Lin-Manuel Miranda was not on hand to accept Oscar accolades Sunday night, but his work was certainly well-represented, as his song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” provided the Academy Awards telecast one of its splashier moments, uniting voice-cast members from “Encanto” with additional top music stars.
It’s almost unprecedented for a song that could have been nominated for the best original song Oscar but wasn’t to get a performance on the Oscars. That’s nonetheless what happened for the 2022 show, as Miranda’s more somber ballad, “Dos Oruguitas,” was what got nominated by Disney from “Encanto,” and ultimately nominated. But it’s the romp “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” that unexpectedly became a multi-week No. 1 pop hit, and it was close to a fait accompli that “Bruno” would be the tune the Academy, the “Encanto” camp and families around the world would want to see on the show.
As an ensemble number, “Bruno” set a Billboard record for the biggest number of primary artists named on a No. 1 Hot 100 single, with Adassa (who voiced Dolores), Stephanie Beatriz (Mirabel), Mauro Castillo (Felix), Carolina Gaitan (Pepa) and Diane Guerrero (Isabela) all receiving top billing on the song. All were present and accounted for in the Oscar performance — and then some, as they were joined by two special guests from the Latin music world, Luis Fonsi (of “Despacito” fame) and Becky G, and a surprise appearance by rapper Megan Thee Stallion and percussionist Sheila E.
The lyrics were edited slightly, to the dismay of the “Encanto” faithful, but the colorful performance provided the sort of sparkle and spectacle that the show needed going into its third hour of broadcast.
Miranda announced Saturday that he would not be able to attend the show to cheer on the “Encanto” cast or pick up any possible awards, due to his wife having tested positive for COVID-19.
“Made it to Hollywood… This weekend, my wife tested + for COVID,” he tweeted Saturday afternoon. “She’s doing fine. Kids & I have tested , but out of caution, I won’t be going to the Oscars tomorrow night. Cheering for my TickTickBoom & Encanto families w my own family, alongside all of you, ALL of you.”
Replied actor Mark Hamill, “Wishing you & your family all the best … I’ve been to the Oscars twice & they’re MUCH more fun from home.”
“Encanto” came into the ceremony with three nominations, one for Miranda for best original song for “Dos Oruguitas” and two more for original score and animated feature. His directorial debut, “Tick, Tick… Boom!,” was also up for two Oscars, though neither was for Miranda himself. Much attention was paid to Miranda’s “Encanto” song nod, with a win in that category being what was needed to officially push him into EGOT status.