Robert Lopez became the latest member of the EGOT family, adding an Oscar to his three Tonys, two Emmys and a Grammy. Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, won the Best Song Oscar Sunday for “Let it Go,” the hit single from Disney’s animated feature “Frozen.”
Steven Price won the Oscar for score for his work on “Gravity.” Both were considered favorites in their categories.
The Lopezes delivered their thank-you’s by alternating their way down a list of names, stopping at one point to sing “Happy Oscar to you/Let’s do ‘Frozen 2’.” While a stage version of the musical film is in the works, Disney has not given a greenlight to a sequel.
The Original Song Oscar joins Lopez’s Tonys for “The Book of Mormon” and “Avenue Q,” his Emmys for Nickelodeon’s “The Wonder Pets” and the musical theater album Grammy for “Book of Mormon.” Richard Rodgers is the only other songwriter to win each of the trophies for composing; producer Scott Rudin was the last person to go for the cycle.
In other music-related wins, films about musicians swept the documentary categories, Morgan Neville’s “20 Feet From Stardom” winning for feature and Malcolm Clarke’s “The Lady in Number 6” winning for a short. “The Lady in Number 6” told the story of Holocaust survivor Alice Herz Sommer, a pianist who talks about the importance of music and optimism in the film. She died Feb. 23 at the age of 110.
“20 Feet From Stardom,” which premiered at Sundance in 2013 was released in June by Radius-TWC, chronicled the careers of background singers on rock and soul records of the 20th century.
In his acceptance speech, Neville recalled the words of producer Gil Friesen, the former A&M Records president who died just after the film was finished in November 2012. “This was his idea and it was his baby,” Neville said. “And when I first met with him I remember he said, ‘I want to win an Oscar. I remember thinking, ‘You’re crazy… that will never happen.’”
Backstage, Neville further explained the film that has helped pump up the careers of Darlene Love and Merry Clayton. “It’s the secret history of pop music. But to me it’s about more than just pop music. The thing I realized when I was making it is that we’re all backup singers. I mean, most of us aren’t rock stars; most of us aren’t presidents. Most of us are backup singers. What I’ve found is, is the people see themselves in this experience.”
It is the second time music-oriented documentaries have won in back-to-back years: “Woodstock” won in 1969 and “Arthur Rubenstein – The Love of Life,” about the classical pianist, received the statue a year later.
Beyond the performances of the nominated songs by Pharrell Williams, U2, Idina Menzel and Karen O and Ezra Koenig, Pink offered a salute to Judy Garland and the 75th anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” with a powerful – and non-theatrical – performance of Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Bette Midler sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” following the in memoriam segment that included a handful of people whose work crossed over into music: documentarian Les Blank, singer Annette Funicello, former Fantasy Records owner Saul Zaentz, composer Riz Ortolani and sound guru Ray Dolby.
The song category has rarely seen such high-profile nominees whose songs became bona fide hits during the Oscar campaigns. This week, three of the four songs are in the Hot 100, led by Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” at No. 1; the “Frozen” soundtrack spent four non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 earlier this year.
For Price, a Brit, “Gravity” was the first film he has scored after working for years as a film editor. Both Price and the Lopezes dedicated their awards to their families, Price tying in the them of getting an astronaut home to his own private life.
Anderson-Lopez said the song is inspired by their girls “and the hope that you never let fear or shame keep you from celebrating the unique people you are.”
One musician, Thirty Seconds to Mars’ Jared Leto, received an Oscar for his acting, taking home the supporting actor trophy for his work in “Dallas Buyers Club.” He delivered the evening’s first heartfelt speech, touching on family, international politics and the subject of the film, AIDS. Backstage he explained his reasons for mentioning places of civil unrest.
“Global issues impact us in a really direct way,” he said. “Let me give you an example. We have a show in the Ukraine in a couple of weeks. We have a show in Thailand in a few weeks. We had a show in Venezuela in the works. So, these things, social unrest, you know, social issues like this affect us in a really immediate way. So, I felt on behalf of the people that I interact with on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook, and my own interests as, you know, a global-being a person in a global band, it was important to address those things.”