Intent on summoning thunderbolts, lightning or whatever else might please the God of Ratings and salvage an embattled production, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that Queen will perform during the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday.
The band — which will appear with its current singer, Adam Lambert — is the subject of the film “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which is up for five awards including best picture. Rami Malek’s depiction of late Queen singer Freddie Mercury is also in the running for best actor.
The news arrived via the academy’s official Twitter account, accompanied by a quote from the Queen song for which the film got its name: “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” The announcement came a day after singer-actress Bette Midler confirmed via Twitter that she will perform “The Place Where Lost Things Go,” from “Mary Poppins Returns,” during the telecast.
Another music-focused movie, “A Star Is Born,” will send its principals onto the Oscars stage when Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper perform the hit song “Shallow.”
The academy revealed in early February that folk singers Gillian Welch and David Rawlings would perform their song “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from the Coen brothers film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” And Jennifer Hudson is onboard to sing “I’ll Fight” from the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary “RBG.”
The prime-time lineup is so far absent a performance of best song nominee “All the Stars.” Taken from “Black Panther,” the track is by rapper Kendrick Lamar and singer SZA. Lamar and SZA declined to perform the song during the Grammy Awards.
The Queen song “Bohemian Rhapsody” is not up for an original song award (because it’s not an original song). Rather, its presence during the telecast is a nod to the success of the Queen-sanctioned biopic.
Whether the band will perform all six minutes of “Bohemian Rhapsody” is another question. On Friday, producers withdrew a controversial plan to delegate four awards to commercial breaks during this year’s telecast. With a stated goal of reducing the length of the ceremony, the academy was forced to retreat after outcry from its membership.