Let’s see some hands: Who watched the Oscars last night? It was pretty boring, eh? Pretty… long, hmmm? But amidst the hubbub of millionaire actors and actresses celebrating each other was a musical moment of note: Bret McKenzie, the scruffy-faced Kiwi best known as one half of the comedy duo The Flight of the Conchords, nabbed the statue for Best Original Song for his piano ballad “Man or Muppet,” from the Jason Segal-starring The Muppets flick. Congrats!
His acceptance speech was funny and concise, and he thanked Muppets creator Jim Henson, saying it was “a true honor to work in the shadows of such legends.” It was a high point in an otherwise sad year for music at the Academy Awards. Only two songs were nominated in the Best Original Song category—Rio's "Real in Rio" was also nominated, though 39 other tunes were eligible (?)—and the only other musical moments at the Oscars came in the form of a kinda funny skit between host Billy Crystal and Justin Bieber, and a performance from Cirque du Soleil. Huh. Oh, and Pharrell Williams spent his night performing the pre-commercial break musical interludes with a band in the balcony. Weird.
Watch the Crystal/Bieber skit, Cirque du Soleil set and the video for the Muppets song below. Then, below that, check out a clip from 1998—ah, the good ol’ days—when music was prominent at the Oscars and Elliott Smith performed “Miss Misery” live.
Justin Bieber/Billy Crystal Spoof Midnight in Paris
Cirque du Soleil
The Muppets Theme Song, "Man or Muppet"
Elliott Smith, "Miss Misery" Live