As Deadline exclusively broke on March 31 (and as I also detailed earlier in today’s Notes on the Season column), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has confirmed that for the first time ever all five nominated songs will not be a part of the actual Oscar ceremony but rather performed in their entirety on the 90-minute pre-show “Oscars: Into the Spotlight.” Four of them will be pre-recorded at the Dolby Family Terrace of the new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, and one will be recorded from Iceland.
In L.A., Celeste and Daniel Pemberton will do “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7, H.E.R. sings “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah; Laura Pausini and Diane Warren team for the Italian-language “Io Si (Seen)” from The Life Ahead and Leslie Odom Jr sings “Speak Now” from One Night In Miami.
Coming in from Husavik, Iceland will be Molly Sanden for “Husavik,” from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga, the latter being the only one performed by someone who is not also nominated as a writer of the song they will be singing; Swedish superstar Sanden actually dubbed co-star Rachel McAdams, who is seen in the film singing it with Will Ferrell. Netflix had originally thought Ferrell himself would appear to perform, but that isn’t happening.
Also in a first for recent Oscar shows: all five songs will be sung in their entirety and not cut for time. This will certainly be good news in terms of trying to keep the ceremony coming in at a hoped-for three hours, but it is also a clean break from Oscar tradition.
Hosted by actors Ariana DeBose (Hamilton, The Prom) and Lil Rel Howery (Bad Trip), the 90-minute “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” will highlight the nominees’ journey that has brought them to the Oscars, give fans around the world the “ultimate insiders’ sneak peek into the party” as well as bringing the Oscar-nominated songs to the festivities. The show will feature an appearance by DJ Tara. Normally the pre-show broadcast focuses on fashion and red carpet interviews, but the pandemic has forced the Academy to get a little more innovative with it this year.
At the conclusion of the 93rd Oscars, the celebration continues live on ABC with “Oscars: After Dark,” hosted by Colman Domingo (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Andrew Rannells (The Prom) and featuring interviews by film critic Elvis Mitchell. The special recaps the memorable moments and showcases the night’s winners as they have their Oscar statuettes personalized.
“We’ve come up with some serious pre-game and post-game action to enhance our main event,” said Oscar show producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh. “Our suggestion is just tune in for the whole shebang, otherwise you’ll miss something really unexpected and fun.”
Both specials are executive produced by Michael Antinoro and David Chamberlin.
The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood (the latter, although not announced yet, we hear will be used for special presentations such as the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to the Motion Picture Television Fund, with numerous doctors and staff appearing onstage), and international locations via satellite. It will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
“Oscars: Into the Spotlight” will air live on Oscar Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.