Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Adele and other stars performing on the Oscar show have insisted that they will sing live and won’t cheat by miming.
“They’re all singing live as far as I understand,” declared Cameron Mackintosh one of the producers of the Les Miserables movie.
Cast members from the picture such as Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham Carter, Russell Crow, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Amanda Seyfried and Sacha Baron Cohen all sang live at rehearsals for a musical segment that celebrated movie musicals of the last decade such as Dreamgirls and Chicago.
However, Catherine Zeta Jones, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for Chicago eleven years ago, was said by observers not to have sung live during rehearsal sessions at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood where last night’s (Sunday) 85th annual Academy Awards extravaganza was taking place.
Organizers are desperate to avoid what they term a “Beyonce shambles”. A reference to Beyonce’s performance at President Barack Obama’s inauguration where the singer was found to have lip-synched to the national anthem of the United States of America.
The discovery led to a firestorm of criticism and the “Beyonce” topic was endlessly debated on political and entertainment television shows across the US, and there were choruses of disapproval in the UK, too.
Catherine Zeta Jones will dance and sing a number from Chicago, believed to be All That Jazz. It has been described as a major highlight of the Oscar show. It’s not known yet whether the actress, wife of Michael Douglas, will sing live or perform using a track she has already pre-recorded.
However, all singers performing at the Oscar ceremony – including Dame Shirley Bassey and Barbra Streisand – have pre-recorded their songs as a safety net just in case there are technical problems.
During rehearsals though, every performer has sung live, except Catherine Zeta Jones.
“Look, she maybe saving her voice for the official performance. Everybody’s dying to see whether she sings or not,” a source who has been at several rehearsals explained.
Academy executives, some voters and actors and agents and producers have been using any old ruse to get into the rehearsals which are being held under tight security.
Onlookers note that Adele has been “indescribably mind-blowing”. Another observer told how at one point the singer performed the Oscar nominated Skyfall title song with no musical accompaniment.
“It was Adele, singing live and knocking it out of the park. Everyone stopped to listen. The carpenters and lighting guys started applauding. It’s impossible to impress those guys but they were bowled over and showed their respect.
“It sounded out of this world unaccompanied and later some of us heard her sing with the full works, the full orchestra and it was one of those rare goose bump moments that you never forget.”
Adele has already won the Golden Globe for best original song. She and co-writer Paul Epworth are front-runners to win the best song Oscar.
Les Miserables has a rival song called Suddenly which was written specially for the film by Herbert Kretzmer, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg.
Cameron Mackintosh paid out of his own pocket to double the chorus taking part in the Les Miserables segment from 24 to 48, flying some in from London and New York.
Others taking part in musical numbers include Jennifer Hudson who will perform a number from Dreamgirls and Norah Jones will sing the nominated song from the comedy Ted.