The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has confirmed that Black Panther‘s Best Song Oscar nominee “All the Stars” from Kendrick Lamar, Sounwave, Anthony Triffith and SZA will not be performed at Sunday’s ceremony.
Note this absolutely has nothing to do with the running time of the telecast. Since the nominations were announced, there had been ongoing discussions between Lamar’s camp and the Oscar creatives to try and make this performance possible. Lamar, from what we’ve heard from sources outside AMPAS, has been abroad and the closing four-week schedule post-noms was a challenge to turn around a stage performance that would do justice to “All the Stars.”
As such, the mutual decision between all parties, Lamar’s camp and Oscars, was to forgo a performance of the song on Sunday.
Lamar, who has performed at three of the past four Grammys, reportedly also was unable to perform at this month’s show due to work abroad. “All the Stars” was Grammy-nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance and Best Song Written for Visual Media but came away empty-handed.
None of the other nominees, i.e. SZA, wanted to perform “All the Stars” live without Lamar. It’s a complex song and not one you could just hand over to anyone else, so not having Lamar perform it didn’t make sense. Decades ago, the Oscars would pair the wrong singers to perform covers of songs, i.e. Ann Reinking doing Phil Collins’ “Against All Odds” or Connie Stevens crooning Paul McCartney and Wings’ “Live or Let Die.” That wasn’t going to happen on “All the Stars.”
News broke from our sister publication Variety back in January that all five Best Song nominees were to be played on the Oscarcast. But AMPAS never made that official, and it revealed one by one on Twitter who would be performing each song: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born‘s “Shallow,” Bette Midler singing “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from Mary Poppins Returns, Jennifer Hudson performing “I’ll Fight” from RBG, and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings performing “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The Academy never mentioned anything about Lamar and “All the Stars”
Originally, the Oscar producers were planning only to have “All the Stars” and “Shallow” performed. That decision was met with severe backlash, and Deadline reported that the Academy walked it back because either Lady Gaga, or her reps, made it clear that it was completely unfair to eliminate the other three nominated songs — almost like the Academy producers were forecasting who they thought would win. As such, Gaga reportedly wouldn’t perform unless a change was made.
In regards to how “All the Stars” will be presented on the show, we hear the current plan is the track played against video clips.