20 Times Barbra Streisand Made Awards Show History
Barbra Streisand, a GOAT, an icon and a legend, turns 81 on Monday (April 24). She has packed a lot into those eight-plus decades. While she isn’t officially an EGOT – she has yet to win a Tony in competition – she has won just about every other award an entertainer can win.
She was nominated for a Tony for her first Broadway show, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, but lost to Phyllis Newman in Subways Are for Sleeping. Streisand won the other three EGOT awards with her first major projects. She won two Grammys for her first album, an Emmy for her first TV special and an Oscar for her first film.
Streisand set a high bar for all who followed. Many of today’s top stars seem well aware of that fact. Beyoncé said, “It’s an honor to sing for you, Miss Streisand,” after singing “The Way We Were” when Streisand received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2008. Ariana Grande said “I love you so much, thank you so much,” following a duet performance of “No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)” at a Streisand concert in Chicago in 2019. Madonna did a playful “we’re not worthy” gesture of respect when Streisand surprised her, Mike Myers and Roseanne Barr at the end of a Saturday Night Live sketch in 1992.
Here are 20 times Streisand made awards show history.
May 12, 1964: Won two Grammys, including album of the year (other than classical), for her debut, The Barbra Streisand Album. Streisand was just 22 at the time, making her the youngest album of the year winner to that point. She held that distinction for more than 30 years, until Alanis Morissette won in 1996 at age 21. Billie Eilish, who was just 18 when she won in 2020, is the current record-holder.
Sept. 12, 1965: Won an Emmy for outstanding individual achievement in entertainment for her CBS special My Name Is Barbra. This was back when successfully headlining your own special was a key signifier of stardom.
April 14, 1969: Won an Oscar for best actress for Funny Girl in a historic tie with Katharine Hepburn. It is, to this day, the only time there has been a tie in that category. Streisand couldn’t possibly have foreseen a tie, but she paid Hepburn a gracious compliment: “And I’m very honored to be in such magnificent company as Katharine Hepburn,” she said.
April 19, 1970: Received an honorary Tony Award as star of the decade. With Streisand having won four Grammys, an Emmy and an Oscar by this point, the Tonys sought to make up for her 0-2 track record at that show.
December 1976: Received a Grammy nomination for best classical vocal soloist performance for Classical Barbra. She lost to Beverly Sills’ Music of Victor Herbert, but just to be nominated for such a bold departure was its own reward.
March 28, 1977: Won an Oscar for best original song for “Evergreen (Love Theme From A Star Is Born).” She was the first woman to win for composing a song (as opposed to writing the lyrics). She is, to this day, the only person to win Oscars for both acting and songwriting over the course of a career. “In my wildest dreams I never, never could ever imagine winning an Academy Award for writing a song,” Streisand said on winning the award, which she shared with lyricist Paul Williams. Streisand also performed the song on the telecast – her first performance on the Oscars.
Feb. 23, 1978: Won two Grammys for “Evergreen” – best pop female vocal performance and song of the year. The song won in a tie with “You Light Up My Life.” It is, to this day, the only tie in a Big Four category in Grammy history. But few remember the outcome. Turns out tying Joe Brooks just doesn’t have the same mystique as tying a legendary star like Katharine Hepburn.
Feb. 27, 1980: Streisand and Neil Diamond performed “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” – a record of the year nominee — on the 22nd annual Grammy Awards. There were no special effects, no gimmicks, no flash at all – just two stars coming together on stage. When you have real stars, that’s all you need. The segment was so strong it launched a long series of “Grammy Moments.” Few have had the impact of the original.
Jan. 28, 1984: Became the first woman to win best director at the Golden Globes for her passion project, Yentl. “This award is very meaningful to me,” Streisand said in her acceptance speech. “I’m very proud, because it also represents, I hope, new opportunities for so many talented women to try to make their dreams become realities, as I did.” Streisand has won eight Golden Globes, including their top career-spanning honor, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, in 2000.
December 1986: The Broadway Album was nominated for album of the year. It was Streisand’s sixth nomination in that category. That’s still the record among female artists. (Taylor Swift is up to five.)
Feb. 24, 1987: Won a Grammy for best female pop vocal performance for The Broadway Album. It was her record fifth win in that category. Her competition included such contemporary stars as Madonna and Cyndi Lauper. Her competition when she first won in that category 23 years previously included such stars of that era as Peggy Lee and Eydie Gorme.
Jan. 28, 1992: Received a Directors Guild of America nomination for outstanding directing – feature film for The Prince of Tides. She was just the third female director to be nominated in this category, following Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties) and Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God).
Feb. 19, 1992: Received an Oscar nomination for best picture as a co-producer of The Prince of Tides. Two of her earlier films, Funny Girl and Hello, Dolly!, were also nominated for best picture, but Streisand didn’t produce those films.
Sept. 10, 1995: Won two Emmys for her HBO special Barbra Streisand the Concert — outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program and outstanding variety, music or comedy special. She shared the latter award with her co-producers Martin Erlichman, Dwight Hemion and Gary Smith.
1998: “People” was voted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was her first of four inductions, followed by the Funny Girl Broadway cast album (2004), The Barbra Streisand Album (2006) and “The Way We Were” (2008).
Feb. 22, 2001: Received the AFI Life Achievement Award. Streisand was the fifth woman to receive the award, following Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Barbara Stanwyck and Elizabeth Taylor.
Nov. 4, 2001: Sang “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in a surprise appearance at the close of the Emmy Awards, to honor the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks less than two months earlier. She also won her fourth Emmy (outstanding individual performance in a variety or music program) for her Fox special Barbra Streisand: Timeless. Streisand has won more Grammys than Emmys (eight to four), but has a longer span of wins at the Emmys (36 years, vs. 23 years at the Grammys).
Dec. 6, 2008: Received the Kennedy Center Honors. Queen Latifah, Beyoncé, Ne-Yo, Kelli O’Hara and Nathan Gunn sang songs associated with her in tribute. Streisand has received two other top American honors. In 2000, President Clinton presented her with the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor given for achievement in the arts. In 2015, President Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S.’ highest civilian award.
Feb. 11, 2011: Received the MusiCares person of the year award. She had received a Grammy Legend Award from the Recording Academy in 1992 and a lifetime achievement award in 1995. Aretha Franklin is the only other female artist to receive all three of these honors. Two nights later, Streisand sang “Evergreen” on the Grammys – her first solo performance on that show.
March 29, 2017: Her album People was inducted into the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress. The album topped the Billboard 200 for five weeks in October and November 1964. It was her first of 11 No. 1 albums.