With Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations landing a Tony nomination for best musical on Tuesday (April 30), Motown’s matchless legacy has been saluted in a top category at all four leading awards shows.
Emmy voters twice awarded the prize for outstanding variety, music or comedy program to celebrations of the Motown sound. Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever (1983), in which Michael Jackson famously unveiled his signature moonwalk dance, and Motown Returns to the Apollo (1985) both took that award.
Grammy voters have awarded album of the year to four Motown releases: Stevie Wonder‘s Innervisions (1973), Fulfillingness’ First Finale (1974) and Songs in the Key of Life (1976) and Lionel Richie‘s Can’t Slow Down (1984).
No Motown project has been nominated for an Oscar for best picture yet, but Diana Ross was nominated for best actress for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues (1972). Wonder and Richie both won best original song, for “I Just Called to Say I Love You” (1984) and “Say You, Say Me” (1985), respectively.
Motown the Musical (2013) was nominated for four Tony Awards, but it failed to receive a nom for the top prize, best musical. So this year’s nom in that category for Ain’t Too Proud is a breakthrough for Motown.
Ain’t Too Proud, a jukebox musical built around the music of The Temptations, is competing for best musical with Hadestown, The Prom and musicals based on the hit films Beetlejuice and Tootsie.
Motown’s awards momentum could continue if Emmy voters show some love for Motown 60: a Grammy Celebration, which aired April 21 on CBS. The show featured Ross, Wonder and Smokey Robinson, among others.