Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul denied Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda the first – though undoubtedly not his last – opportunity to sweep the awards quartet known as the EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony), by winning the Oscar for Best Song, “City Of Stars,” from Hurwitz’ already Oscar-winning score for La La Land. Miranda was a nominee for “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s Moana. “City of Stars” also bested songs by Justin Timberlake and Sting in the Best Original Song category.
“Thank you to Damien, you inspired every single word that we wrote,” Paul said during his acceptance speech. “I was educated in public schools where arts and culture were valued and recognized and resourced. I’m so grateful to all my teachers who taught so much and gave so much to us.”
Pasek added: “My god, I’m actually freaking out right now…I want to thank my mom who is amazing and my date tonight and she let me quit the JCC soccer league to be in a school musical so this is dedicated to all the kids who sing in the rain and all the moms who let them. Thank you very much. I love you, Mom.”
The musical awards were nonetheless good for the Broadway contingent that wasn’t Hamilton. Paul and Pasek are the team behind Dear Evan Hansen, the musical that has been selling out on Broadway since opening earlier this season and is a shoo-in for multiple Tony Awards nominations.
And in a coup for her Tony-winning hit, Waitress, first-time Broadway musical composer-lyricist Sara Bareilles accompanied the In Memoriam segment with a beautiful, powerful yet unflashy cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now.” Bareilles, a singer-songwriting star in her own right, is preparing to take over the title role in Waitress for a limited run.