Two Yale graduates won big at the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday night, amid the glitz, glamor and grandeur of Hollywood’s biggest night.
Frances McDormand DRA ’82 collected the award for Best Actress for her role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and Robert Lopez ’97 won for Best Original Song for “Remember Me,” from the Pixar film “Coco,” co-written with his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez. With Sunday night’s win, Lopez became the first-ever two-time winner of an “EGOT,” a sweep of the four major American show business awards — Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
With the win for “Remember Me,” Lopez now counts two Oscars, two Daytime Emmys, three Tonys, and three Grammys in his collection. When the songwriter first completed an EGOT in 2014, with his Oscar win for “Let It Go,” he set a record for winning all four honors in the shortest time period ever— just 10 years.
“This is for my mom who passed away,” Lopez said in his acceptance speech on Sunday night. “Everyone who knew her will always remember her.”
Lopez is best known as a musical composer. His Tonys awards include Best Score for the musical “Avenue Q,” and Best Score and Best Book of a Musical for “Book of Mormon.” Lopez also won a Grammy from “Book of Mormon” for Best Musical Theater Album. Lopez also won Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and Best Song Written for Visual Media for his work on “Frozen.” In 2008 and 2010, he received two Daytime Emmy Awards for his compositions for the children’s cartoon TV series “Wonder Pets.”
During his time as an undergrad, Lopez penned three plays, two of which were musicals, and performed with the a cappella group the Yale Spizzwinks.
Lopez received the award for Best Song for “Let It Go” with Anderson-Lopez, a frequent collaborator. In keeping with one of the night’s themes, Anderson-Lopez broadcast a message promoting diversity and gender equality in the pair’s acceptance speech.
“I really want to take a minute to look at this category of incredible nominated songwriters tonight,” Anderson-Lopez said. “Not only are we diverse, but we are close to 50–50 for gender representation. When you look at a category like ours, it helps us imagine a world where all the categories look like this one.”
In addition to the winning couple, Meryl Streep DRA ’75, received a nomination in the Best Actress category for her role in “The Post.” With 21 nominations to date, Streep holds the record for most-nominated performer in Oscar history.
McDormand’s win marked her second time receiving the coveted golden statuette in the Best Actress category; the first time was for her role as Marge Gunderson in the 1997 movie “Fargo.” Her acceptance speech has been widely hailed as one of the most powerful of the night. During the speech, McDormand put down her trophy and called on all the female nominees in the theater to stand.
“OK, look around everybody,” McDormand said. “Look around, ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell and projects we need financed. Don’t talk to us about it at the parties tonight. Invite us into your office in a couple days, or you can come to ours, whatever suits you best, and we’ll tell you all about them.”
McDormand concluded her speech with two words: “inclusion rider.” They refer to a stipulation actors may put into their contracts to provide for more equitable casting and hiring.
Dean of Yale School of Drama James Bundy DRA ’95 welcomed the alumni wins.
“To see Frances McDormand, Meryl Streep and Robert Lopez deservedly honored for their extraordinary work this year was a distinct joy, enhanced by the pleasure of seeing more recent Yale alumni in attendance, including Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o returning as a presenter, and Marcus Henderson, who had a pivotal role in ‘Get Out,’ in the audience,” Bundy wrote in an email to the News.
Two Yalies also won at the Oscars last year. Tarell Alvin McCraney DRA ’07 won Best Adapted Screenplay for co-writing “Moonlight,” and Ezra Edelman ’96 took home the award for Best Documentary Feature for “O.J.: Made in America.”
Brianna Wu | firstname.lastname@example.org