After failing to secure a host, producers of this year's Oscars have tried to whittle down the big night by (reportedly) not presenting certain awards like cinematography live. And -- gasp -- not having all the Oscar-nominated musicians perform during the ceremony.
They did an about-face on the last one, apparently thanks to Lady Gaga, who is nominated for Best Actress and Best Original Song.
The Academy -- who reportedly wanted Queen to open the show at one point -- had originally decided that only two songs would be performed on Oscar night: "Shallow" from "A Star is Born" and Kendrick Lamar/SZA's "All the Stars" from "Black Panther," according to Deadline.
That would mean we wouldn't see Jennifer Hudson sing "I’ll Fight" from "RBG," or Tim Blake Nelson reprise "When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" from "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs." (Word is Emily Blunt might opt out of performing "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from "Mary Poppins Returns.")
Deadline reported: "The reason the Academy walked back that decision was because either Lady Gaga herself, or her reps, made it clear she felt it was completely unfair to eliminate the three songs — almost like the Academy producers were forecasting who they thought would win — and that she wouldn’t perform if a change wasn’t made. And that’s why the Academy tweeted that all the songs will be shown, even if the tunes are truncated."
We might be hearing only 90-second versions of the songs, which means that Best Original Song performances will run less than 8 minutes, total.
And, more scandal, last year's acting winners -- Gary Oldman, Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, and Allison Janney — have reportedly not yet been asked to present this year’s awards. Instead the Academy is rumored to be seeking "bigger stars" like Tom Hanks or Oprah Winfrey for the honor.
Let's hope Sam Rockwell at least is invited as he's nominated again this year!
And that all this gets sorted out before Oscar night, which is February 24.
[Via Vulture, Deadline]