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John Travolta choked up as he introduced the In Memoriam segment at the 2023 Oscars, which featured a performance by Lenny Kravitz.
Travolta was teary eyed as he spoke onstage at the Dolby Theatre on Sunday ahead of Kravitz’s performance of “Calling All Angels.” Before Kravitz performed, Travolta choked up as he paid a subtle tribute to Grease co-star Olivia Newton John: “They’ve touched our hearts. They’ve made us smile, and became dear friends who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to.”
Kravitz sang and played piano as photos of famous faces who recently passed appeared on the large screen, including Newton-John, Burt Bacharach, Ray Liotta, Kirstie Alley, Irene Cara, Mary Alice, Raquel Welch, Nichelle Nichols and many others.
It was one of several performances Sunday night.
Rihanna sang “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever while Lady Gaga performed “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick. Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava sang the Indian Telugu-language “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, which won best original song.
Diane Warren was on piano for the first performance of the night while Sofia Carson sang the ballad “Applause” from Tell it Like a Woman, an anthology of seven short stories directed by women. Warren wrote the song and it marked her 14th Oscar nomination.
“To each and every woman in this room, and to all women in the world, give yourself some applause,” Carson said during the performance. The actress-singer shined vocally while being backed by 16 violinists.
David Byrne, best supporting actress nominee Stephanie Hsu and best original score nominees Son Lux joined forces to perform “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once. They were backed by dancers in all white who performed choreography and wild fight moves onstage. The performance was bizarre, like the film, and in honor of it Byrne wore hot dog fingers.
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