When Julie Andrews receives the AFI’s Life Achievement Award at a gala in Los Angeles on April 25, 2020, she’ll become just the fifth person best-known for music and/or movie musicals to receive that honor. She’ll follow Fred Astaire (1981), Gene Kelly (1985), Barbra Streisand (2001) and composer John Williams (2016).
This got us to wondering: What other film music stars and composers deserve to be considered for this singular honor? All honorees have to be living, which unfortunately rules out such film music legends as Elvis Presley and Doris Day.
Here are 12 top candidates. Some of them are still mid-career and could use some more film hits to strengthen their case for consideration, but they have time.
The actor, 65, starred in Saturday Night Fever and Grease, both of which spawned long-running No. 1 soundtrack albums on the Billboard 200. He even topped the Billboard Hot 100 with “You’re the One That I Want,” a duet with Olivia Newton-John. Travolta was Oscar-nominated for best actor for Fever (1977) and Pulp Fiction (1994).
The indestructible star, 73, won an Oscar for best actress in Moonstruck (1987) and was nominated for her supporting role in Silkwood (1983). She co-starred with Christina Aguilera in Burlesque (2010) and had a film-stealing cameo in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).
Midler, 73, received Oscar noms for best actress for The Rose (1979) and For the Boys (1991). Beaches (1988) spawned the No. 1 Hot 100 smash “Wind Beneath My Wings,” which went on to win Grammys for record and song of the year.
Minnelli, 73, won a best actress Oscar for Cabaret (1972) and was nominated for The Sterile Cuckoo (1969). She introduced “Theme From New York, New York” (1977), which became a Grammy song of the year nominee three years later when Frank Sinatra covered it.
Foxx, 51, won an Oscar for best actor for playing Ray Charles in Ray (2004). That same year, he was nominated for his supporting role in Collateral. In 2006, he topped the Billboard 200 for three weeks with Unpredictable.
The actor, 51, received an Oscar nom for best actor for Les Misérables (2012). The soundtracks to two of his films, Les Misérables and The Greatest Showman (2017), topped the Billboard 200.
The star, 50, won an Oscar for her supporting role in Cold Mountain (2003) and was nominated for best actress for Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and Chicago (2002). She could win a second Oscar next year for playing Judy Garland in Judy.
Morricone, 90, received an honorary Oscar in 2006 and finally received his first competitive Oscar for scoring The Hateful Eight (2015). He has received six best score nominations spanning five decades.
Menken, 70, has won eight Oscars: song and score awards for The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992) and Pocahontas (1995). He has amassed 19 Oscar nominations across four decades.
Newman, 75, has won two Oscars for “If I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc. (2001) and “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 (2010). He has amassed 20 Oscar noms across four decades.
Alan & Marilyn Bergman
The husband-and-wife team won Oscars for “The Windmills of Your Mind” (1968), “The Way We Were” (1973) and the song score to Streisand’s passion project Yentl (1983). The team has amassed 15 best song nominations — more than any other living songwriters. Alan is 94. Marilyn is 89.
The indefatigable songwriter, 63, has amassed 10 Oscar noms for best song. She wrote eight of them by herself, but teamed with Lady Gaga to write “Til It Happens to You” (2015) and with Common to write “Stand Up for Something” (2017).
Andrews has had a unique recording career. Two of her film soundtracks reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200: Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, both in 1965. Two of her Broadway cast albums reached No. 1: My Fair Lady in 1957 and Camelot in 1961.
But, for whatever reason, she never established herself as a recording artist apart from theatrical properties. Her only non-film, non-Broadway album to crack the Billboard 200 was Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, a live album with Carol Burnett that was the soundtrack to their Emmy-winning TV special. The album reached No. 85 in 1962.
Her only Hot 100 single was “Super-cali-fragil-istic-expi-ali-docious,” a novelty song from Mary Poppins on which she teamed with Dick Van Dyke and the Pearlies. The song reached No. 66 in 1965.
Andrews had a glorious voice, but it may have been too legitimate for her to gain traction as a pop artist. In recognition of her soundtrack and cast album successes, the Recording Academy gave Andrews a lifetime achievement award in 2011.
Andrews has won an Oscar (for Mary Poppins, 1964), two Grammys (for Mary Poppins and Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, And Lullabies, 2010) and two Emmys (for The Julie Andrews Hour, 1973, and Broadway: The American Musical, 2005). She never won a Tony, despite nominations for My Fair Lady (1957), Camelot (1961) and Victor/Victoria (1996).