The Oscars found a wholly different minority to exclude when they declined to ask the transgender experimental musician Anohni to perform her Best Original Song-nominated "Manta Ray" during the Academy Awards on Sunday.
It's perhaps not entirely surprising, given time constraints and the pop-star wattage of
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This year's Oscars telecast promises to be so drab it would only be enlivened by Leo DiCaprio being eaten by a bear live onstage. But it's still an occasion to remember two relatively recent and worthwhile Oscar performances drawn from modern pop music.
Smith, who died in 2003, had reservations about being there at all, but in between the vocal pyrotechnics of Trisha Yearwood and Celine Dion's unstoppable "Titantic" wave, Smith's modest performance of "Miss Misery" from the "Good Will Hunting" soundtrack didn't just hold its own. It proved that something quiet, sweet and real could survive in that mausoleum of middlebrow bombast.
And then there was Three 6 Mafia in 2006, whose members showed up to the Oscars stage downing shots, macking on
An Anohni win on Sunday would be beyond ironic, and so utterly timely and necessary. But given those long odds, let's take six minutes to remember the few times Oscar ever did anything right by music.