“All of the Stars” from the Black Panther soundtrack will not be performed live during the 2019 Academy Awards. Kendrick Lamar and SZA have made the decision not to sing live. However, it is not because of protest against the annual event, which has drawn heavy criticism this year. Instead, it appears that Lamar is working on a project abroad and could not dedicate the time and effort into making a production for “All of the Stars” that would do the song and the movie justice.
Kendrick Lamar also did not attend this year’s Grammy Awards because of the project that he is working on out of the country. This year marked the first time in four years that the rapper has not performed at the award show. “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 it unfortunately came away empty-handed. SZA was asked to perform the song solo with a prerecorded backing track at the Academy Awards and turned it down.
After the Kevin Hart hosting debacle, the 2019 Academy Awards ran into a few more bits of controversy. The Academy announced that they were going to present the awards for cinematography, film editing, live-action short, and makeup and hairstyling during the commercials, which swiftly caused a backlash. They have since added those categories back to the broadcast. Additionally, the Academy came under fire for revealing that only Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and Lady Gaga would be performing at the show, excluding the other songs that are nominated.
Lady Gaga announced that she would not perform her hit song “Shallow” from A Star is Born unless the other nominees were allowed to perform at the annual Oscars event. In the end, the Academy agreed to let all of the nominees perform. Lady Gaga believed that the move showed bias to the two songs that would possibly walk away with an award during the night, which discounted the other nominees. It might be time to get some new blood in at the Academy for next year because this year has been a bumpy one and the show hasn’t even aired yet.
Instead of performing “All of the Stars” at the Academy Awards, it is believed that the song will be played while clips from Black Panther are shown on the screen. Taking a song like that and trying to do it without Kendrick Lamar or SZA, would be a disservice to the song and the movie, according to representatives of Lamar. It’s refreshing to see some quality control and it’s even better to know that the Academy isn’t looking to have someone cover the song. Often having someone come on and cover a nominated song has not gone over so great in past years. Variety was the first to announce that Kendrick Lamar will not be performing at the Academy Awards.