The rousing, life-affirming “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from Rocketman (Paramount) won the Oscar for best original song at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday (Feb. 9). Elton John co-wrote the song with his long-time collaborator, Bernie Taupin. It’s John’s second Oscar win; Taupin’s first.
Both songwriters saluted their long partnership in their acceptance speeches at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. “Thank you to Bernie who has been a constant in my life, when I was screwed up, when I was normal, he’s always been there for me,” John said.
“Being here with this guy, I don’t have words for it,” Taupin said. “This is justification for 53 years of just hammering it out and doing what we do.”
Taupin also thanked John’s husband, David Furnish, who is one of the producers of Rocketman: “Your tenacity and dedication has driven this train all the way here.”
The win enabled John to set a new record as the songwriter with the longest span of wins in the best original song category—26 years. He took the 1994 award for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from the original The Lion King. The old record for the longest span of best song winners was held by James Van Heusen, whose wins spanned 20 years—from “Swinging on a Star” (1944) through “Call Me Irresponsible” (1963).
In addition, John, 72, becomes the second-oldest winner in the history of the category. The oldest is Gulzar, who was 74 when he won for writing the lyrics to “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire (2008). Taupin, 69, becomes the third-oldest winner in the history of the category.
John is just the second openly gay songwriter to win twice for best original song. The first was Howard Ashman, who teamed with Alan Menken to write “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid and “Beauty and the Beast” from the film of the same name. Ashman was still living when “Under the Sea” won; he had died of AIDS by the time “Beauty and the Beast” won.
John and Taupin also won the Golden Globe for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again.” John noted in his Globes acceptance speech that that marked the first major award they had won together. Incredibly, John and Taupin have shared just one Grammy nomination—best original score written for a motion picture or a television special for their score to the 1971 British film Friends. “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” was entered for best song written for visual media at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, but, true to form, was passed over for a nod.
This is the second year in a row that the Golden Globe winner for best original song has gone on to win the Oscar. “Shallow” from A Star Is Born won both awards last year. One song has won both awards in six of the last 10 years.