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One Night Only ♪

Have you heard that The Academy is going to honor the renaissance of the movie musical with tributes to Chicago, Dreamgirls and Les Miz during the ceremony on February 24th? I'm never been that big on amorphous "tributes" which usually come in the form of sloppy montages at the expense of time celebrating either specific grand careers (lifetime achievements) or actual nominees. And I can't quite see what the through line is between those three pictures (as opposed to any other modern musicals). But you know I love musicals. Still... this makes precious little sense to me, not when you have a decent current lineup of Original Song nominees you could focus on for once. And not when you're only focusing on three films, two of which had little to do with the musical genres resuscitation.

It's a Musical Diva Throwdown

Everyone knows (or should come to understand) that it was the one-two-three-four punch of Disney's resurrection (The Little Mermaid + Beauty & The Beast) + Dancer in the Dark + Moulin Rouge! +  Hedwig and the Angry Inch from 1989-2001 that reopened the musical floodgates artistically and reminded everyone "ohmygod... look what this versatile genre can do!!!". Chicago (2002) then was the behemoth that came charging down that road that had been pre-paved for it by stronger films, despite how grandly entertaining it was, to claim the trophy for the whole genre.

At any rate the strangest exclusion from their planned tribute is surely Moulin Rouge! which had, if you'll recall, just as many nominations as both Les Miz and Dreamgirls (I guess 8 is the magic number for non-BP winning popular musicals), starred people who are still very much in the cultural conversation, and is already widely regarded as part of the new canon. That's something that none of the three films Oscar is planning to rehonor on the ceremony can quite claim... no, not even Chicago.

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Reader Comments (28)

What about, I dunno, the best musical of the last 10 years which just inspired a smash hit broadway show. You know, the one that had one of the most memorable Oscar moments in recent memory. ONCE.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

You like the life your living, you can live the life you like, you can even marry Harry, and mess around with Ike

I love the music from Chicago so much!

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

/3rtful -- Chicago does have one of the greatest musical scores ever written. Love that Kander & Ebb

Michael C -- i wonder if people don't think of that as a "musical" though so much as a romantic drama? movies about musicians often seem to not be viewed as musicals (see also Walk the Line and Ray)

January 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I'll probably like this come Oscar time, but I am pissed that Moulin Rouge, ONCE, Enchanted, and Hairspray aren't being honored as well. I mean I get the latter since it got zero Oscar love, but the first three were nominated for a few awards. I don't get it.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

it could be that the Oscar producers are holding out on some of the elements and we will all be surprised on the big night itself by what they chose to include. They have said that they will tease elements of show but not reveal all,

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermurtada

The Academy Presents... A Tribute to the Renaissance of the Best Supporting Actress-Winning Movie Musical!

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

So, just and excuse to get Beyoncé there to perform Listen, huh?

I wished they'd go all in on this and put together a cool mix of songs from different musicals from the decade, Dancer in the Dark, Moulin Rouge, Hedwig, Enchanted, Nine, Once, Chicago, Dreamgirls and Les Mis. Heck, why not even Pitch Perfect? :P

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

The lack of Moulin Rouge! love was the first thing that came to mind when I read about the tribute. It definitely could've taken the place of Dreamgirls here, I mean, which one got a Best Picture nomination? My affection for Dreamgirls has waned over the years, it's a film that I still enjoy, but I remember being in love with it when it first came out (blame it on Beyonce, I'm a huge fan). I can't help but wonder if its inclusion is the Academy's way of avoiding claims of lacking diversity.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

I guess I acknowledge the fact they're honoring the last decade of musicals, so it makes since for Moulin Rouge! to be excluded if we're going by nomination years (Chicago is an '02 film but was nominated in at the 2003 Oscars).

But still...Moulin Rouge!

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

You have to add "The Lion King" and "Aladdin" into that "Disney resurgence" too. But yeah, that build-up certainly paved the way for the musical comeback, culminating in "Chicago"'s BP win. But excluding "Moulin Rouge!" is shady. This feels like a big ole' dose of tokenism. Of course get the producers of "Chicago" who also happen to be the Oscar producers to do something like this. But whatever. Are we doing speculations of how they're going to do this? Maybe some combination of the Zeta, Queen Latifah, Beyonce (god, it's going to be such overkill of her in the coming weeks), J-Hud, Jackman, and Annie? Hope they don't forget Anika Noni Rose. Is this going to be separate from the "Les Miserables" group medley? And having Adele perform her nominated number without doing the other song nominees is tacky, even if "Skyfall" is bled into the Bond tribute. This Oscars show is sounding messier and messier by the day.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSamson

No love for "Sweeney Todd"? That's a shame.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGerry

@thefilmjunkie It said the LAST 10 years. So Moulin Rouge would be excluded.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

@Melissa Yeah, I addressed that in my second post.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

The picture for this article is probably my favorite thing ever on the internet. Outstanding.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTB

They did a musical tribute just 4 years ago with Hugh Jackman. I don't see the point of this at all.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterN8

I'm not the musical fanatic most of you are ... but Moulin Rouge! It's one of my favorites of the '00s for sure. It's going to seem so weird not to include it in the tribute.

And Once, Walk the Line, and Ray probably aren't considered musicals, but I would have loved to have seen them included... they did all win some major Oscars, after all.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I'm not surprised that they are doing this. Glee/Smash/Nashville are successful and have loyal audiences which have proven people will watch "musical" programs on TV (remember, the oscars are a TV show and you need TV audiences to tune in).

I like the idea of a Bond tribute (makes sense with the 50 years, successful reboot, fabulous former and current (living) casts who can be trotted out, etc.) but I would rather see the 5 nom'ed songs performed, which, for once in several years, are songs much of the audience will know, written/performed by people most viewers recognize rather than bring Chicago and Dream back. I don't see how they can fit Bond, the musicals and the 5 songs all into the show, run on time and do justice to all. IMHO Bond is most deserving, the 5 songs next and then Les Miz since it will likely only win one (if that) award.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

This makes no sense at all. These films have been honored by Oscar already. This will extend the bloated running time of the show and just push more viewers away from the set. Of course we Oscar junkies wouldn't dare leave the room, but if they were hoping to quicken the pace of the show and keep their ratings up, this is the wrong way to accomplish that. I can hear a collective groan already...Why can't we get someone with a higher Oscar IQ to run the show? So many will just tune out after Adele performs. Sigh.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

TB -- thank you. I had fun making it. my god i just love moulin rouge! so much. And now I have Dreamgirls on a loop while i type. haha

January 26, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Why pick those three? I assume its because they had the right combo or Oscar recognition (well hello, supporting actresses) and box office success. Picking the most commercially successful Oscar nom'd musicals of the past decade is an obvious ratings boost ploy. Hairspray and mamma Mia did good business, but no Oscar noms. Sweeney Todd and Once had big Oscar noms/wins, but didn't exactly light the box office on fire. The Producers and Rent made no money and won no awards. It's pretty easy to see why these three were picked. The real question is why is this happening in the first place? If this is at the expense of lifetime achievement awards and the non-Skyfall original song nominees, I will light myself on fire.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJonny

Don't count on much of anything for the lifetime achievement awards with this producing team. They do those on a separate, non-televised banquet now. And even for Oprah they just had her waving from the audience after a brief clip package of the ceremony highlights. It was rushed and shoddy.

Don't like this musicals bit at all. The acceptance speeches are going to be cut off to shave time, and forget the acting clips. They probably won't even allow the lesser-known song nominees from performing. But Seth MacFarlane will probably have a good five minutes hamming it up with his song (and no Norah Jones either). They know that's bullshit.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKyle

I'd pay good money to see Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski and Julie Walters singing Mamma Mia or Super Trooper to end the ceremony. HA!

P.S. - Can we cut all the Seth MacFarlane jokes and add musical numbers between presentations? The ceremony could simply begin with Good Morning, Baltimore.

And when Day-Lewis inevitably wins his Oscar, can't we have Cotillard singing 'My Husband Makes Movies'?

And when Silver Linings Playbook wins Best Pic, can't we have Bjork singing 'I've Seen It All'?

Oh, I dream too much.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJorge Rodrigues

Jonny -- do not light yourself on fire. Bad Oscar ceremony production choices are a dime a dozen. You'd already be ashes by now from caring!

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Why no Moulin Rouge!? Why no Hairspray? Why no Once? Maybe the Academy decided only to honor good movie musicals.

*runs away*

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ.P.

*sneaks back*

These unnecessary tribute sequences always put me in mind of that time on the animated TV show "The Critic" where the Academy Awards had a salute to, yes, the film critic. More specifically, what I remember best is how that number was introduced:

"Now, to ensure that we don't finish before midnight..."

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJ.P.

I was shocked at first that Moulin Rouge! was absent, but then it made sense, as they're only doing the past decade, which puts MR outside the group. However, as the movie that truly did kick off this decade of musicals, it kinda sucks.

But also note that these three were high-profile Broadway adaptations that also reaped numerous Oscar noms. The films really getting the shaft here are Hairspray, which was great but got no Oscar love because it didn't aspire to be important, and Once, which was an original musical for film that played by none of the rules of a traditional musical.

Anyway, the whole thing is highly suspect.

January 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I'm on board unless they hire Phyllida Lloyd to direct it!

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Patrik- Oh! I I love u (couldn't said it better)

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

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