EGOT’s, REGOT’s, and Those Who Are On Their Way

With this year’s Academy Awards on March 2, 2014, Robert “Bobby” Lopez became the youngest person ever to be designated an EGOT.  An acronym made up of “Emmy,” “Grammy,” “Oscar,” and “Tony,” this title refers to those extraordinary artists who have earned all four awards over the course of their career.  Upon winning the Oscar for Best Original Song for having written “Let It Go” from the Disney film Frozen, Bobby Lopez entered the prestigious circle of EGOTs, accomplishing it in the shortest amount of time in history: only 10 years.  Lopez’s first EGOT award was 2004 the Tony Award for Best Score, for the raunchy puppet musical Avenue Q.  He also received two Tony Awards in 2011 for The Book of Mormon, for Best Book of a Musical as well as Best Score.  The Book of Mormon also earned him a Grammy in 2012 for Best Musical Theatre Album, and he also earned two Daytime Emmys in 2008 and 2010, both for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition for Nick Jr.’s Wonderpets.

EGOT Necklace on SilhouetteIn addition to Lopez, only eleven individuals have ever earned all four awards.  The first was Richard Rodgers (1902 – 1979), who earned one Academy Award, one Emmy Award, two Grammy Awards, and six Tony Awards, as well as three Special (non-competitive) Tony Awards between 1945 and 1979.  The second was Helen Hayes, who accomplished the mission between 1932, with her Best Actress Oscar win for The Sin of Madelon Claudet, and 1980, with her Special Tony Award for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in the American Theatre.  Interestingly, both Rodgers and Hayes have Broadway theatres named in their honor.  John Gielgud, who has a West End theatre named after him in London, also won all four awards between 1961 and 1991.

Other winners of all four honors include the actors Audrey Hepburn, Rita Moreno, and Whoopi Goldberg, the composers Marvin Hamlisch and Jonathan Tunick, director/screenwriter Mel Brooks, director Mike Nichols, and producer Scott Rudin.  If one takes into account non-competitive awards to determine EGOTs, then three more individuals are added to the list: Barbra Streisand, who only earned a Special Tony Award, Liza Minnelli, who only earned a Special Grammy Award, and James Earl Jones, who only earned a Special Academy Award.  Numerous individuals have also earned the “Triple Crown of Acting,” which refers to earning a Tony, an Emmy, and an Oscar, all in Acting categories.  These include Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, Jack Albertson, Anne Bancroft, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Ellen Burstyn, Melvyn Douglas, Jeremy Irons, Thomas Mitchell, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Vanessa Redgrave, Jason Robards, Geoffrey Rush, Paul Scofield, Maggie Smith, Maureen Stapleton, and Jessica Tandy.

In 1981, an anti-award ceremony was established: the Golden Raspberry Awards, or Razzies for short, which recognize Razzie Award, Raspberrythe worst in film.  In jest, certain people have begun referring to REGOTs, for those who have earned all five awards.  Of course, the R implies a negative achievement, but with the other four positive awards, this five-award recognition is more for fun than to cause shame.  The only person to have earned all five awards is Liza Minnelli, who won a Razzie in 1988 for two movies: Arthur 2: On the Rocks and Rent-a-cop – that is, if you include her Special Grammy Award.  Whoopi Goldberg came close to being a REGOT, as she has been nominated for two Razzies, The Telephone in 1988 and Eddie in 1996.

Different individuals reach this level of achievement for different reasons.  It helps if the artist has a musical bent, as this may allow them to earn a Grammy as well as a music-related Academy Award.  It certainly helps if they are geniuses, and perhaps arrogance and overzealous confidence can also push them along toward this distinction.  In any case, an EGOT is nothing to scoff at, for it represents true appreciation across multiple platforms of success.

Broadway Stars at the 2014 Oscars

Last night, the 86th Annual Academy Awards crossed paths with Broadway in a number of ways.

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For the second year in a row, the event was produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron – who, in addition to having produced the recent Broadway revivals of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Promises, Promises, have perfected the Broadway musical to film adaptation concept with such movie hits as Annie (1999), Chicago (2002), The Music Man (2003), and Hairspray (2007).  They also executive produced NBC’s Broadway-themed TV show Smash.  It does make sense that these producers, with their expertise in the cross-section between theatre and film, would be chosen to run the film industry’s most significant stage show.

Last year, they may have taken the concept a little too far, as they made the unprecedented choice to give the 2013 Oscars a theme: music in film.   Though it was arguably appropriate because one of the nominees was Les Misérables, some critics thought they took the idea too far.  This year, they opted for a traditionally theme-less ceremony, and received far less criticism.  Still, purely on their own merits, some of Broadway’s favorite stars made appearances at the 86th Annual Academy Awards.

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Robert “Bobby” Lopez, who made his big break by co-writing the raunchy puppet musical Avenue Q, and furthered his renown by co-writing The Book of Mormon along with South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, made history last night.  At age 39, he became the youngest person ever to receive the honor known as EGOT – which refers to someone who has earned all four of “Emmy,” “Grammy,” “Oscar,” and “Tony” Awards.  Only twelve people have earned this honor throughout all of history, and he is the only person to have won all four within a decade.  At last night’s event, Bobby won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for having co-written Let It Go from Disney’s film Frozen, which in turn won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.  He wrote the song along with his wife, Kristin Anderson Lopez.

The couple’s two young daughters, Kate and Annie, both had voice parts in Frozen.

Idina-Menzel-oscars-2014-2As is tradition at the Oscars, all the nominees for Best Original Song are performed at the ceremony by the artist who did so in the film.  Idina Menzel, who played Queen Elsa in Frozen, therefore had the privilege to sing the song at last night’s event – and she did so beautifully.  However John Travolta, who was chosen to introduce her, clearly was not familiar with one of Broadway’s biggest stars.  In reading off the teleprompter, he accidentally – and yet with a straight face – called her “Adele Dazim.”  Social media went into an uproar at the ridiculous mispronunciation.  Immediately, a twitter account in that name was created. Adele Dazim’s Twitter account gained thousands of followers within a short period of time. The account is now currently suspended.

Idina Menzel, as all Broadway aficionados know, rose to prominence when she premiered the role of “Maureen” in Rent, which she also reprised in the 2005 film adaptation, and she won the 2004 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance of “Elphaba” in Wicked.  This spring season, she has returned to Broadway to star in a new musical called If/Then, written by Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, and directed by Michael Greif, who first cast her in RentIf/Then will begin previews March 3, 2014, and will open at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on March 30, 2014.  Therefore, Idina made the trip to Los Angeles just days before her big Broadway opening.

Musicals were not the only type of Broadway show to feature in last night’s Academy Awards.  In addition, two nominations were granted to August: Osage County, written by Tracy Letts based off of his Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play of the same name.  Those nominations were for Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, who were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.  Jean Doumanian, the producer of such Broadway shows as August: Osage County, The Mountaintop starring Samuel L. Jackson, Death of a Salesman starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nice Work If You Can Get It starring Matthew Broderick, and The Book of Mormon, produced the movie adaptation of August: Osage County along with George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Steve Traxler, and Bob and Harvey Weinstein.  Though the film did not win any Academy Awards, it has had a profitable theatrical run, and succeeded in proving that a play can be great source material for a successful motion picture.