Lin-Manuel Miranda is in with a chance to claim the elusive Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony combo
Pity poor Philip Michael Thomas, who, yet again, has failed to be nominated for an Academy Award and who won’t be taking home the Oscar on Sunday night.
The actor, who reached the peak of his profession while starring in Miami Vice in the 1980s, is perhaps better remembered these days as the coiner of the EGOT, after he took to wearing a large golden medallion festooned with the four letters. Standing for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony, to EGOT was Thomas’s dream, telling an interviewer in 1984 that “Hopefully in the next five years I will win all of those awards.”
A quick glance at the actors IMDb profile would indicate that it’s not just with Oscar that Philip Michael Thomas is struggling. He has yet to claim an Emmy. And a Tony. He doesn’t even have a Grammy. Obama has two. In fact, beyond a meagre Golden Globe nomination in 1986 and a TV Land Award nod for him and Don Johnson two decades later, the trophy cabinet is looking a little bare.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, on the other hand, may well become the 13th person in the world to EGOT this Sunday night, while simultaneously becoming both the youngest person to ever claim the title, and doing it in the shortest period of time. Not only is his hip-hop stage musical Hamilton the toast of Broadway, with waiting lists for tickets so long that the calls to boycott the show after the cast politely called out Mike Pence were widely mocked online, but he’ll have EGOT-ed in less than a decade, nabbing that record from songwriter Robert Lopez who’ll just have to Let It Go.
Miranda won the first of his three Tonys in 2008 for In the Heights, while also nabbed him his first of two Grammys the following year. Hamilton brought the other two Tonys and a second Grammy, and he took home a Primetime Emmy in 2014 for, aptly, the Bigger, the opening musical number from the 2013 Tony Awards.
Now, he’ll be hoping How Far I’ll Go, a song from the delightfully charming Disney animation Moana will guarantee Miranda his place in the awards season pop-culture pantheon, though he’ll have to beat two different musical numbers from La La Land, a soulful ballad from Sting, and Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling, a song so thirsty it wasn’t even the best interval song performed at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Only 12 other men and women have secured the iconic EGOT: Four actresses (Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Whoopi Goldberg) four composers (Richard Rodgers, Marvin Hamlisch, Jonathan Tunick, Robert Lopez), one actor (John Gielgud), one producer (Scott Rudin), and then Mel Brooks and Mike Nichols, who each won for various different skills.
Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, James Earl Jones, Alan Menken and Harry Belafonte also have a claim, though purists would argue one of their EGOT four was awarded in honorary or non-competitive categories, the slackers.
Miranda won’t be the only person in the Kodak Theatre with eyes on the EGOT prize, though. When Viola Davis inevitably claims the ‘Best Supporting Actress’ gong on Sunday night for her role in Fences, she’ll join the (very long) waiting list of 75%ers, performers and showbiz titans who need just one more to complete the set. Davis, who claimed a Tony for the stage version of Fences on Broadway, is set to become the 25th person gunning for a Grammy to complete the set. There are 22 waiting for the Oscar to go their way, 19 waiting on a Tony, and 10 in need of an Emmy, though as 26 of these are dead, they’ve already met their maker without the chance to sport a Philip Michael Thomas neckpiece at the pearly gates.
Though Lin-Manuel Miranda’s chances are slim, after all, just take a look at how far How Far I’ll Go has come in its awards season races so far: nominations at the Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes, Houston Film Critics Society and St Louis Gateway Film Critics Association have seen zero returns. But, seeing how his has starring roles coming in both Mary Poppins Returns and In the Heights, expect Miranda to EGOT before the decade is out.
In the meantime, he can console himself with his Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Genius Grant, and the millions of dollars.