Grammy and Emmy winner David Foster would still like to win a Tony and Oscar. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Grammy and Emmy winner David Foster would still like to win a Tony and Oscar. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

David Foster produced Celine and Whitney, but what he really wants is an EGOT

TORONTO — For all the accolades showered on David Foster throughout his career — 16 Grammys and an Emmy among them — the Canadian music producer is still thirsty for more.

Early in a new documentary on his illustrious career, Foster says aloud what few of his peers would probably ever admit: “Nobody wants the EGOT more than me.”

It comes across a bit cocky, but also honest, considering the 69-year-old is still missing half of the elusive bragging right,bestowed on an entertainer who has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.

“Do you think that’s egotistical? Or do you think that’s self-prophesying?” Foster asks during a recent interview as he leans in to make intense eye contact.

“There’s some people that get it really easily and shouldn’t.”

Foster says he doesn’t want to start calling out his peers. But he doesn’t have a Tony or an Oscar yet, and this is a sticking point in “David Foster: Off the Record.” The documentary premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last month and begins a limited nationwide theatrical run next week before landing on CTV and Crave in November.

The producer’s losses were part of his shtick at a film festival fundraiser dinner where he entertained a crowd of elites with a mock trailer of “Top Gun” that replaced the Oscar-winning Berlin song “Take My Breath Away” with his Oscar-losing song of the same year, the Peter Cetera track “Glory of Love,” from ”The Karate Kid Part II.” Foster argued his work was a far superior piece of music.

He was making the case in jest before his peers, but Foster is dead serious about his awards prospects in conversation.

“I’ve lost at the Oscars three times; I believe at least one of those times I should’ve won,” he says.

In this chat, he’s focused on “The Prayer,” another one of his Oscar contenders that didn’t stick the landing at the Hollywood awards show. The song, which he co-wrote for Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, was featured in 1998 animated film ”Quest for Camelot,” which bombed so big at the box-office that some argue that alone sullied his chances of winning.

There’s also Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” which he co-wrote for “The Bodyguard” — another nominee he believes should’ve picked up a trophy.

But for all this talk about should’ve-been moments, Foster is most invested in the future that’s still in his control.

“I’d like to be able to say I have a hit on Broadway,” he fires into the universe. “I believe in vision boards. You gotta put it out there.”

Foster hasn’t been shy about his Broadway ambitions over the past decade, but the manifestation of his goals hasn’t been easy. He spent years working on a Betty Boop musical that’s stalled numerous times, and though it refuses to die, Foster describes the project that brings the 1930s cartoon character to life as being ”in a state of constant flux.”

“We’ve been through three directors and I’ve written so many songs that it’s just becoming annoying at this point,” he says.

“It’s such a great project, but it just can’t seem to find its way.”

Hope seems to be on the horizon though.

Bob Martin, whose career launched at Toronto’s Second City before he won a Tony for ”The Drowsy Chaperone,” is taking another swing at the book in hopes of finally bringing it to the public. Whether that actually happens, like most stage shows, is anybody’s guess until the pieces fall into place.

Foster is frustrated by all this uncertainty, partly because he’s a “control freak” used to being the leader in studio recording sessions.

“First of all, in theatre, the person that writes the music is not in charge, so I’ve already lost control,” he says.

“The director having all the control is hard — and just randomly waking up one morning (they’re) going, ‘Yeah, that song doesn’t fit.’”

He’s most optimistic about the prospects of another stage musical in his sights. His songs are being reworked for a project by off-Broadway playwright Todd Almond who’s putting a modern spin on a classic revenge tale. The play is being workshopped under director Kelly Devine, who picked up a Tony nomination for her choreography in “Come From Away.”

Even with a number of stage productions showing promise, Foster seems cautious about the realities in this corner of the entertainment business.

“Broadway doesn’t take kindly to ‘pop’ people coming in and just sort of thinking they can do it,” he says.

“It is a much harder process than I imagined it would be, but I bought a place in New York and I immersed myself in the culture. I watched my friend Bryan Adams do it with ‘Pretty Woman.’ It can be done.”

Foster draws on his past experiences for reassurance when he feels any sense of discouragement. “The Bodyguard,” he points out, spent more than 15 years in various script stages before it became a blockbuster movie and the best-selling soundtrack of all time.

Dreams do come true, so perhaps the Tony Awards will be in his future, though Foster admits any serious prospects are still “a long way off.”

He hasn’t forgotten about that elusive Oscar win, either.

Once his Broadway aspirations take shape, Foster plans to wiggle his way back into the movie industry by calling up a few old friends.

“I really want to have a song in a movie. I really want to get a shot at that Oscar, ya know,” he says he’ll tell them.

“Fourth time lucky, maybe.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance responds to a question during a news conference Friday, June 26, 2020 in Ottawa. Vance is ordering his troops to be ready to pick up COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. and Europe on short notice, and prepare to help distribute the doses while responding to floods and other emergencies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Defence chief says CAF will be ready after ordering COVID-19 vaccine prep last week

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces received formal orders last week to… Continue reading

Geoff Neville poses for a photo with his sons Casey, 3, left, and Ryder, 6, in this undated handout photo. Geoff Neville is a rotational worker in Newfoundland and Labrador who works in a mine in Nunavut for 14 days in a row and then gets 14 days off to come home and see his family. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Geoff Neville
‘I’d love to be home:’ N.L. rotational workers facing bullying online

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — As Geoff Neville waited this week in a… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti arrives for a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday November 26, 2020. The Liberal government is set to introduce long-awaited legislation today to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Bill to enshrine UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canadian law

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is set to introduce long-awaited legislation today… Continue reading

In this Nov. 26, 2020, photo, President Donald Trump speaks with reporters after participating in a video teleconference call with members of the military on Thanksgiving, at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Trump expected to flex pardon powers on way out door

WASHINGTON — Advocates and lawyers anticipate a flurry of clemency action from… Continue reading

In this March 18, 2019, file photo, the logo for IBM appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. IBM says it is breaking off a $19 billion chunk of its business to focus on cloud computing. The 109-year-old tech company said Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, it is spinning off its managed infrastructure services unit into a new public company, temporarily named NewCo. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Phishing ploy targets COVID-19 vaccine distribution effort

BOSTON — IBM security researchers say they have detected a cyberespionage effort… Continue reading

Dan Cochrane, senior pastor at CrossRoads Church. Contributed photo
CrossRoads Church closes its doors for two weeks after staff member tests positive for COVID-19

CrossRoads Church made the decision to cancel in-house services for two weeks… Continue reading

Mikael Kingsbury, of Canada, trains during the FIS Freestyle World Cup skiing competition Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Park City, Utah. Kingsbury will miss moguls races for the first time in his World Cup career after suffering a back injury in training on Sunday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jeff Swinger
Canadian moguls star Mikael Kingsbury out four to six weeks with back injury

MONTREAL — Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury will miss moguls races for the first… Continue reading

Detail of James Wilson Morrice's "LaPlage."
James Wilson Morrice canvas outperforms at auction with more than million-dollar sale

A canvas by Montreal-born artist James Wilson Morrice exceeded expectations with a… Continue reading

Bank buildings are photographed in Toronto's financial district on Wednesday, June 27, 2018. International comparisons suggest Canadian financiers are oiling the wheels of the fossil fuel industry at a far greater rate than their peers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
‘Canada really sticks out:’ Studies show banks not so green on climate change

International analyses suggest Canadian financiers are oiling the wheels of the fossil… Continue reading

Goals galore for Ronaldo, Giroud, Neymar in Champions League

Goals galore for Ronaldo, Giroud, Neymar in Champions League

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins is seen at a media availablity to introduce new pitcher Shun Yamaguchi in Toronto on January 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Jays ‘prepared’ if things pick up on free agency and trade fronts this off-season

Jays ‘prepared’ if things pick up on free agency and trade fronts this off-season

Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, left, and teammate Taylor Austin are shown during training in Whistler, B.C., in this undated handout photo. Montreal Allouettes running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence is used to pysching himself up to sprint down a field, evading a crush of muscled men the entire way. But mentally preparing for his latest venture required bracing for a whole new set of anxieties. As he got ready to hop in a bobsleigh for the first time, Murray-Lawrence knew he'd be zipping down an icy track faster than cars are allowed to travel down most highways. Murrary-Lawrence, 27, is one of three CFL players who joined the national bobsleigh team after the league canceled its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Shaquille Murray-Lawrence
Sliding into a new sport: CFLers turn to bobsled after football season wiped out

Sliding into a new sport: CFLers turn to bobsled after football season wiped out

North Carolina State defensive lineman Daniel Joseph (99) celebrates with linebacker Isaiah Moore after Moore forced a Liberty safety during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Raleigh, N.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Hyman, The News & Observer via AP, Pool
Canadian defensive lineman Daniel Joseph enjoying a banner first campaign at NC State

Canadian defensive lineman Daniel Joseph enjoying a banner first campaign at NC State

A Canadian Pacific Railway employee walks along the side of a locomotive in a marshalling yard in Calgary on May 16, 2012. CP says an investigation is underway following the release of a video showing one of the company's trains running over dozens of pronghorn antelope in southwestern Saskatchewan.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CP investigating after video shows train running over pronghorn antelope herd

CP investigating after video shows train running over pronghorn antelope herd

Most Read