By Ed Diokno
Views from the Edge
The odds on favorite at this year’s Academy Awards airing tonight (Feb. 26) is La La Land’s City of Stars in the best song category, but don’t be surprised if the song from Moana pulls off an upset.
Disney has brought out the big guns to give the song How Far I’ll Go from Moana a chance against favorite City of Stars. Award-winning song writer Lin-Manuel Miranda will be performing with the 16-year old Auli’i Cravalho, who did the voice and singing for the animated title character of the Disney film Moana.
During rehearsal, the fresh-faced vocal powerhouse surprised onlookers and earned a spontaneous standing ovation at the end of her performance.
While the performance will channel the island feel of Moana, the Hawaiian teenager thinks it will also transcend the film: “It’s distinctly Moana, and at the same time it’s something where people will think, ‘Wow, that is a stunning piece.’”
If his song wins, Miranda will be the youngest performer to win the trifecta of the Tony, the Grammy and the Oscar. He earned the Tony and Grammy for Broadway musical hit Hamilton, which he wrote and starred in.
Auli’i is of course rooting for How Far I’ll Go to go all the way and win for best original song — “It’s such an exciting time for Lin-Manuel, he’s right there and has almost got that EGOT” — but says she’s also a fan of City of Stars, and looks forward to hearing John Legend’s rendition. She also mentions that she’s a fan of Sting (who will perform his song The Empty Chair from Jim: The James Foley Story and Justin Timberlake.
As she speaks, glimmers of her character Moana shine through — her excitement and passion for all that lies ahead is evident in every word.
“I could have never imagined that at 16 years old I would be having such amazing experiences like this,” she says. “I’ve been able to travel around the world and really share what Moana is about. The moral of our story is figuring out who you are, and listening to that voice deep down inside you, and I have been able to connect to that so much. [Moana] has that call for more, and I think for everyone — no matter if you’re a teenager like me or someone who is in the prime of their lives — there’s always going to be that call.”
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