Are the Oscars trying to use music to draw a younger viewing audience?
Considering the performers scheduled to sing during tonight’s telecast, that seems like a sound conclusion. The show will air in San Diego at 5:30 p.m. on KGTV Channel 10.
Tonight’s lineup includes: U2, which will perform its song “Ordinary Love” (from the film “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”); Pharrell Williams, who will perform “Happy” (from “Despicable Me 2″); Idina Menzel will perform “Let It Go” (from “Frozen”); and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs will perform “Moon Song” (from “Her,” with Ezra Koening of Vampire Weekend accompanying her on acoustic guitar).
All four of the above were nominated in the Best Song category. (A fifth nominated song, “Alone Yet Not Alone,” from the film of the same name, was subsequently disqualified and removed from the ballot following charges of improper campaigning against Bruce Broughton, who wrote it).
Williams performed “Get Lucky” in January on the Grammy Awards with Daft Punk. Tonight, he will be accompanied on “Happy” by a high school choir and 20 dancers. The four-man U2 will, presumably, perform as a quartet. But, hey, c’est la vie, it’s the Oscars, so you know you never can tell.
This year’s edition appears to be relying even more on music to try and bring down the age of its average viewer, which was 51 last year (when the telecast devoted a large chunk of time to a salute of the musicals “Chicago,” “Dreamgirls” and “Les Misérables”). Pink will perform, although the show’s producers have thus far kept quiet about what song she’ll perform.
We can safely predict that it won’t be “God is A DJ,” “Hell Wit Ya” or “U and Ur Hand.” We can also predict that Seth MacFarlane, who hosted last year’s Oscars in a mildly successful effort to draw younger viewers, won’t be singing at tonight’s show.
For added impact, this year’s slate of nominees for Best Original Score includes Arcade Fire’s Win Butler, who was nominated alongside his frequent collaborator, Owen Pallett, for the music they wrote for “Her.” (Fun fact: Pallett, who usually records under the name Final Fantasy, has made an album called “He Poos Clouds.”)
But the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, under whose auspices the Oscars are presented, appears to be hedging their bets for tonight’s telecast. Its theme, by the way, is to “honor big-screen real-life heroes, superheroes, popular heroes and animated heroes, both past and present, as well as the bold filmmakers who bring them to life.”
Tonight’s musical lineup also includes the divine Bette Midler, who will perform during the “In Memoriam” segment, which salutes Hollywood-and-beyond notables who died during the past year. With that in mind, it doesn’t seem unlikely Midler will perform her inspirational ballad “Wind Beneath My Wings” or the smarm-fueled “From a Distance” (as opposed to, say, “Daytime Hustler,” “Drinking Again” or “My Knight in Black Leather”).
In addition, the telecast will include a 75th anniversary tribute to “The Wizard of Oz.” It will feature the three children of “Oz” star Judy Garland – Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft and Joey Luft. (Until a cancer benefit in October, Liza and Lorna had not performed together in 20 years. Brother Joey has apparently not sung in public for far longer.)
Menzel, who is performing as part of the Best Song lineup tonight, starred in the “Oz”-inspired Broadway musical smash “Wicked,” which was very popular with young girls. Might she do a live mash-up with Liza, Lorna and Joey?
Might Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres do a little song-and-dance routine of her own?