Fil-Am Robert Lopez wins Oscar for 'Let It Go'

Posted at 03/03/14 12:19 PM

Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez win for their song "Let It Go", best original song for the film "Frozen" at the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. Photo by Lucy Nicholson, Reuters

Filipino-American composer Robert Lopez made history on Sunday (Monday morning in Manila) when he and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez won an Oscar for “Let It Go” from the hit Disney animated movie, “Frozen.”

During the 86th Academy Awards hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, Lopez won in the Best Original Song category after “Let It Go” beat “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2”, “The Moon Song” from “Her” and “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

Lopez is the first Filipino-American to win an Oscar, according to Hollywood-based Filipino journalist Ruben V. Nepales.

In their acceptance speech, the husband-and-wife team honored their fellow nominees and thanked those who inspired them in writing the song.

The two ended their speech by thanking their children.

“Our girls, Katie and Annie, our song is inspired by our love for you in the hope that you never let fear and shame keep you from celebrating the unique people that you are. Thank you, we love you,” Anderson-Lopez said.

“Let It Go” was previously named Best Original Song at the Critics’ Choice Awards, and was also nominated at the Golden Globes in January.

"Frozen," a Walt Disney Animation Studios musical fairy tale, tells of the bond between two royal sisters in an icy Scandinavian kingdom.

Filipino roots

Lopez's father is part-Filipino as his grandfather was pure Filipino, while his grandmother was part-Filipino and part-Scottish-American.

With his Oscar win, Lopez joins an elite club of artists who have won all four major awards -- the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony.

Lopez had previously won a Tony Award for “Avenue Q,” and another Tony Award and a Grammy for “The Book of Mormons.”

He has two Daytime Emmys for his music direction and composition in “The Wonder Pets.”

Lopez earlier told ABS-CBN that his inspiration in writing the song had been the many well-loved Disney movies.

"We've been listening to Alan Menken and all the other Disney composers. We really wanted to join the canon. We're really, really glad that the song caught on like this. The album is now No. 1 in the country," Lopez said during the Golden Globes.

“Frozen” will also hit Broadway although no date has been released. It is Disney's No. 1 all-time animation debut and it is expected to surpass “The Lion King” as the highest grossing Disney movie of all time.

The musical soundtrack and hit anthem "Let It Go" by Idina Menzel have sold more than 1 million copies each and inspired thousands of YouTube videos by young girls singing the tune.

Idina Menzel performs nominated original song "Let it Go" by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, for the film "Frozen" at the Oscars. Photo by Lucy Nicholson, Reuters

'Frozen' wins best animated film

Meanwhile, "Frozen" won the Academy Award on for best animated feature film.

The win is the first in the category for Walt Disney Animation Studios, the animation house founded by the man who pioneered the genre. The animated feature category was created in 2002 and has been dominated by Disney-owned Pixar, which has won it seven times but was shut out of the nominations this year for the second time in three years.

"Frozen" cemented a resurgence for Disney Animation Studios, becoming a global phenomenon with over $1 billion in movie theater ticket sales, according to Rentrak.

The film features the voice of Kristen Bell as a Scandinavian princess searching for her sister, the queen, who has the power to freeze anything with a touch and accidentally sets off a long winter that is destroying their kingdom. The story was inspired by "The Snow Queen" fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

Chris Buck, one of the film's two directors, dedicated his Oscar to his son Ryder, a musician who was killed last year when he was struck by vehicles as he crossed a Los Angeles area freeway.

"He's our guardian angel up there," said Buck.

"Frozen" beat "The Croods," a caveman comedy from DreamWorks Animation SKG ; Universal Pictures' "Despicable Me 2," produced by Illumination Entertainment; "The Wind Rises" from Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki; and French-language entry "Ernest & Celestine." -- With report from Reuters