HOLLYWOOD: Filipino American songwriter Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Andersen-Lopez, won the Oscar for best song with their powerful ballad, “Let It Go,” the theme music of Disney blockbuster animated film “Frozen.”
The award makes Lopez, 39, the youngest member of an elite group that has bagged an EGOT grand slam—acronym for the major awards Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
Born and raised in New York City by parents of Filipino descent, the multi-awarded Lopez has three Tony Awards, a Grammy for “The Book of Mormons,” and a Daytime Emmy for his work on the show, “The Wonder Pets.”
But the biggest awards of them all is the Academy Award for Best Original Music that Lopez won on Sunday (Monday in Manila) at the star-studded 2014 Oscar Awards night at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.
It was a double-victory for Robert and Kristen, who supplied the musical score for the global hit movie, “Frozen,” which won the Oscar for best animated feature. The film was directed by Jennifer Lee, who also wrote the screenplay, and Chris Buck.
The film, inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen,” is close to breaching the $1-billion box office threshold.
Lopez paid tribute to his ancestral homeland during a backstage press conference after the win.
“Filipino pride. I’m so excited. I’m just sending love to the Philippines,” he said.
“I know they’ve had a tough year and I just send out my feelings to them,” he added, referring to the devastating Typhoon Yolanda, which battered the country in November, leaving thousands dead.
Lopez and his wife announced they were planning a benefit concert for the Philippines on March 12 in New York.
The Lopez couple credited their two young daughters for being their inspiration.
“The songs were inspired by our love for you,” Kristen gushed as she clutched the Oscar trophy.
Robert and Kristen have the distinction of composing the first movie soundtrack to top the Billboard 200 for five non-consecutive weeks, the best since “Titanic” in 1998.
The music has also been No. 1 on iTunes in more than 30 countries.
As of the week ending February 23, “Frozen” has chalked up $384 million in the US box office and $596.3 million abroad, or a total of $980 million worldwide, according to Deadline.com, which tracks the global box office performance of films.
This early, Robert and Kristen are in early talks with the Disney management about adapting “Frozen” into a Broadway musical. Also, because of the film’s phenomenal appeal to people of all ages, a film sequel is almost a foregone conclusion.
By their own account, the Lopez’s two daughters—Katie, 8 and Annie, 4—who sang in the film, served as their inspiration.
“We made it for them,” said Robert, an English major from Yale, who composed his first song at the age of seven. “We worked on it because of them and we shared our experience with them as we were working on it. Every song we wrote, we would play for them, just to see if it was good enough to make them ask to hear it again. And we really were doing it for them.”
“We hope the song and its message of empowerment continue to spread. We are so grateful to the Academy, to our directors and producers, to Idina Menzel and to the people all over the world who are listening (and sometimes belting along) to the music of “Frozen.”
“Frozen” is the tale of sisters Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) sister princesses of Arrendelle. When Elsa accidentally unleashes an eternal winter upon Arrendelle following an emotional outburst at her coronation, she flees the kingdom and Anna sets off in search of Elsa to save their frozen homeland and mend their relationship.