What is the difference between a Grammy, an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony Award?

What's the difference between the four awards, is it possible for one person to win all of them and which award do John Legend and Barack Obama have in common? Here's the answer...

My People,

Welcome to the new year, 2021. We made it through the ups and downs of 2020 and I am incredibly thankful for you. The Show Me One Thing community has become my e-family and I would not trade you for the world. Last year, despite the pandemic, we fostered learning and community with our game - Fill in the Black. We sold thousands around the world, got featured on the world’s biggest news channels and received so much feedback on how the game has contributed to the celebration of blackness. In this new year, we will continue to satisfy our curiosity and celebrate the diversity and colorfulness of our world through our weekly newsletter and our animated short videos. You can still get the game in Nigeria, Canada, the US and the UK here.

Now, to the awards…

Every year, the world stops for the Grammy Awards in January. This year, the famous ceremony has been moved to March due to the pandemic. Throughout the year, we will see the Emmys, the Oscars and the Tonys. But what’s the difference between them all? These are some important details and major differences between all four awards:

  1. Academy Awards (Oscar) - celebrates film professionals and excellence. Since the first Oscar was given in 1929, it is the oldest of the four EGOT awards. There are few theories on how the Oscar got its nickname including this one that says that future Director of the Academy, Margaret Herrick, first saw the statuette and noted that it looked like her Uncle Oscar.

  2. Recording Academy Awards (Grammy) - celebrates musical excellence. The ‘Grammy’ is named after the ‘gramophone’, which was the original name for the awards and is the inspiration for the gold-plated award trophy.

  3. Television Academy Awards (Emmy) - celebrates TV professionals and excellence. This includes shows and programs that are made for TV either on Daytime or Primetime. The nickname “Emmy” comes from the "immy", a term for the image orthicon tube commonly found in early TV cameras.

  4. Tony Awards - celebrates excellence in Broadway theatre. The esteemed theatre awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, an actress, producer and theatre director who co-founded and secretary of the American Theatre Wing.

So, who’s won the most of any of these awards?

Grammys - Well, even though Stevie Wonder has won 25 Grammys and Jay Z and Kanye West have both won 21 Grammys, they are still trailing behind Beyoncé who has won 26 and Quincy Jones who has won 28! The person with the highest number of Grammys is Georg Solti; the late classical composer and conductor who won 31!

Oscars - Is it no surprise that with 22 wins, Walt Disney has the highest Oscar wins by a single person. Three films have won 11 Oscars - the highest won by any single film (Ben-Hur in 1959, Titanic in 1997 and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003). The Lord of the Rings won all 11 categories for which it was nominated.

What’s better than one Oscar? Two Oscars! What’s better than two Oscars? Maybe an Oscar and a Tony? Together, the four awards are referred to as EGOT. It is an incredible honor to win just one or two of these and so a winner of all four is considered entertainment royalty. Only 16 people have received all four EGOT awards including Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg and John Legend. Some people have achieved EGOT status due to honorary (non-competitive) awards or special lifetime awards including Barbara Streisand (EGO plus special Tony), Liza Minnelli (EOT plus special Grammy), Harry Belafonte (EGT plus special Oscar), Quincy Jones (EGT plus special Oscar) and James Earl Jones (EGT plus special Oscar).

Some people have extended the EGOT designation to a PEGOT, to include the coveted Pulitzer Prize for journalism and the arts. The first person to win the EGOT (and PEGOT) was Richard Rodgers; the American composer famous for musicals like The King and I and Sound of Music. The youngest EGOT winner (and the only person to win each of the awards twice) was Robert Lopez, best known for his work on The Book of Mormon and Frozen. There are 82 people who have received at least one EGOT nomination and hundreds of people who are one award away from EGOT status.

If President Obama can win two Grammys for his memoirs, Magic Johnson for his audiobook on AIDS, and Steve Jobs for the impact of the iPhone and iPod on the musical experience, you can too!

Did you know the difference between each award? What other cool facts do you know about the entertainment world?

Which award do you dream of winning?

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