LOS ANGELES—Adele singing the theme song from “Skyfall” live for the first time. Russell Crowe proving that he sings much better live. Barbra Streisand performing on the show for the first time in 36 years. And Shirley Bassey possibly belting both iconic Bond songs from “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds are Forever”?
The prospect of those moments—and more—make the Academy Awards show this Sunday (Monday morning in the Philippines) sound more exciting than usual. All signs point to a good show, thanks in large part to the Academy’s picks to run the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre (formerly Kodak Theatre): Neil Meron and Craig Zadan.
“We are pleased to have been able to amass so much talent to create the celebration of musicals of the last decade that we envisioned,” said Neil and Craig in a statement.
If the Oscars promise solid musical entertainment and not the usual “interpretative” dances, it’s because Neil and Craig are award-winning producers of musical films—
“Chicago,” “Hairspray” and “Footloose” (original and 2011 versions). On TV, they are behind the current “Smash” series.
The producing duo is being tight-lipped about the specific details of the much-awaited show, hosted by Seth MacFarlane. So, we can only guess (emphasis on the guess) that the following might be what Neil and Craig are cooking up:
Jennifer Hudson will sing “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,” which she belted in “Dreamgirls” and clinched for her the 2007 Best Supporting Actress award. Anne Hathaway is predicted to win the same prize by virtue of her stirring rendition of one song, “I Dreamed a Dream,” in “Les Miserables.”
Will Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe vocally spar with “The Confrontation,” also from “Les Miz”? We hope so. There’s a YouTube clip of the two pals performing that song at a party at Joe’s Pub in New York last December. Russell matched Hugh’s strength as a singer.
List of performers
And since Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried are among the announced list of performers, do we get to hear their duet, “A Heart Full of Love”? Will Eddie also sing “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables”?
With a lot of “Les Miz” talents present, expect the Oscars to seem like a televised anniversary concert of the musical at one point.
Among the burning questions is, what song or songs will La Streisand sing?
What’s a celebration honoring movie musicals of the last decade without a nod to “Hairspray,” especially since Neil and Craig produced that one? It would be a hoot if John Travolta (costumed as Edna Turnblad; he is announced as a presenter only, but who knows?), Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, James Marsden, Queen Latifah, Zac Efron and Nikki Blonsky surprised everyone and suddenly appeared together onstage.
Neil and Craig have denied that the buzz that they are trying to bring together all six James Bond actors for the show’s tribute to the franchise’s 50th anniversary. We think most Bond fans would be happy if the producers somehow managed to entice Sean Connery to come out of his retirement hut in the Bahamas.
As for the show’s closing number, the two producers said in a statement, “After the Best Picture award has been given, Seth and Kristin Chenoweth will perform a special number and we think it will be a ‘can’t miss’ moment.”
We’re pretty sure Neil and Craig have surprise performers and presenters aside from those we previously mentioned and the following: Norah Jones, Jennifer Aniston, Michael Douglas, Jamie Foxx, Paul Rudd, Salma Hayek Pinault, Melissa McCarthy, Liam Neeson, John Travolta, Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Mark Wahlberg, and “The Avengers” cast members, Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner and Mark Ruffalo.
Also gracing the stage are returning 2011 Oscar winners, Jean Dujardin, Christopher Plummer, Octavia Spencer and Meryl Streep; special guests Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Radcliffe, Channing Tatum and Charlize Theron.
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