After last year’s Oscars experimented with scrapping performances of the Best Original Song nominees and shuttling them off to video montages—thereby depriving the show of one of its few opportunities for spontaneity—producers have once again opened this year’s ceremony up to potentially transcendent musical moments, like a visibly uncomfortable Elliott Smith breaking through on “Miss Misery,” Robin Williams doing a crazed one-man run through South Park’s “Blame Canada,” and Three 6 Mafia loading up the stage with hos in hot pants. Or maybe just Randy Newman doing a Toy Story song, which he will do again this year. Newman will be wheeled out of the Kodak Theatre’s cold storage in between sets from Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi performing “I See The Light” from Tangled, and Florence And The Machine’s Florence Welch teaming up with A.R. Rahman for 127 Hours’ “If I Rise”—with Welch filling in for Dido, who is otherwise occupied that night. (Though we’re still not entirely convinced “Dido” isn’t just an unusually advanced ProTools plug-in.) Also on the bill: A now-requisite awards show performance from Gwyneth Paltrow (singing a song from Country Strong, sans Muppets) and hopefully a mid-show self-composed aria from host James Franco.
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