Jennifer Hudson becomes an EGOT – Billboard
Jennifer Hudson is in the “Spotlight,” to borrow the title of her 2008 hit. At the 2022 Tonys on Sunday, June 12, Hudson became just the 17th individual to achieve EGOT status. She won as a member of a platoon of producers of A strange loopwhich was named Best Musical.
At 40 years and nine months, Hudson is the third youngest person at EGOT. Only Robert Lopez (who was 39 when he completed the price sweep) and John Legend (who was 39 years and eight months old) were younger. Additionally, Hudson is only the third black EGOT, following Whoopi Goldberg and Legend.
Hudson took her first steps into EGOT in 2007 when she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her debut feature, dream girls. She took her second in 2009 when she won a Grammy for Best R&B Album for her self-titled debut album. (She won a second Grammy eight years later as a performer in a revival of The purple colorwhich won Best Musical Theater Album.)
Hudson was never nominated for a Primetime Emmy, but she received a Daytime Emmy in 2021 as executive producer of Baba Yaga. The virtual reality animated film won Outstanding Interactive Media for a Daytime Program.
Hudson was also never nominated for a Tony Award as a performer. She was passed over for a nod in 2016 for her role in The purple color. But she won this year as one of 44 people or entities who received producer credit on A strange loop.
That’s not a typo (full list below if you find it hard to believe). This highlights a problem that has arisen in the EGOT phenomenon – standards are inconsistent across shows and in some cases too lax. Producing a musical that wins a Tony for Best Musical, or co-producing it with a reasonable number of other people, should absolutely count towards EGOT status. But when 44 individuals or entities win as producers, it makes us wonder what degree of creative involvement each might have had.
Hudson is the third EGOT performer whose only Tony was part of a producer group – although previous groups have been modest in size compared to A strange loop. Goldberg won in 2002 as one of 11 producers of Resolutely modern Millie, which was voted Best Musical. Legend won in 2017 as one of eight producers of Jitney by August Wilsonwhich won the award for best cover of a play.
Perhaps the number of producers who can win prizes for a given project should be limited. It’s hard to choose a number – should it be four, six, eight, 10? I think we can all agree that 44 is too much.
Here’s the thing: there are 25 people alive who just need a Tony to become an EGOT. The list includes talents such as Julie Andrews, Burt Bacharach, Cher, Common, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Randy Newman, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Martin Scorsese, Barbra Streisand, John Williams and Kate Winslet. Apparently all they have to do is tell their agents that they want to start investing in projects with the potential for rewards. If they have good instincts and good connections, one of these projects is bound to win.
This is not meant to undermine Hudson’s success. The current rules for who wins when a show wins a Tony or an Emmy (or when an album wins a Grammy for album of the year, for that matter) are too lax, but she didn’t write the rules. She absolutely has the talent to one day become an EGOT as a performer. Let’s hope she does.
Want to know how many of the 17 EGOT winners have won all four awards as performers? Only four – Helen Hayes, Rita Moreno, John Gielgud and Audrey Hepburn.
A footnote: Hudson was the first person to rise to prominence on american idol at EGOT. She was a contestant on Season 3 of this long-running show. It’s a place where she hasn’t won. She came sixth. She didn’t let this disappointment stop her.
A strange loop won only two awards, less than expected. Michael R. Jackson’s musical won the Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama in 2020.
Ariana DeBose hosted the 75th Annual Tony Awards at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
As promised, here are the Tony-winning producers of A strange loop: Barbara Whitman, Pasek, Paul & Stafford, Hunter Arnold, Marcia Goldberg, Alex Levy & James Achilles, Osh Ashruf, A Choir Full Productions, Don Cheadle & Bridgid Coulter Cheadle, Paul Oakley Stovall, Jimmy Wilson, Annapurna Theatre, Robyn Coles, Creative Partners Productions, Robyn Gottesdiener, Kayla Greenspan, Grove Entertainment, Kuhn, Lewis & Scott, Frank Marshall, Maximum Effort Productions Inc., Joey Monda, Richard Mumby, Phenomenal Media & Meena Harris, Marc Platt & Debra Martin Chase, Laurie Tisch, Yonge Street Theatricals, Dodge Hall Productions/JJ Malley, Cody Renard Richard, John Gore Organization, James L. Nederlander, The Shubert Organization, RuPaul Charles, Alan Cumming, Ilana Glazer, Jennifer Hudson, Mindy Kaling, Billy Porter, Page 73 Productions, Woolly Mammoth Theater Company, Playwrights Horizon.