Best Original Song – Motion Picture
BEST ORIGINAL SONG ‑ MOTION PICTURE
This is Me
BENJ PASEK: Thank you to the HFPA. Thank you to Michael Gracie, who was our third collaborator on all of these songs, our amazing director.
JUSTIN PAUL: Thank you to Fox, and our producers, who fought a lot of uphill battles making this movie. And also to the incredible group of people that brought the music to life. Everyone from Fox Music, to Atlantic Records, to the beautiful team of arrangers, orchestrators, musicians, and vocalists.
BENJ PASEK: I want to thank you our entire cast, led by the annoyingly handsome, charming Hugh Jackman.
JUSTIN PAUL: Disgusting. Disgustingly charming.
BENJ PASEK: And, most importantly, we want to thank K. Alice Settle.
JUSTIN PAUL: K. Alice performed this song, and her story inspired our song, and you inspire us every day.
BENJ PASEK: Thank you. And we want to see you on the big screen again. Thank you.
JUSTIN PAUL: Love you, Ash. Love you, Mom and Dad. Thank you.
Q Hi. Congratulations. When you have people of the talent like Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, everyone in the cast, are you pretty relaxed about the future of this film? And congratulations on being No. 1 on Google top 200 for the sound track?
BENJ PASEK: Thank you so much. Yeah, it was quite intimidating to have those. In one sense, good. Our songs will be in great hands because these are not only great film stars, but they are true, legitimate musical theater actors who have been in live shows and can sing and dance and all of that. But it also made us very intimidated that we had to write something that all of a sudden made it very real that we wrote something that Hugh would sing, that Zach would sing. So we could immediately write something and test it in his head: “Would Hugh sound good singing that or not?” It was through the litmus test to be able to write for notorious actors, which was a real gift.
Q Hi. Congratulations, guys.
BENJ PASEK: Thanks.
Q Congratulations. You’ve had an incredible new year of Oscars and Tonys. And what did that feel like? And what’s next for both of you?
BENJ PASEK: It’s been very surreal, and I guess to capture — the first time we saw when we won was Emma Stone was going to coming to present her award, and it felt really full circle, and an amazing moment. It’s been incredible. I guess we are just focused on writing new musicals, and we feel that this is giving us permission to keep doing that, and it’s a real source of encouragement, and we just really appreciate that music is something that audiences are embracing again and come and see and we get to be lucky to be among the writers that are creating this.
Q Gentlemen, over here on your right. What specifically — congratulations, first, to both of you. But what’s significant about the story that inspired you to write the song?
BENJ PASEK: The song was written for a different character. It was a different song. There was a final workshop of the film where we had to write a song, and the idea was to write it for the bearded lady. So as we wrote every piece of lyric and music in that song, we wrote it with Zendaya in mind, and who she is. She is an incredibly confident, inspiring person who so very much owns who she is and has had a little bit of a winding path to where she is now, and that resonates with us so much, and it’s such a huge field to go see her actually go all the way through and getting her performing on the big screen.
Q You said you wanted to thank audiences coming back on the big screen. You guys wrote this. Was it was a huge risk?
BENJ PASEK: Yeah.
Q Was there a chance that movie was dead and you felt vindicated that people are going to see musicals again?
BENJ PASEK: I know before The Greatest Showman — while we were working on it, they would always say the first — or the last movie musical got made was in — or enchanted. And it felt like a really big risk in a long time in development to make it happen, and I think thanks to Damian Schiff [phonetic], and his vision, it gave the studio more confidence that audiences might come and see a musical.
JUSTIN PAUL: But, also, thankfully we think about Miranda, the Lopezes, a lot of — they’ve written shows that have really transcended popular culture and have just become part of mainstream culture, and that really opened the gates back up to people thinking it wasn’t the least cool thing in the world like the musical and come see a musical.
Q This film is so much about diversity and really accepting yourself and who you are. Can you just talk a little bit about the process that you went through in bringing it into music?
BENJ PASEK: Yeah, absolutely. Again, I would say Kendaya was a big inspiration. And a lot of actors in the film that played these oddities, people who have been kept in the shade their whole lives, and through the process of the circumstance, they came out of the shadows and were forced themselves to be seen, we really sparked what that meant and try to get inside the heads of those characters and were really inspired by stories, real stories of people who have experienced those kinds of personal journeys. So that really inspired the songwriting process.