In 2014, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will sponsor a live concert featuring the nominees in the Best Original Score and Best Original Song categories. The source for this information is not an Academy press release, but an internal email from Music Branch governors Charles Fox (Nine to Five, Little Darlings), Arthur Hamilton (Zero Hour!, Madron), and David Newman (The Nutty Professor, Behaving Badly) that found its way into the Deadline.com inbox.
The Academy's concert is to be held at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus in Westwood on Thursday, Feb. 27 '14, three days before the March 2 Oscarcast. As per the Academy's email, “a symphony orchestra of Los Angeles studio musicians will perform a suite from each score of up to 10 minutes in length. Subject to availability, each original composer will conduct his/her own work. We're planning for brief onstage conversation with composers and their directors about the process of creating music for motion pictures. Regarding the performance of songs, it is our hope that either the original artists or the songwriter(s) will perform their own songs live.”
As per TheWrap's Steve Pond, the live concert, which may become an annual event, is not expected to be televised. Pond adds that “a person familiar with the AMPAS Board of Governors' thinking” said “it was too early to tell” whether or not the 2014 Oscar ceremony will feature performances of the nominated songs. In other words, the Academy's Best Original Song / Best Original Score concert may end up as the musical version of the Governors Awards, which rid the Oscar ceremony of Honorary Oscar, Irving G. Thalberg Award, and Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award non-celebrity recipients such as James Earl Jones, Lauren Bacall, Roger Corman, Oprah Winfrey, The Godfather cinematographer Gordon Willis, and (no-show) Jean-Luc Godard.
Best Original Song nominees not always performed at Oscar ceremony
“This past Oscar show featured all five of the nominated songs for the first time in a number of years,” the Academy letter reads. “That was a welcome return for the importance that original songs have always had in films.”
Actually, at the 2013 Oscar ceremony, only one of the five Best Original Song nominees was performed in full, as its own number. That's when Adele sang “Skyfall” from the James Bond movie of the same name. Additionally, host Seth MacFarlane performed Ted's “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” as part of his schtick, while Hugh Jackman sang segments from the Les Misérables song “Suddenly.” The other two nominees, “Pi's Lullaby” from Life of Pi and “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, were heard only briefly.
Since the mid-'40s, only three times in Academy Award history have performances of the Best Original Song nominees been totally left out of the Oscar ceremony: 1989 (the winner was Carly Simon's “Let the River Run” from Working Girl), 2010 (the winner was Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett's “The Weary Kind,” from Crazy Heart), and 2012 (the winner was Bret McKenzie's “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets).
Adele Oscar photo: Bryan Crowe / © A.M.P.A.S.