Barbra Queens like myself obsess over Barbra's every mundane coming and going, so you can imagine the hysterical level of excitement and anxiety among our ranks as we anticipate her performance at the Oscars this Sunday night.
As you have no doubt heard, Barbra will sing at this year's Oscars for the first time in 36 years. She sang "Evergreen," the love theme from A Star Is Born that she co-wrote and won her second Oscar for, at the 1977 ceremony.
The unexpected announcement, made via a press release on January 30, has made quite an impact. Even Adele has revealed herself to be a Barbra Queen, admitting to being "extra nervous" about performing "Skyfall" in front of Streisand, whom she calls her "idol." Gossipy websites are posting dubious stories that Barbra has installed a new yoga room in one of her mansions, flying in European facial experts and flogging Donna Karan around the clock to create a selection of gowns, all as part of her notoriously-nervous preparations for the big night.
Barbra herself, obviously busy, has maintained an imperious silence. A press release went up on her offficial website in January, but there's been nothing on her Twitter page, and nothing here on her Huffington Post column either.
There's been complete secrecy too about exactly what she'll perform, and how. The producers of this year's Oscarcast have promised that not only will the evening will be a celebration of "movies and music" but that Barbra will "do a very special performance."
Now, half of me says "meh" to that last part, since it's such a redundancy -- how could any performance by Barbra not be "very special"? But the other half of me collapses into teary shudders of uncontrollable excitement, since the possibilities are numerous, and all of them are tantalizing. Will she sing a medley of songs, and if she does, will it be a medley of her own back catalogue or will she surprise with a selection of non-Barbra classics, a medley that could include a verse from "Over the Rainbow" here, a line from "Up Where We Belong" there? I doubt she'll perform anything from Yentl, since the bad blood over her lack of a Best Director nomination for that film still runs angry red, but instead, maybe she'll perform "The Way We Were" in its entirety, stepping onto stage after a montage of classic love scenes, that climax with her bumping into Redford, drunk and passed out at the bar [that possibility would run much like this].
Or, perhaps, a beautiful tribute to her dear friend and longtime collaborator, Marvin Hamlisch, who died unexpectedly and far too young just last August, aged 68. A 12-time nominee and three-time Academy Award winner, the great Hamlisch composed movie songs including "Nobody Does It Better," from The Spy Who Loved Me, and, of course, "The Way We Were."
My money's on the Hamlisch tribute, and she'll do "The Way We Were" to avoid overlapping the Bond tribute (Dame Shirley Bassey is also performing at the ceremony, and I can't picture Barbra singing "Nobody Does It Better" anyway, it would only sound like she was talking about herself and boasting).
Anyway, we have to wait and find out, and in the meantime, relive some of Barbra's many other appearances at the Oscars -- she doesn't only sing, you know.
There was the unforgettable moment when she told the Academy to shove it for dedicating that year's ceremony to "Women and the Movies" despite its continual lack of recognition of women working in Hollywood in any capacity other than as actresses or dancers:
Or the time she showed off the Funny Girl persona that helped bring her to fame, and which she was soon to evolve away from, when she collided with another icon in 1970, presenting Best Actor to John Wayne:
Delighting in presenting the first-ever Best Director Oscar to a female director (Kathryn Bigelow):
And, showing poise and professionalism while presenting with a blind drunk Dustin Hoffman:
The 85th Academy Awards, starring Barbra Streisand, will take place Sunday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. EST.
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