Bette Midler will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go” at the Oscar ceremonies on Feb. 24, Variety has learned.
Midler, a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, will sing the song originally performed by Emily Blunt in “Mary Poppins Returns.” The song, by Shaiman and his lyricist partner Scott Wittman, is one of five nominees for best original song.
The Academy teased this on Jan. 31 by tweeting, “SPOILER ALERT: It will be performed by a surprise special guest.”
This was in the aftermath of a Variety report about the original plan, which was to perform only two of the five nominated songs (“Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” and “All the Stars” from “Black Panther”). The backlash resulted in the Academy’s decision to perform all five nominated songs, including the one from “Mary Poppins Returns.”
Shaiman is expected to accompany Midler on piano.
“As a child of the ’60s, I grew up obsessed with the ‘Mary Poppins’ soundtrack, learning everything about songwriting and film scoring from it,” Shaiman wrote on Facebook shortly after this report. “As a teenager in the ’70s, I became obsessed with new star Bette Midler, who fate amazingly led me to, resulting in our 40-year relationship. Could I have ever imagined that one day Bette Midler would sing a song I co-wrote with Scott Wittman for a sequel to ‘Mary Poppins’ at the Academy Awards?! My heart is exploding.”
Midler is a two-time Best Actress nominee (for 1979’s “The Rose” and 1991’s “For the Boys”). During the 2014 Oscarcast, she sang “Wind Beneath My Wings” — the song that Shaiman suggested Midler sing in the film “Beaches,” and which has now become a signature Midler song. He worked as her musical director for many years.
Shaiman is also an Oscar veteran. In addition to having performed on the broadcast, he has twice been musical director for the show and won a 1992 Emmy for supplying host Billy Crystal’s musical medley.
The 91st Oscars will be held on Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, and will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/PT.