UPDATED with video from speech: The massively prolific songwriting tandem of melody-man Elton John and lyrics-master Bernie Taupin won the honor for the best original song in a 2019 feature film for “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from the classic rock biopic hit Rocketman.
“It’s a 52-year-old marriage,” Taupin said of the unique songwriting union that has produced essential rock classics such as Your Song, Tiny Dancer, Levon, Sad Songs Say So Much, and Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me. Remarkably, Elton noted that despite their decades of collected trophies that he and Taupin had somehow never shared an award together until Sunday night.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever won an award with him, ever,” said the sartorial maverick John, who looked unusually reserved Sunday in a simple black tuxedo. “We never won a Grammy. We never did anything together [awards-wise] except for this.”
John previously won a Globe for Can You Feel the Love Tonight from The Lion King in 1994, which he shared with that Disney project’s lyricist, Tim Rice.
“This is not just about a song we wrote for a movie,” Taupin said. “It’s about a song we wrote for a movie that deals with our relationship. And it’s a relationship that doesn’t happen very often in this town. It’s a 52-year-old marriage.”
The field of nominees in best song category represented a wide range of Hollywood genres, with a rock-star biopic, a historical epic, a Broadway musical adaptation, and two Disney blockbusters, one of them a sequel to an musical animation classic and the other a digitally-driven remake of a second musical animation classic.
The competition led to some intriguing juxtapositions and subplots. John, for instance, found himself competing with The Lion King, a brand name that he himself propelled to fame both on the screen (the 1994 original) and on stage (with the Broadway show that premiered in 1997).
The piano man who gave the world The Bitch is Back had less-than-flattering appraisal of the digitally created remake and its music (which earned its nomination for Spirit and the trio of Timothy McKenzie, Ilya Salmanzadeh, and Beyoncé).
“Music was so much a part of the original and the music in the current film didn’t have the same impact,” the outspoken music superstar told a British magazine in October. “The magic and joy were lost…I wish I’d been invited to the party more, but the creative vision for the film and its music was different this time around and I wasn’t really welcomed or treated with the same level of respect.”
Moviegoers had a higher opinion of the remake, of course, considering the film finished No. 2 on the year’s list of top-grossing global hits (its $1.7 billion was second only to Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame).
The category also presented a feline face-off between two unorthodox epics that arrived in theaters as high-profile adaptations with illustrious musical heritage, major visual ambitions, and major pop divas. From Cats there was Beautiful Ghosts by Taylor Swift (who performed the song in the film) and Andrew Lloyd Webber, while Spirit represented Disney’s photorealistic digital epic The Lion King.
The most rousing song in the category may have been Cynthia Erivo’s Stand Up from Harriet, the historical epic about the legendary abolitionist. In the end, the trophy went to the crowd-pleasing Rocket Man and its song of personal redemption, which was performed for the film’s soundtrack by John and the actor who portrayed him in the film, Taron Egerton.
Rocket Man, from New Republic Pictures, Marv Films, and Rocket Pictures, was distributed by Paramount Pictures.