2019 oscars song performances

It’s no secret that the producers behind this year’s Academy Awards Ceremony are desperate to keep the show under three hours…and they’re taking some pretty extreme measures to make it happen. First, there was the news that several awards would be given out during commercial breaks, a major slap in the face to the sound technicians and shorts filmmakers who would be given that dishonor. Now, it’s being reported that the ceremony will only feature live performances of two of the five nominees for Best Original Song.

Variety reports that “Shallow” from A Star is Born and “All the Stars” from Black Panther will be the only nominated songs to be performed at the 91st Academy Awards. “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns, “I’ll Fight” from RGB, and “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs will only get mentioned when the nominees are announced moments before the envelope with the winner inside is opened.

Naturally, this choice has ruffled some feathers. First of all, “Shallow” and “All the Stars” are the only chart-topping hits among the nominees, so this already feels like a move to grab ratings rather than honor the nominees (you know, what this whole evening is supposed to be about). Second, both tracks are from the Interscope label, which has led to some rumblings about favoritism. Variety reports that the Academy’s music branch is none-too-happy about this, as are the nominees who won’t get a chance to perform.

Let’s be honest: the OscarsĀ areĀ too damn long and something has to be done to get this show under control. However, giving out some awards during commercials and chopping out musical performances from nominees isn’t the way to go. Why not cut the bombastic opening musical numbers that no one ever likes? Why not cut the “tribute to film” montages that viewers always use as an excuse to go to the bathroom? Why not cut the awful comedy bits that slow everything down to a crawl? This night is supposed to be about honoring artists and giving actors, filmmakers, and everyone involved in the creation of the nominated films a spotlight. In the past, other ceremonies have reduced the number of performances from nominated films (or not performed them at all), but that doesn’t make this the right choice to keep the show’s length under control.

Look, “All the Stars” and “Shallow” are great songs and it’ll be a genuine treat to see Kendrick Lamar and SZA and Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper take the stage to perform them. But I also want to see Emily Blunt, Jennifer Hudson, and even Tim Blake Nelson (!) get the chance to perform their memorable work. There is so much nonsense the show’s producers can chop before they get to this.

Anyway, the Academy declined to comment when asked by Variety, so maybe they’ll reverse course. The Oscars will air on February 24, 2019.

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