There will be special musical numbers at the upcoming Oscar presentation and 69 dancers on stage, but the songwriters and singers who performed the Best Original Song nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards have been scratched from the show for the first time in 20 years.
The five songs are: "The Weary Kind" by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett, and performed by Jeff bridges in Crazy Heart, two songs by Randy Newman from The Princess and the Frog, "Almost There" by Anika Noni Rose and "Down in New Orleans," by Dr. John. Also, Nora Arnezeder sings "Loin de Paname," from Paris 36 and Marion Cotillard sang "Take It All" in Nine.
The Oscar's co-producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic will not invite these artists to perform. Instead the plan is to showcase songs with excerpts from the films, similar to most other categories on the show.
Though these musical segments in the show are often criticized, eliminating the performers is not a popular decision.
There's also a plan for "something different" for the score category. To be eligible the songs are designed as an integral part of the films so most nominees are songs performed during the film.
And I can't help but think back to the last time the nominated songs were not performed on the Oscars. That particular show used a whole lot of dancers, too: it was the 61st Academy Awards, produced by Allan Carr.
The show was widely criticized as the glitziest, silliest Oscar show ever (you may remember it for Rob Lowe and Snow White), and it led to the formation of a special Academy committee and an overhaul of how the Oscars are produced.
A "bare stage and a pin spot" required by Shankman for the performance would be possible with some of these songs but not all.
The 82nd Academy Awards will be televised live on March 7 at 5 pm PT/8 pm ET.