Why Isn't Kendrick Lamar Performing At The 2019 Oscars? 'Black Panther' Fans Are Pissed
We may belt along to "Shallow" and shed a tear over "The Place Where Lost Things Go" during the Oscars broadcast on Feb. 24, but one of fans' favorite nominated tunes will be absent from the Academy Awards ceremony. Following the decision that all five Best Song nominees would perform, the chance to cheer on the musical representation from Black Panther now won't pop up. So, why isn't Kendrick Lamar performing at the 2019 Oscars? The "All the Stars" artist didn't feel that he and his collaborator SZA had enough time to prepare for a performance.
ICYMI, the Academy Awards' pattern of missteps this year included the initial announcement that out of its five Best Original Song nominees, only Top 10 hits "Shallow" (A Star Is Born) and "All The Stars" from Black Panther would be performed during the Oscars broadcast. This was explained as an attempt to cut down on the ceremony's running time. After public backlash about the choice, the Oscars announced that the ceremony would now include additional performances of nominees "I'll Fight" (RBG), "The Place Where Lost Things Go" (Mary Poppins Returns), and "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings" (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs).
However, this Oscars season seems destined to disappoint us in one way or another. On Feb. 21, the Academy announced that original artists Kendrick Lamar and SZA would not appear to perform their beloved "All The Stars" and that the song would not be performed at all. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy invited the pair to perform the nominated song, but Lamar, currently in Europe, did not feel comfortable with the amount of time he'd have to prepare and deliver an Oscars performance. Because the Grammy-nominated song is so closely associated with Lamar and SZA, producers of the Oscars decided they'd rather not invite other artists to perform it in their absence. In Variety's exclusive report of the news, "logistics and timing" were also cited as reasons for Lamar's absence.
As "All The Stars" is now the only Best Song nominee absent from the performance lineup, the hype surrounding Black Panther's seven total nominations has definitely taken a hit. Fans took to Twitter to share their disappointment about the change in schedule.
Although nominees and fans got what they wished for when the Academy allowed all of the songs to perform, Lamar and SZA's no-show isn't the only letdown among the Best Song category. Instead of Mary Poppins Returns star Emily Blunt appearing onstage to sing "The Place Where Lost Things Go," past Academy Award nominee Bette Midler will perform the Disney tune. Original artist Jennifer Hudson will perform "I'll Fight," while Gillian Welch and David Rawlings return for "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings," but two of the year's most recognizable songs appearing with changes or not at all is totally a bummer.
The good news is that we still have Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper's performance of "Shallow" to look forward to on Sunday night. The song already snagged two Grammy awards earlier this year, so without a Black Panther performance, maybe A Star Is Born will have its time to shine. You can still count on a "Wakanda forever" cheer from me during the Oscars ceremony.
The 91st Academy Awards air at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 24, on ABC.