×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bette Midler Channels Mary Poppins for Oscars Performance

Bette Midler proved a more than suitable fill-in for Emily Blunt (or Julie Andrews) as she informally inherited the role of Mary Poppins for a performance of the nominated song “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Academy Awards Sunday night — although no one would mistake her cleavage-baring dress for a nanny’s uniform.

Midler adopted a colorful look, in contrast to the somberness of the ballad, which was written for a scene in which Mary Poppins finds a metaphor to talk to children about their mother’s death. The inherent warmth in her voice made her a solid choice for the gig … as did her previous experience with the song’s co-writer, Marc Shaiman, who accompanied her on piano.

Shaiman is up for for two Oscars this year, contending for best score for “Mary Poppins Returns” as well as sharing the nomination for “Lost Things” with his co-lyricist, Scott Wittman.

Blunt was one of two performers of nominees for best original song who couldn’t or wouldn’t perform on the Oscars, the other being Kendrick Lamar and SZA, who didn’t make themselves available to sing “All the Star” from “Black Panther.” In Blunt’s case, rumor had it that, not usually being a singer, she didn’t want to subject herself to a live performance on the telecast, even though songwriters Shaiman and Wittman said the actress has perfect pitch. In any case, a substitute was needed, and it wasn’t a huge surprise that the task fell to Midler. Her collaborations with Shaiman go at least as far back as the memorable serenade she gave Johnny Carson in the final week of his “Tonight Show” hosting duties).

Shaiman and Wittman had been aghast at the idea that their song was set to be cut with the Oscars, along with the nominated tunes from “RBG” and “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” They’ve credited Lady Gaga for standing up for the songs that were destined to be axed. In the end, Midler substituting for Blunt provided an extra publicity bonus that couldn’t have hurt, even if it made the show run three minutes longer.

More Music

  • Spice Girls Open Reunion Tour in

    Spice Girls Open European Reunion Tour With Inclusivity Proclamations, Sound Issues

    Posh Spice chose not to be included, but there was a lot of other inclusivity to go around as the four other Spice Girls opened their reunion tour in Dublin Friday night. “We welcome all ages, all races, all gender identifies, all countries of origin, all sexual orientations, all religions and beliefs, all abilities,” they [...]

  • Moby attends the LA premiere of

    Moby Apologizes to Natalie Portman Over Book Controversy

    Moby has issued an apology of sorts after writing in his recently published memoir “Then It Fell Apart” that he dated Natalie Portman when she was 20 — a claim the actress refuted. “As some time has passed I’ve realized that many of the criticisms leveled at me regarding my inclusion of Natalie in Then [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    Billie Eilish Fans to Receive Perks Due to Chicago Venue Change

    Billie Eilish and her music agents at Paradigm are experiencing what most would call a first class problem. The demand to see the 17-year-old singer live has prompted a change of venue for her June 9 show in Chicago — from the 5,000-capacity Aragon Ballroom to the 20,000-plus-seat United Center arena. The last-minute venue change [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • Ellen DeGeneres Buys Adam Levine’s Beverly

    Adam Levine Cashes in on Sale of Max Mutchnick’s Former Mansion to Ellen DeGeneres

    Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo have sold a baronial Beverly Hills mansion with an illustrious chain of ownership for a reported $45 million to Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. The mainstream radio rock star, who, it was announced Friday, will not to return as a coach on “The Voice,” and the Namibian-born Victoria’s Secret [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content