Former Talking Heads’ frontperson David Byrne is one step closer to the famed EGOT status following today’s Emmy nomination for his concert film, David Byrne’s American Utopia, which is directed by Spike Lee.
The HBO original special received the Emmy nomination for Outstanding Variety Special (pre-recorded). According to the rules under the Academy of Television, the award will go to the “producer(s) whose specific screen credit is Executive Producer, Co-Executive Producer, Supervising Producer, Producer or Produced by, and whose functions support those credits, and the principal host/performer,” in this case—David Byrne. It is his American Utopia after all, right? If the special manages to beat out fellow nominees Bo Burnham: Inside, Dave Chappelle, Friends: The Reunion, and Broadway peer Hamilton, then Bryne will have the last letter to round out his EGOT title.
Byrne checked off the “G” part of EGOT back in 1988, winning the Grammy for his instrumental score for the biographical drama film The Last Emperor. For good measure, the Talking Heads received the lifetime achievement award this year from the Recording Academy after never attaining a Grammy throughout their time as a band.
In 1987, Byrne landed the Oscar for the best Original Score for The Last Emperor, which he shared with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su, earning him the big “O.”
After touring across the world with his experimental American Utopia set which featured solo work as well as songs from Talking Heads, Byrne took the performance to Broadway starting in 2019. This year, American Utopia received the Special Tony award, which “recognizes extraordinary contribution to the theatre.” As a member of the opening night cast, Byrne shares this award with the production crew and fellow cast members. While the validity of the non-competitive “Special Awards” are questioned by some EGOT puritans, we’ll count this one and give Byrne his “T.” Either way, he’ll be in good company with other honorary EGOT winners like Barbara Streisand, Liza Minelli, James Earl Jones, and Quincy Jones.
A few others are one step closer to EGOT status following today’s Emmy nominations, including Hamilton actors Renée Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom Jr. and Daveed Diggs, as well as WandaVision songwriter Kristen Anderson-Lopez.