The Oscars will apparently feature all five nominated songs after all

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

Last week we reported that the Oscars would feature performances of only two of the Best Original Song nominees – “Shallow” from A STAR IS BORN and “All the Stars” from BLACK PANTHER – a move that received some backlash from fans and the film community as a whole. As a result, the Academy has decided to backtrack their original plan and has instead opted to let each song be featured during the broadcast. There’s only one catch: each song will only be played for 90 seconds.


The news broke yesterday when the Academy posted a tweet saying Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson would be performing the song “I’ll Fight” from the documentary RBG, while the song “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from MARY POPPINS RETURNS would be performed by a “special guest” (does the name rhyme with Schmooly Canblues?). Variety then confirmed that indeed all five songs will be played, with no word yet on who would perform the song “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS, which was sung by Tim Blake Nelson in the movie. 

However, while does sound like a positive for anyone hoping to hear all the songs performed Variety also learned that the Academy has sent out “offers have gone out to reps from all five to perform the songs, although in truncated, 90-second form.” Sadly, that means anyone hoping to hear Bradley Cooper and Gaga duet during the broadcast may have to settle for just one of the stars.

The report also details how there may be solidarity between the performers, though, with sources telling Variety there’s a “perform all or perform none” tactic being played, in hopes that the Academy will budge. Stars have refused to perform in the past, like at the 81st Oscars back in 2009 when Peter Gabriel backed out of singing his nominated song “Down to Earth” from WALL-E after he learned he would only get 65 seconds to sing it. John Legend replaced him, and the song was performed as part of medley also featuring the two nominated songs from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Then there have been past ceremonies where none of the songs were performed at all, so there’s plenty of precedent for the Academy to take things down any number of routes.


What this reflects is an Academy struggling to get with the times and address past issues with overlong runtimes, but in the process are belittling the very thing they’re honoring: movies. Not only are the songs being cut down but word is the Academy will hand out trophies for some “below the line” categories, like Sound Mixing, during the commercial break, which is a shame. Sure, Best Documentary Short isn’t as sexy as Best Picture, but everyone nominated worked incredibly hard on their craft and they deserve their time to thank everyone watching – including their families. Say what you will about the Oscars and their nominating process, but they are about celebrating the best in movies, but to rush through certain prizes or songs so as not to "bore" people with a long show and to get to the "good stuff" is contradictory to that idea. It's a good move for the Academy to have all the songs performed, even if the 90 second time is a bit of a drag, so hopefully, the artists can win the day and get their full time. 

The Oscars will air on February 24 on ABC.

Source: Variety, The Academy

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