I don’t know which nominee for 2017’s Best Original Song is most likely to win an Oscar on March 4th, but Sufjan Stevens‘ “Mystery of Love“, from Call Me By Your Name, is easily (a) the catchiest, (b) the most transporting, and (c) the song that should obviously win. The 90th Academy Awards Wikipage lists Stevens as one of the performers so I’ve naturally been looking forward to the big moment when he strums and sings on the Dolby stage.
The other expected performers and nominated songs are Mary J. Blige (“Mighty River” from Mudbound), Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade (“Remember Me” from Coco), Andra Day and Common (“Stand Up For Something” from Marshall) and Keala Settle (“This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman).
Except last week Gold Derby‘s Chris Beachum wrote that “we are hearing rumors that only three songs will be performed: ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman, ‘Remember Me’ from Coco and ‘Mighty River’ from Mudbound.”
The next day Beachum added: “This is confirmed by someone we know involved in booking the show. Producers have blocked out the entire ceremony and say there is only time for three [songs] to be performed.” Beachum later clarified that “the person telling us this information has ties to the show but isn’t working directly on it…I haven’t heard anything so far to counter what is being rumored.”
My response to this heresay was, of course, “whoa, whoa, WHAT?” Call Me By Your Name is Best Picture-nominated, and the Academy is going to (a) ignore a totally hummable tune that everyone associates with Luca Guadagnino’s love story and (b) tell the great Sufjan Stevens that there’s no room at the inn? A lot of people are listening to that soundtrack album now…c’mon!
Last night I wrote Oscar telecast producer Mike DeLuca about this…David Lynch silencio. This morning I wrote Academy publicist Natalie Kojen, who referred me to Oscar telecast publicist Steve Rohr. More silencio.
Apparently there’s some rule that Oscar telecast producers are “obligated by the music branch to either perform zero, three or five songs for each ceremony.” Former N.Y. Daily News editor Wayman Wong tells me there is precedent for only three of the nominated songs having been performed. It happened in 2013 and 2016.
At the 2013 Oscars (awarding the movies of 2012), Adele sang “Skyfall”, HughJackman sang “Suddenly” from Les Miserables and NorahJones sang “Everybody Needs a Friend” from Ted, which had lyrics by SethMcFarlane, that evening’s Oscar host.
No one sang “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi or “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice (performed in the documentary by Scarlett Johansson).
Same deal at the 2016 Oscars (honoring 2015 films): Lady Gaga, Sam Smith and The Weeknd performed tunes from The Hunting Ground, Spectre and Fifty Shades of Grey.