Sun. Aug 9th, 2020

Emmy Predictions: Original Music & Lyrics

First off, what seems like a surefire contender – “L to the OG” by Nicholas Britell from HBO’s Succession was not on the final official submission ballot. Same goes for the John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch song “Music Everywhere” sung by Jake Gyllenhaal. I know what you’re thinking…’But Erik, you only care because it’s Jake Gyllenhaal, you thirsty stan!’ In most instances, yes, this would be a valid, if rude and pointed, accusation but “Music Everywhere” (like “L to the OG”) was a legitimate viral breakthrough and the most well-known number. Distressing, to say the least. But, it also opens up two spots in a category that is always such a shot in the dark in the first place.

One popular exception that made the cut was “Gay Spirit” from the 35th Film Independent Spirit Awards. With music by Greg O’Connor, lyrics by Jordan Firstman and sung by the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Choir and Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist‘s Alex Newell, the song was a celebration of all of the LGBTQ and LGBTQ-adjacent content in the films of 2019 before simply settling on a singular and hilarious celebration of all things Laura Dern.

One of the problems with picking the nominees in this category is that it’s easy to go with what you think are the populist choices, the songs that are the most recognized or from recognizable artists. Which yes, makes the above snubs make a certain amount of sense. While history doesn’t give us a lot to work with it does give us a few things, like shows that have consistently gotten nominations here like Saturday Night Live (largely thanks to Justin Timberlake and Eli Brueggemann). They have no less than five submissions this year and have won this category twice this decade and have been nominated every year save two. Hell, in 2011 they had four of the six nominations here and still won. There’s also the Tony Awards, who won here three years in a row (from 2012-2014) and there could be some sympathy for the fact that we had no Tony Awards this year at all.

Benj Pasek is just an Emmy away from EGOT and he could get it if he’s nominated – and wins – for one his co-written songs from Saturday Night Seder.  It was produced entirely during COVID with no network, studio, or money behind it. It was created by individuals from all parts of the industry who came together using their own resources from home to make it happen.

The mock songs in the RuPaul’s Drag Race “rusicals” have never made it in but the Madonna rusical from season 12 has earned a ton of buzz here as well as many other categories. We could see it pop up as Drag Race’s nominations and wins keep growing year to year.

Here are my 2020 Emmy predictions for Original Music & Lyrics, and, for the first time ever, links to nearly every single submission (thanks to GoldDerby’s Riley Chow for this curated list with links).

Other contenders: The Black Godfather – “Letter to My Godfather” (Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo); Euphoria – “All For Us” (Labrinth); Godfather of Harlem – “In These Streets” (John Legend); The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “One Less Angel” (Thomas Mizer, Curtis Moore); RuPaul’s Drag Race – “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical” (David Benjamin Steinberg, Michael Seligman, Erik Paparrozzi, Tom Campbell); Transparent Musicale Finale – “Your Boundary is My Trigger” (Faith Soloway)


Big Mouth – “Anything Goes in Florida” (Mark Rivers)
The Black Godfather – “Letter to My Godfather” (Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo)
BoJack Horseman – “Don’t Stop Dancing ‘Til the Curtains Fall” (Jesse Novak, Elijah Aron, Alison Tafel)
Carnival Row – “Lora Lie Lo” (Patty Gurdy, Kristin Robinson)
Central Park – “Own It” (Elyssa Samsel, Kate Anderson)
Central Park – “Do It While We Can” (Brent Knopf)
Central Park – “Weirdos Make Great Superheroes” (Sara Bareilles, Brent Knopf)
Chasing Happiness – “Jersey” (James Alan, Jason Evigan, Nick Jonas)
Cracked Up, The Darrell Hammond Story – “Hide the Hurt” (Diane Warren)
Dave – “Jail” (Dave Burd, Tom Klotz, David Doman)
Dickinson – “Afterlife” (Hailee Steinfeld, Kennedi Lykken, Erik Hermansen, Mikkel Eriksen)
The Eddy – “The Eddy” (Glen Ballard, Randy Kerber)
Euphoria – “All For Us” (Labrinth)
35th Film Independent Spirit Awards – “Gay Spirit” (Greg O’Connor, Jordan Firstman)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – “2020 Census Turn Up” (Tedra Wilson, Phillippe Dela Pena)
Godfather of Harlem – “Saints and Shadows” (Emeli Sandé, Tyrone “Musicman Ty” Johnson, Swizz Beatz)
Godfather of Harlem – “In These Streets” (John Legend)
The Good Fight – “Secret Law” (Jonathan Coulton)
The Good Place – “Cosmic Ride” (David Schwartz, Gabriel Mann, Michael Schur)
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – “I Think I Kinda, You Know” (Alan Zachary, Michael Weiner)
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – “All I Want” (Olivia Rodrigo)
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – “Born to Be Brave” (Tova Litvin, Doug Rockwell)
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – “Wondering” (Josh Cumbee, Jordan Powers)
I Am Not Okay with This – “There’s a World Outside My Door” (Graham Coxon)
Insecure – “Cadillac Drive” (Emile “D’Mile” Dernst, David “Pink Sweats” Bowden)
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance – “Funeral Song (Speak for the Dead)” (Daniel Pemberton)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! – “Citizenship Celebration with Brad Paisley” (Jeff Babko, Jimmy Kimmel, Gary Greenberg)
Jimmy Kimmel Live! – “Fraudway: Bagel Boss – The Musical” (Jeff Babko, Jimmy Kimmel, Gary Greenberg, Joelle Boucai, Josh Halloway)
John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch – “Grandma’s Boyfriend Paul” (John Mulaney, Eli Bolin, Marika Sawyer)
John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch – “Pay Attention!” (John Mulaney, Marika Sawyer, Eli Bolin, David Byrne)
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – “Eat Shit, Bob” (David Dabbon, Joanna Rothkopf, Jill Twiss, Seena Vali)
The Late Late Show with James Corden – “Boyz II Menorah’s A Week and a Day” (David Javerbaum, Melissa (aka The Late Late Show With James Corden Band))
Little Fires Everywhere – “Build It Up” (Ingrid Michaelson)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – “One Less Angel” (Thomas Mizer, Curtis Moore)
The Midnight Gospel – “Dreams Wash Away” (Joe Wong)
Modern Love – “The Lost and Found” (Gary Clark, John Carney)
Modern Love – “Circus” (Gary Clark)
Nikki Fre$h – “Bee’s Tea” (Andrew Goldstein, Sarah Hudson, Nicole Richie)
Noelle – “Eventually” (Clyde Lawrence)
The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo – “Night-Night” (Bill Sherman, Ken Scarborough)
Rick and Morty – “Don’t Look Back” (Ryan Elder, Kotomi)
The Righteous Gemstones – “Misbehavin” (Joseph Stephens, Danny McBride, Edi Patterson)
Royalties – “Mighty as Kong” (Darren Criss, Chris Wallace, Nick Lang, Matt Radosevich)
RuPaul’s Drag Race – “Madonna: The Unauthorized Rusical” (David Benjamin Steinberg, Michael Seligman, Erik Paparrozzi, Tom Campbell)
Saturday Night Live – “Slow” (Chris Redd, Eli Brueggemann)
Saturday Night Live – “On the Couch” (Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, Eli Brueggemann, Streeter Seidell, Dan Bulla)
Saturday Night Live – “Joan Song” (Aidy Bryant, Anna Drezen, Eli Brueggemann)
Saturday Night Live – “Let Kids Drink” (Eli Brueggemann, Colin Jost)
Saturday Night Live – “Stuck in the House” (Dan Bulla, Jake Anthony Procanik, Pete Davidson)
Saturday Night Seder – “Dayenu” (Benj Pasek, Mark Sonnenblick, Hannah Friedman, Alex Edelman)
Saturday Night Seder – “Next Year” (Benj Pasek, Shaina Taub, Mark Sonnenblick, Hannah Friedman)
Seven Worlds, One Planet – “Out There” (Sia Furler, Christopher Braide)
Sex Education – “Amateur” (Ezra Furman)
Sherman’s Showcase – “Time Loop” (Phonte Coleman, Lorenzo Ferguson, Diallo Riddle, Bashir Salahuddin)
This Is Us – “Memorized” (Siddhartha Khosla, Taylor Goldsmith)
73rd Annual Tony Awards – “Live!” (David Javerbaum, Tom Kitt)
Transparent Musicale Finale – “Your Boundary is My Trigger” (Faith Soloway)
Watchmen – “The Way It Used to Be” (Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross)
The Witcher – “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher” (Sonya Belousova, Giona Ostinelli, Jenny Klein)

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