As reported by our sister site Deadline, Thomas Kail has been tapped to direct his first ever feature film, “Silver Wings,” which tells the true story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, who were the first female pilots for the American military but were later denied recognition for their service. Could it win Kail an Oscar? If so, that would put him just a Grammy away from completing his EGOT grand slam of entertainment industry awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
Kail crossed the first item off of his list in June 2016, when he won Best Direction of a Musical at the Tonys for a little show called “Hamilton” — perhaps you’ve heard of it. He had previously worked with “Hamilton” creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda on another Broadway show in 2008, “In the Heights,” for which Kail was nominated for a Tony but didn’t win.
Not long thereafter, in September 2016, he picked up a pair of Primetime Emmy Awards for FOX’s “Grease: Live”: Best Variety Special Directing and Best Special Class Program. That was a logistically complex TV remake of the beloved 1978 musical film “Grease,” and it also earned Kail a nomination from the Directors Guild.
In addition to “Grease: Live” his TV directing credits include “2 Broke Girls” and “The Jack and Triumph Show,” but he’s never directed for the big screen. Could he win an Oscar on his first try? He wouldn’t be the first to take home an Academy Award for his debut film as a director. And he wouldn’t even be the first to come from the stage. In 1999 British theater director Sam Mendes made his debut film, “American Beauty,” which won Best Picture and Best Director. Just a few years later Tony nominated theater director and choreographer Rob Marshall earned a Best Director Oscar nom for “Chicago” (2002) which also won Best Picture.
If Kail wins Oscar he’ll just need a Grammy to complete his EGOT. “In the Heights” and “Hamilton” did both win Grammys for Best Musical Theater Album, but Kail wasn’t a performer or a producer of the recordings, so he wasn’t one of the recipients of those awards. Next time around he’ll have to make sure to get his name on the ballot.
“Silver Wings” will be produced by Kail along with Michael Sugar (“Spotlight”) for Fox 2000, which recently produced the Oscar contenders “Bridge of Spies,” “Joy” and “Hidden Figures.” Will this film be just as successful? Comment below, and discuss this and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums.