This is the second year in a row that the Oscars have gone without a host

By Helen Murphy
February 09, 2020 08:28 PM
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The 2020 Academy Awards are off to a roaring start!

Janelle Monáe opened Sunday night’s awards show with a rendition of “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” from the Tom Hanks film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.

The singer and actress, 34, segued into a lively segment in which she highlighted all the snubbed films of the year including Midsommar and the Elton John biopic Rocketman in which Billy Porter stepped onto the stage and sang a portion of “I’m Still Standing.”

The two sang together as dancers dressed as characters from snubbed films danced in the background.

Kevin Winter/Getty
Janelle Monae and Billy Porter

Monáe left the stage for a time to sing among the first row of nominees, encouraging them to sing along with her, including Brad Pitt, Hanks, Rita Wilson and Cynthia Erivo.

“Tonight we celebrate all the amazing talent in this room, we celebrate all the women who directed phenomenal films,” Monáe said. “And I’m so proud to stand here as a black queer artist telling stories.”

She added, “Happy Black History Month.”

Janelle Monae

Last month, the Academy announced that the Oscars would be going without a host for the second year in a row. ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke made the announcement while at the Television Critics Association press tour, and the Academy also tweeted it out.

“Let me confirm it now, together with the Academy, that there will be no traditional host this year,” Burke said.

Last year, the awards ceremony went hostless for the first time in recent memory after Kevin Hart dropped out of hosting duties amid the fallout from resurfaced past homophobic remarks he made on Twitter. The 2019 Oscars began with Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph opening the show instead of a host.

“Welcome to the one millionth Academy Awards!” Fey said last year. “We are not your hosts, but we are gonna stand here a little too long so that the people who get USA Today tomorrow will think we hosted.”

Throughout the night, a star-studded slate of celebrities presented each award in lieu of a host. For this year’s Oscars, the list of presenters includes Timothée Chalamet, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Mindy Kaling, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Anthony Ramos, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran and Kristen Wiig.

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards are airing live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.