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The Philippines, never a nation to decline an opportunity to celebrate, has warmly embraced Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez‘s Oscar win for best original song Sunday.
The songwriting couple’s triumph with “Let It Go” for Disney’s Frozen, made Lopez, at age 39, the 12th and youngest member of the EGOT family – the select group of artists who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. Prior to his Oscar, Lopez had bagged three Tony Awards, a Grammy for The Book of Mormon, and a Daytime Emmy for his work on the show The Wonder Pets.
Lopez, born and raised in New York to Filipino-American parents, paid tribute to his heritage when he gave an interview to the Philippines’ most widely read newspaper, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, backstage at the Academy Awards.
“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, referencing the catastrophic Typhoon Yolanda, which battered the country last November, killing thousands.
Anderson-Lopez added that the couple is planning a benefit concert for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda to be held in New York in mid-March. “We will probably be singing something from Frozen,” she said.
The Lopezes’ win drew congratulations from Malacanang Palace, the residence and office of the president of the Philippines.
“We’re very, very happy that Robert Lopez, a Filipino-American, won the Oscar award,” presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a palace press briefing covered by the Manila Times. “We certainly congratulate Robert Lopez and his wife for their collaboration in coming up with the song ‘Let It Go,’ ” he added.
The Film Development Council of the Philippines also offered congratulations: “It is with cultural pride that the FDCP congratulates Robert Lopez on his Oscar win. May it inspire Filipinos both in the Philippines and abroad to always strive for artistic excellence,” said the body’s chairman Briccio Santos.
The Inquirer‘s coverage inspired a flood of congratulations in the newspaper’s online comments section. Several commentators wrote in questioning the notion of native Filipinos touting the achievement of a Filipino-American – but they were quickly drowned out by congratulatory remarks and positive sentiments.
“As long as a person declares his Filipino ethnicity like Robert Lopez did in his speech, then that’s alright,” wrote a reader using the handle “Pinoypower,” adding, “The least we can do is to reciprocate and embrace them as one of our own.”
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