“Mary Poppins Returns” composer Marc Shaiman scored Oscar nominations in the Best Score and the Best Song categories — and if he wins next month, he would be the latest entry to the exclusive EGOT club.
Shaiman has won a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony, and has previously been nominated for five Oscars, but has never won. He won the Emmy for co-writing Billy Crystal’s Academy Award performances, and won Tony and Grammy awards for his work on the musical “Hairspray.”
“It’s always so ironic to me that I cut gym class to go play piano in the auditorium in junior high school. The last thing I ever wanted to do was be in competitive sports. It’s nothing I’ve ever wanted. I’m not competitive that way,” Shaiman told TheWrap. “Having said that I’d love to graduate from being an EGT to an EGOT.”
Shaiman was co-nominated with songwriter Scott Wittman for “Mary Poppins Returns,” who also has a Tony Award and is aiming to become an EGOT winner as well.
“I wish I could be like Bob Fosse and win all of them in one year,” Wittman told TheWrap.
Their song, “The Place Where the Lost Things Go,” was nominated in the Best Original Song category, alongside “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” “All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” “I’ll Fight” from “RBG” and “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” And being nominated for this song in particular, which Shaiman said was the hardest to write, was very meaningful for the duo.
Wittman said star Emily Blunt was the third collaborator on the song. The first time that Blunt heard it, he said, she had just given birth and was so emotionally wrecked by the song that she could hardly sing her way through it.
“We had to sing a song to children about the loss of their mother and put it in a way that’s soothing and calming. It’s hard, and you want to take it seriously,” Shaiman said. “And because of that, it’s the first time in my life I’ve paid attention to social media because it’s allowed people to write us with the most beautiful, touching stories of how the song has put them in touch with…it’s given them emotions about their own loss.”
Shaiman said they received a video of a little girl performing “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at a memorial service. “I had to take to my bed for three days,” he said.
“To really get to hear real people write to you with real emotions and critics and aren’t out to judge and simply want to express their thanks for something that we sat in this very room and are talking to you from, that is a fantastic feeling,” Shaiman added. “That is truly more than EGOT and all that, that is what you do when you write a song. You hope that other people will hear it and relate to it and pinpoint, bullseye a certain kind of emotion. That’s just been phenomenal over the last few weeks.”
The duo agreed that if they were to lose, they’d love to see Diane Warren, now a 10-time nominee, win for “I’ll Fight.”
Also nominated in the Original Score category were Ludwig Göransson for “Black Panther,” Terence Blanchard for “BlacKkKlansman,” Nicholas Britell for “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Alexandre Desplat for “Isle of Dogs.”
“Mary Poppins Returns” was nominated for two additional Academy Awards on Tuesday, including Best Costume Design and Best Production Design. The Disney film starred Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Whishaw, and was directed by Rob Marshall.
Shaiman’s other credits include “Rumor Has It…,” “Patch Adams,” “George of the Jungle,” “The First Wives Club,” “The American president,” “Speechless,” “Sleepless in Seattle,” “A Few Good Men,” “Sister Act,” and “Misery.”