After his recent sweep of the Tony Awards with the tuner “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda could well be the next inductee into the EGOT hall of fame. He is only missing an Oscar and could well win for one of the songs he is composing for the upcoming Disney flick “Moana.” This animated film, set to be released at Thanksgiving, follows the only daughter in a long line of explorers who embarks on an epic journey to help her family and prove her own skills as a navigator.
Miranda won his first Tony for the score to the 2008 Best Musical champ “In the Heights,” which also brought him his first Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. This year, he added two more Tonys as the book writer and composer for “Hamilton,” which had already won him a second Grammy. In between, he claimed an Emmy in the Original Music and Lyrics category as a composer on “Bigger,” the opening number of the 2013 Tony Awards.
Now, with “Moana,” Miranda is playing with a winning hand. A female-centered, Disney animated film released at the end of November. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it also describes “Frozen,” which won Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Original Song (“Let it Go”) in 2013. With a win in that latter race, another Broadway composer, Robert Lopez (“The Book of Mormon,” “Avenue Q”), completed his EGOT run. Were Miranda to win an Oscar this year, he would break two records set by Lopez: youngest EGOT recipient (39; Miranda will be 37 in January) and shortest length of time to achieve distinction (1o years; Miranda started his run in 2008). And he’d the third tunesmith on the list, after Richard Rodgers and Marvin Hamlisch, with a Pulitzer as well.
But it’s more than just the material that works in Miranda’s favor. He is at the center of a cultural phenomenon. “Hamilton,” and by extension Miranda, is everywhere: the cover of Rolling Stone, freestyle rapping with the President. His show, which won a staggering 11 Tonys, had not one, but three performance segments during the awardscast. The cast performed on the Grammys this year just before receiving the award for Best Musical Theater Album. When was the last time a Broadway show was featured on the Grammy’s AND had its category presented during the main telecast? And a special documentary about the musical will air on PBS in October.