Jennifer Hudson went from zero to sixty in nearly record time in the two-minute slot she was given to sing “I’ll Fight,” the first of the nominees for best original song to be performed at the Oscars.
“I’ll Fight” came close to not even being part of the Oscars telecast, given the producers’ initial desire to cut down on the number of musical performances dragging out the length of the show — but the Academy ultimately had to be happy to have a household name like Hudson in the house to help break up the parade of speeches they were also finally obligated to include.
Hudson appeared in front of a giant LED screen’s worth of pillars, setting a Supreme Court scenario for the song Diane Warren wrote for “RBG.” Her combination of ultra-long gown — even longer than the comical gown Melissa McCarthy had worn earlier — and menswear-style top seemed to embrace the idea of a woman making it in a man’s world, one of the key themes of the documentary about Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
There were some rough patches in that instant speed-up to the power notes, though, as social media commentators wondered if a problem in Hudson’s in-ear monitors led her to hit a questionable note when she hit full roar a minute and a half into the song. That was uncharacteristic enough that no one’s doubting the choice of the best supporting actress winner (for “Dreamgirls”) to play Aretha Franklin in a planned biopic.