The Oscar nominations were announced today and now that they're over, it's time to turn our attention to the actual awards ceremony. There's at least one part of the ceremony that is contingent on the nominees, and now that they've been announced, it's time for the producers to make the right call regarding Best Original Song. Let the people who actually performed the music for the films perform at the Oscars, let them sing the whole song, and let them show the world why these songs are so great.
The Oscars are an awards ceremony, but they're also a television event. As such, producers fill the show with segments that have nothing to do with the awards themselves. The host usually opens with some sort of monologue, there is often an opening song and dance number, and there are frequently other comedy or music bits sprinkled throughout the telecast. These things are there to keep the audience entertained. Except that the show has a built-in entertainment option. At most Oscar ceremonies, the Best Original Songs are performed. These are often performed in full, and often performed by the original artists from the movies. But not always. This year, it needs to happen.
As expected, La La Land, the major musical film of 2016 was nominated in the Best Original Song category. In addition to the film's main song "City of Stars" being nominated, the Emma Stone solo piece "Audition" was also tapped. "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, "Can't Stop the Feeling" from Trolls, and "The Empty Chair" from Jim: The James Foley Story round out the category.
Quite often, in order to save precious time during the telecast, the Best Original Songs are done in medley format, or they're only given a fraction of the run time to do a shorter version of the song. In the worst possible move, sometimes the actor's who sang the songs are replaced at the ceremony by others. One has to assume that being able to advertise that Beyonce is singing all the nominated songs is expected to draw better ratings. Sometimes the performances are left out entirely. The most baffling move, however, may be when only some of the songs get to be performed. Several times performers have been forced to decline performing, or to boycott the ceremony entirely because their music wasn't given the support it deserved. This needs to end.
These songs were nominated for a reason. They weren't just great songs in their own right, they also made their movies better. Three of the songs may come from people who are not known for their singing, but they've proven they can do it. Four of them will not win the award, let them have their moment. If the Oscars need "star power" fine, "Can't Stop the Feeling" is sung by Justin Timberlake and "The Empty Chair" is performed by Sting. Go ahead advertise the hell out of them in the commercials leading up to the show.
But imagine Emma Stone standing center stage, a single spotlight shining down, performing her "Audition" song. Everybody who has seen the movie will be transported back to the theater as they watched the movie for the first time. Many of those who have not may find themselves wanting to see a movie that they missed. It's true that Emma Stone will need to do double duty, as her duet with Ryan Gosling, "City of Stars," is also nominated, but if she's willing, we know she's able. Watching any two others perform the song would be a crime.
And imagine what a night it could be for Auli'i Cravalho. The voice of Moana is entirely new to Hollywood, her only film credit is this movie. "How Far I'll Go" is the song that launches Moana into something special. Cravalho earned her spot on that stage, to take that away because her name is unknown is missing the point entirely. The fact that she's unknown is the reason she should be up there, singing the whole song. Nobody will be able to match her passion singing on stage.
Jimmy Kimmel will probably be a good host. If we're lucky he'll be a great one, but the Oscars are about the movies. Let him give a monologue, and then let him step aside at led the movies take center stage. Give every Oscar-nominated song as much time as they need to put on a great performance. Make these moments the entertainment portion of the evening. Make people want to tune in to see a young girl make per debut on the Oscar stage. Promote the hell out of a chance to see "La La Land Live." There's certainly enough time in the telecast to give away all the awards and still do that. There will still be time left over, which you can give to the host to do whatever he likes.