Amid pressures to shorten the first hostless Academy Awards in 30 years, the Academy has just announced that Queen will be performing at the Oscars.
Joined by Adam Lambert, Queen will take the stage on Hollywood’s biggest night. In an interview with The New York Times, the lead producer of the 91st Academy Awards, Donna Gigliotti, and Glenn Weiss, the telecast’s co-producer and director, hinted at a “strong open” for the 91st Academy Awards, though they wouldn’t give away what they had planned. Could a performance by Queen be the opening number? The producers did say they expected the first award to be handed out around seven minutes into the ceremony. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is just shy of six minutes. So technically, you could fit it and an introduction for the first award in seven minutes. Just saying.
Bohemian Rhapsody, a biopic on the band and its frontman, Freddie Mercury, is nominated for Best Picture among a host of other categories, including Best Actor for Rami Malek’s portrayal of Mercury, Best Sound Mixing, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Editing. The film has been plagued with complaints that it erases Mercury’s sexuality. Among the announced performances, it is the only film to have a song performed that isn’t nominated for Best Original Song. Other performances include Jennifer Hudson, Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Gillian Welch, and David Rawlings.
“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” the Academy tweeted, using the famous lyric to announce the news.
The nominees for Best Picture are getting more airtime this year to make up for the lack of a host. Each will have an eight-minute presentation about what the films meant to them given by people outside the entertainment industry. Serena Williams was recently confirmed to give the presentation for A Star Is Born. It’s unlikely that Queen’s performance will be a part of Bohemian Rhapsody’s presentation, but it will make for a very glam rock-filled night.
Even with cutting out host monologues, it doesn’t seem like the goal to keep the Oscars under three hours will be met. Gigliotti told the New York Times, "The answer is no." Especially not after the categories which would originally go untelevised got added back into the mix.
Maybe we can all take notes from Queen. Sure, most pop songs are around three minutes long, but not all pop songs are “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Most award show ceremonies can cut down their airtime to around three hours, but the Oscars aren’t most award shows.