Grab some tissues and prepare to cry (again) through "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns. The nominated song will be performed at the 2019 Oscars, but not by Emily Blunt. We already knew that, and we knew the Academy teased that "a surprise special guest" would be singing the beautiful tune instead.
Many fans guessed it would be Julie Andrews, the original Mary Poppins, despite Andrews not having any connection to Mary Poppins Returns (and instead having a cameo in competitor Aquaman). Also, Andrews, who is now 83, had complications after vocal cord surgery and hasn't done as much singing since then.
Instead, the surprise special guest revealed the news herself last night:
"Wind Beneath My Wings" singer Bette Midler has won three Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and two Tony Awards. She was also nominated for the Best Actress Oscar twice -- for The Rose in 1980 and in 1992 for For the Boys. She should be able to do the Mary Poppins Returns song justice.
The Oscars has seen many controversies this year, including for the Best Original Song category. Initially, to shorten the ceremony, The Academy planned to only have two of the five nominated songs performed live -- "Shallow" from A Star is Born, and "All the Stars" from Black Panther. That was met with plenty of backlash, and the Academy reversed the decision. Now all of the five nominees will be heard -- those three, plus "I'll Fight" from RBG, and "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
"The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns has nominations for Marc Shaiman's music, and the lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. According to Variety, Bette Midler is a longtime friend of composer-lyricist Marc Shaiman, and he's expected to accompany her on piano at the Oscars.
In CinemaBlend's ranking of Mary Poppins Returns songs, "The Place Where Lost Things Go" was picked as #1 -- for the way Emily Blunt's Mary subtly and beautifully sings of the children's loss in a lullaby.
It's a shame Emily Blunt wasn't nominated for an Oscar for her performance, and also sad that she won't be performing this song herself. There has been no explanation for why Blunt isn't performing the song -- did she say she'd prefer not to? -- but now we know the song is in the capable hands of Bette Midler.