A person you’ve probably never heard of is on the verge of making Hollywood history.
Robert Lopez’s Oscar nomination for Best Original Song means he’s in line to join the exclusive EGOT club.
Why is it such a big deal? Reaching EGOT status means the person has won the four biggest awards in the American entertainment industry: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. It’s no small feat to earn just one of these major accolades, which is why earning all four is sometimes referred to as the Grand Slam of Show Business.
Lopez has already won an Emmy (for The Wonder Pets), a Grammy (for the recording of The Book of Mormon) and a Tony (one for Avenue Q and two for The Book of Mormon). He is nominated for a 2014 Academy Award along with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez for writing the song “Let It Go” from Frozen.
To date, only 11 people have been accomplished the true EGOT: Richard Rodgers, Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, John Gielgud, Audrey Hepburn, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Mel Brooks, Mike Nichols, Whoopi Goldberg and as of 2012, Scott Rudin.
Vanity Fair says that this little known honor was coined by Miami Vice’s Philip Michael Thomas, who used to wear a medallion engraved with the acronym “EGOT.” He told People Magazine the chain stood for ”energy, growth, opportunity and talent,” but no one really seemed to care about that part. Especially not Tina Fey, who built a 30 Rock plotline around Tracy Jordan’s quest to EGOT after he “found” Thomas’s chain.
If he wins, Lopez will fit into a long tradition of composers dominating this very short list — Rodgers, Hamlisch and Tunick were all award-winning composers and musicial directors. In all fairness, that makes the most sense. After all, each of the major award shows has at least one award dedicated to songcraft.
Some people are quibbling over the fact that Lopez might not count because he only has a Daytime Emmy. But as The Wire noted, EGOT champion Whoopi Goldberg — also a fellow Daytime Emmy winner — once told Tracy Jordan: “It still counts. Girl’s got to eat.”
Watch the Oscars on Sunday, March 2 to see if Lopez makes EGOT history.
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