Jay Maidment/Disney
December 18, 2018 at 08:06 AM EST

Several musical or music-driven films are attempting to hit the high notes at the Oscars, Golden Globes, and other awards shows this year, and The Awardist podcast is taking a look at their chances of bringing home trophies.

From the full-on musical treatment of Mary Poppins Returns to the song-filled films A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody to the pianist portrait Green Book, music is definitely in the air. This week, EW digital director and The Awardist host Shana Naomi Krochmal welcomes deputy editor Bill Keith and Marc Snetiker, editor of EW’s Must List, to discuss what makes a musical, which original scores and songs are in the running this awards season, and whether you can sing your way to a statuette.

Also in this episode, Marc and EW senior writer Piya Sinha-Roy chat with Mary Poppins Returns director Rob Marshall about bringing the Disney sequel to life. Although Marshall has previously brought Broadway shows to the big screen with Chicago (2002), Nine (2009), and Into the Woods (2014), Mary Poppins Returns marks his first original movie musical.

“When I was first approached about doing this, of course the first thing is, ‘Oh my gosh, how could we possibly consider doing a sequel to that brilliant film?’” Marshall says, referring to 1964’s Mary Poppins. “And then it was sort of like, ‘Well, if someone’s going to do it, I’d like to do it.’ Because I really wanted to make sure that I protected and cared for the first film, and really saw it as a way to pay homage to it — but also, at the same time, create something completely new from the very beginning. And so it was this incredible balancing act the entire time.”

For Marshall, the optimistic spirit of Mary Poppins Returns is also a crucial element. “For me, this was the story to tell now, in today’s world,” the director says. “I really felt a real deep sense that we need a ray of light in the world today, something that we can wake up in the morning for. It felt so current for me to do this film today and now.”

The Awardist podcast is part of our comprehensive awards coverage, online and in the magazine. And since we’re talking about awards in December, we’re also making some bold predictions for what will happen in January and February. (We even ask Marshall to share which of his fellow directors and movies he thinks deserve awards recognition, but first, he’s got some catching up to do.)

Listen to the longer discussion below, or on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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