Oscars: Julianne Moore Gets "Mrs. Robinson" and 12 Bizarre Musical Choices From the Show
Joe Biden got the "Indiana Jones" treatment, while Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" was the "play-off" music and was heard a total of nine times.
Chances are that Oscar viewers don’t pay much attention to the orchestral music playing during the show — except when it interrupts the winners during their acceptance speeches to play them off the stage.
But if you were listening closely Sunday night, you might have heard head-scratching selection of choices playing as the various presenters hit the stage or the winners walked up to make their speeches.
For example, when Julianne Moore walked out to present the award for best actor in a leading role, she did so to the tune of Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson," from The Graduate, about an older woman who seduces a much younger man. Another perplexing song choice would have to be “La Bamba,” which played after Chris Rock’s bit featuring three young Asian children posing as the Academy’s accountants.
The song that got the most exposure? Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries," which played off the winners who spoke too long. Though this year, the Academy implemented the use of the thank-you crawl, which intended to cut down on the laundry list of names usually read during winners' acceptances, it didn't seem to cut down on the length of the actual speeches (the song popped up no fewer than nine times). The highly energetic "Ride of the Valkyries" could be seen as somewhat of an odd choice of song to interrupt speeches read by notable figures in the industry — particularly when the speeches in question touched upon somber issues (for example, Alejandro G. Inarritu discussing implications of prejudice).
Winners who got the "Valkyries" play-off included Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust, producers of best picture winner Spotlight; Alejandro G. Inarritu, best director winner for The Revenant; Alicia Vikander, best supporting actress winner for The Danish Girl; Mark Rylance, best supporting actor for Bridge of Spies; Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, best documentary short winner for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness; Mark Mangini and David White, best sound editing winners for Mad Max: Fury Road; Jenny Beavan, best costume design winner for Mad Max: Fury Road; and Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, winners for best adapted screenplay for The Big Short.
Meanwhile, the song that got the second-most plays on the night was the Mad Max: Fury Road theme — not surprising given that the film took home six awards over the course of the evening.
Viewers who paid a considerable amount of attention to song selection may have noticed the theme from the very violent and very graphic Pulp Fiction resonating throughout the theater as host Chris Rock stepped onto the stage before his bit to introduce ... the Girl Scouts.
On the flip side, the boastful and valiant Indiana Jones franchise theme song served as the musical backdrop for Vice President Joe Biden’s entrance to present Lady Gaga's performance.
Other noteworthy musical choices:
— Presenters Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe walked out to The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" to present the best adapted screenplay award.
— Last year's best supporting actor winner, J.K. Simmons, entered the stage to the tune of Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes' "(I've Had) The Time of My Life," from Dirty Dancing, to present the best supporting actress award.
— Cate Blanchett, who presented the award for costume design, walked onto the stage to Huey Lewis and the News' "The Power of Love," featured in Back to the Future.
— Best production design presenters Tina Fey and Steve Carell entered to "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)." But they weren't the only ones: Presenters Jennifer Garner and Benicio Del Toro got the same musical treatment.
— Chadwick Boseman and Chris Evans presented the sound editing award after getting serenaded with an instrumental version of The Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" from Saturday Night Fever.
— Presenters Jacob Tremblay and Abraham Attah got the Superman theme.
— Olivia Wilde and Sacha Baron Cohen — in character as Ali G — got Simple Minds' "Don’t You Forget About Me," featured in The Breakfast Club. They exited to B.J. Thomas' "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head."
— Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs walked out to talk about the organization's diversity efforts to the tune of "I Will Always Love You," best known for the Whitney Houston version featured in The Bodyguard.