UPDATED: The Motion Picture Academy, responding to a widespread backlash to its initial plan to only spotlight two of the best original song nominees on the Oscarcast, is now planning to have all five nominated songs performed on the Feb. 24 show, Variety has learned.
Earlier today, the Academy tweeted that Jennifer Hudson would perform “I’ll Fight,” the Diane Warren-penned song from the documentary “RBG.” A subsequent tweet announced a “spoiler” that “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” would be “performed by a surprise special guest” — leaving open the question of whether Emily Blunt, who performed it in the film, would count as a surprise.
Previously, the plan had been to include only the top 10 hits “Shallow,” from “A Star Is Born,” and “All the Stars,” from “Black Panther.”
Producers last week told representatives for the remaining three nominees that there wasn’t time to perform all five songs in a streamlined show. But now, sources tell Variety that offers have gone out to reps from all five to perform the songs, although in truncated, 90-second form.
On Friday, the Academy announced that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper would perform “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” while Gillian Welch and David Rawlings will sing “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
It is not yet clear whether other performers associated including Blunt, Kendrick Lamar and SZA (“All the Stars”) would perform their songs.
Sources say that the nominees were talking among themselves last week and that some agreed that solidarity was important, and that a united front of “perform them all” or “perform none of them” might work as a tactic. Whether that happened is not clear.
The Academy did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
At one point, the possibility of having still more music on the telecast was in play: Sources tell Variety a feeler went out to the members of Queen to open the show with one of the hits revived in the “Bohemian Rhapsody” film, but that’s not happening.