With just a few days to go until the 2019 Oscars, Variety reported on Thursday that Kendrick Lamar and SZA will not be performing their nominated song “All the Stars,” from Black Panther, during Sunday’s broadcast. And nobody else will, either.
That means that of the five nominees in the Best Original Song category, only four will be performed live during the telecast.
That’s a bit curious, especially in light of all the chaos surrounding this year’s show. In late January, performances of the nominated songs became part of a string of controversial flashpoints, after Variety reported that only two of the five were slated for inclusion: “All the Stars” and “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born. (Notably, those were also the only two nominees that charted.)
But widespread criticism of that plan — which was presumably hatched in an effort to streamline and shorten the broadcast — resulted in the Academy issuing a statement that all five songs would be performed after all, albeit in a “truncated, 90-second form.”
Fast forward to a few weeks later, however, and it appears that the Academy has failed to convince Lamar and SZA to appear. (The pair also did not perform “All the Stars” at the Grammys, where the song was nominated for four awards, including Record of the Year and Song of the Year.)
Variety reports that a source close to the situation explained the impending absence as due to “logistics and timing.”
So now, unless something changes yet again, the Oscars will feature performances of only four of the five Best Original Song nominees (as well as a special appearance from Queen, the band featured in Best Picture nominee Bohemian Rhapsody, fronted by Adam Lambert).
It’s unclear if any other artists were asked to perform “All the Stars.” That’s what’s happening with “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns, which was performed in the film by Emily Blunt, but will be performed at the Oscars by Bette Midler.
The three other nominated songs will be performed by the artists who originally recorded them. “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born, will be performed by the film’s stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (who also directed the film). Jennifer Hudson will perform a selection from “I’ll Fight,” from the documentary RBG. And Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings will perform “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
The 2019 Oscars will air Sunday, February 24, at 8 pm Eastern / 5 pm Pacific on ABC.