Cynthia Erivo Could Attend Her First Golden Globes, and Get an EGOT, in the Same Year
“This is beyond my wildest dreams.”
The year 2020 is already shaping up to be a big one for Cynthia Erivo, who received two Golden Globe nominations on Monday — one for her performance portraying Harriet Tubman in Harriet, and the other for the film’s original song, “Stand Up,” which she co-wrote with Joshuah Brian Campbell. If she secures an Oscar for the performance as well, the Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award-winning actress will become the youngest EGOT on record at age 32. The accolades couldn’t be more well deserved, but the star’s response so far has been humble.
“Bringing Harriet Tubman to life for the first time on the big screen has meant the world to me, and to do so with an incredibly talented and diverse group of filmmakers has been an absolute honor,” the British-Nigerian Broadway star said in a press statement.
“To be nominated for both my performance and the song I had the privilege to co-write for the film is a testament to Harriet's enduring legacy and a celebration of her incredible story, which is long overdue.”
Erivo, who has also just received a Critic’s Choice nomination, added: “To say that this is overwhelming and a dream come true is putting it lightly. I'm excited to attend my first Golden Globe awards, and to share the night with friends and people I love is icing on the cake. This is beyond my wildest dreams.”
“I hope that I played this role fully and truthfully. It took a lot physically, mentally and spiritually, but all was necessary because she deserves her story to be told,” Erivo said. “I did a lot of research, worked really closely with my director, to find out the details we wanted to know about her.”
Producer Debra Martin Chase expected nothing less from the star. “From the first time I saw her in The Color Purple on Broadway, I knew that Harriet was her role,” she tells InStyle. “Needless to say I am beyond thrilled about the nominations for Cynthia and the movie.”
Chase acknowledged the drive and determination Erivo put into her role.
“She worked so hard throughout the entire process — researching, prepping, shooting day after day in the rain and the mud and the cold to bring Harriet fully to life in the best way possible. Cynthia is well on her way to having one of the great, legendary Hollywood careers. She's a perfectionist, she's a true artist, she has immense determination and a beautiful spirit.”
At the Hollywood Film Awards, where Erivo received the Hollywood Breakout Actress Award, Chase also talked about her own admiration for the costumes in the film.
“We always knew the costumes were gonna be huge in this because we wanted to have a style, to be true to the period, be true to the characters but have a style," she noted. "My friend [Oscar-winning costume designer] Ruth Carter said, ‘You have to get Paul Tazewell. There’s nobody else.’”
Thankfully, Tazewell, who previously costumed Hamilton, came on board. “The research that went into the clothes was incredible. He scoured all over North America for the outfits and made several things himself. You can see the progression of her character in her clothes.”
Erivo said the wardrobe changes helped her embody the growth and change her character goes through.
“When you put a piece of clothing on, that isn’t yours, that feels like it belongs to the character, it makes you walk differently, makes you carry yourself differently," she said. "Because she is so physical, part of that is the costume. The way in which you wear a costume is part physicality. For me, it just added to the story, added to the way I could tell a story, and I am just really grateful.”
She continued: “Paul Tazewell is amazing and made sure that the conversation within the costume also aided the storytelling and her journey that we made through the film.”
Next, Erivo will be playing Aretha Franklin in an upcoming National Geographic series.
“I have been listening to all her music, I want to really learn her voice,” she said. “And reading, as there are some books on her. And watching Amazing Grace, everyone should watch it. It’s a beautiful documentary that really looks at who she was.”