Oscars to be a Musical Night

While the Oscars are all about celebrating achievement in film, music has always played apart in the ceremony as well. This year is no different. Gone are the big musical productions; now the focus is on the singer and song itself.

Taylor and Newman performed “Our Town” from the movie “Cars,” which earned Newman his 17th Oscar nomination.

Sitting on a stool in front of Newman’s grand piano, Taylor chewed gum as he sang and played acoustic guitar. Both were accompanied by the Oscar orchestra. After several rehearsals, though, Newman still wasn’t satisfied.

“I guess we can lower our standards and take a risk,” he said to conductor Bill Ross.

The “Dreamgirls” — Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Anika Noni Rose — reunited to rehearse the film’s three nominated songs. “Dreamgirls” director
Bill Condon was on hand to oversee their performances.

Beyonce didn’t bring an entourage, but she still sparkled like a superstar in towering stilettos, tight blue jeans and a bedazzled jacket. Rose also sported high heels. Hudson, considered the favorite for the supporting-actress Oscar, dressed down, pairing ballet flats with her casual miniskirt, leggings and T-shirt combo. Halfway through the rehearsal, she slipped into heels.

More on musical performances at tonight’s Oscar ceremony after the jump.

Celine Dion practiced her new song, “I Knew I Loved You” — part of a tribute to Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who orchestrated the music for the 1984 film “Once Upon a Time in America.” Dion’s new song was written to that score.

Melissa Etheridge, accompanied by a three-piece band, filled the mostly empty theater with her big voice, singing the nominated song “I Need to Wake Up” from the
Al Gore documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“Just rock ‘n’ roll,” she told the band, “because I’ll be nervous up here looking at
Meryl Streep.”

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