The Oscar-nominated songs “Manta Ray,” from the documentary “Racing Extinction,” and “Simple Song #3,” from Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth,” will not be performed on the 88th Academy Awards, Variety has learned. The reason, according to a source: “time constraints.”
On Jan. 28, the Academy announced that Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and the Weeknd would perform their nominated tunes from “The Hunting Ground,” “Spectre” and “Fifty Shades of Grey,” respectively, on the telecast. A special performance by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl has also been announced.
Last week, the campaigns behind the two outlying original song nominees, performed by lesser-known acts, were informed they would not be part of the show.
“Manta Ray” features music by two-time Oscar-nominated composer J. Ralph, with lyrics by Antony Hegarty (a.k.a. Anohni), who also performs. “Simple Song #3” was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang and performed by South Korean soprano Sumi Jo, a Grammy winner. But those credentials weren’t enough to keep them on the program.
Songs have been pulled from the Oscars a few times in recent memory, including J. Ralph’s own “Before My Time” from the 2012 documentary “Chasing Ice” (songs from “Skyfall,” “Les Miserables” and “Ted” were performed). In 2010 and 2012, all nominees were yanked from the rundown, while Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” was the only exclusion on the 2003 telecast, because the hip-hop artist did not attend. He ultimately won the Oscar.
The Weeknd’s “Earned It” was a Grammy winner for best R&B performance this year. It was also nominated, along with Lady Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You,” for best song written for visual media. Both lost to last year’s best original song Oscar winner, “Glory,” from Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.”