The Oscars have gone from trying to cut down on musical performances to adding extra ones. In trying to cut down on time for the show to keep broadcaster ABC happy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (henceforth AMPAS) said it would cut performances from most of the nominees for Best Original Song. After being forced to backtrack, they're now adding a non-nominee to the lineup. Adam Lambert and Queen will perform at the 2019 Oscars from the hit biopic Bohemian Rhapsody,
Bohemian Rhapsody is filled with just as much music as it's Best Picture rival A Star Is Born. It has more musical performances per minute than any other film nominated this year. Having Queen, who have been touring on and off all decade with American Idol Season 8 first runner up Adam Lambert, perform of the Oscars should be a no-brainer. It brings an extra music element and celebrates the band who helped inspire and write the hit movie.
But if AMPAS were following tradition, Queen would not take the stage, because those performance slots are for Best Original Song nominees. Bohemian Rhapsody doesn't have a nomination in this category. It's not because the music is terrible. None of the songs are nominated because none of were specifically created for the film. They're all Queen's Greatest Hits.
If you've ever wondered why stage musicals always add an extra song when a movie version gets made, this is why. It's the "nominee" number, the excuse to get a musical performance during the Oscars telecast. The producers behind the Bohemian Rhapsody film didn't consider the film might get a Best Picture nod, and didn't think to have Queen's surviving members create anything new for the Oscars to consider.
(Besides, it would have been slightly jarring and odd, considering the film is *supposed* to be a historically accurate biopic. Spoiler alert: It's not, but no one seems to really care.)
However, having failed at cutting down the show either by cutting songs or giving away Oscars during the commercials, the newest decision by AMPAS is the first excellent move since going host-less. They're going to have Queen perform, even if the songs aren't nominated.
According to Deadline, there's no set list for Queen's performance as of yet.
No word yet on the setlist for Sunday’s Queen extravaganza, but it certainly is likely to be the classic title track from the film and — judging from the Academy’s self-imposed time constraints — not the legendary 25-minute Live Aid performance that was depicted in the film.
Even so, this is a smart move on the part of AMPAS, who desperately needed a win in the press after having to roll back every other idea it's had this year. There may not be a Most Popular Film category, but there will be a popular band, and one whose rock credentials span generations of fans. Having Queen perform is precisely the sort of decision that will cause viewers to tune in, making ABC happy, and celebrate more of this year's films, which will make Oscar fans happy.
The 91st Academy Awards air this Sunday, on Feb. 24, 2019, on ABC at 8 p.m ET.