Even though he only learned of his Academy Award nomination a few hours ago, Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer of best original song nominee “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana, already knows who his date to the Oscars will be: “My mom called dibs when I was a little kid,” he says with a laugh.
As a longtime lover of the telecast, Miranda is almost as excited about going to the Feb. 26 ceremony as he is about being nominated. "It’s so crazy, dude! I’m an Academy Awards dork. I’d cry at the Chuck Workman montages. I’d wait for them to shout out to Bill Conti when he was conducting. I’d memorize Billy Crystal’s monologues that he used to write with Marc Shaiman, who I’m working on with Mary Poppins Returns right now, so to get to go to that party is really a great thrill.”
“How Far I’ll Go” is one of several tunes Miranda wrote (many of them with Grammy-winning composer Mark Mancina and Somoan Opetaia Foa’i) for the Disney picture, which is also up for a best animated feature Oscar. To get into the song’s mindset of a teenager’s sense of yearning and adventure, he revisited his childhood bedroom and his own desires to expand beyond Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood.