: “The Windmills of Your Mind” from “The Thomas Crown Affair” (1968) — shared with Michel Legrand and Alan Bergman; “The Way We Were” from “The Way We Were” (1973) — shared with Marvin Hamlisch and Alan Bergman
3. Barbra Streisand: “Evergreen” from “A Star Is Born” (1976) — shared with Paul Williams
4. Carole Bayer Sager: “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” from “Arthur” (1981) — shared with Burt Bacharach, Christopher Cross and Peter Allen
5. Buffy Sainte-Marie: “Up Where We Belong” from “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982) — shared with Jack Nitzsche and Will Jennings
6. Irene Cara: “Flashdance… What a Feeling” from “Flashdance” (1983) — shared with Giorgio Moroder and Keith Forsey
7. Carly Simon: “Let the River Run” from “Working Girl” (1988)
8. Annie Lennox: “Into the West” from “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) — shared with Howard Shore and Fran Walsh
9. Fran Walsh: “Into the West” from “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) — shared with Annie Lennox and Howard Shore
10. Melissa Etheridge: “I Need to Wake Up” from “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006)
11. Marketa Irglova: “Falling Slowly” from “Once” (2007) — shared with Glen Hansard
12. Adele: “Skyfall” from “Skyfall” (2012) — shared with Paul Epworth
13. Kristen Anderson-Lopez: “Let It Go” from “Frozen” (2013) — shared with Robert Lopez; “Remember Me” from “Coco” (2017) — shared with Robert Lopez
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on January 22.