How Badly Did the Oscars Screw Idina Menzel?
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We all watched John Travolta inexplicably butcher Idina Menzel’s name during her intro at last night’s Oscars. True, he apparently suffers from dyslexia but that’s really no excuse for not even being able to remember the one name he needed to know to complete his presenting duties without looking like an idiot.
But Travolta’s gaffe may not be the only way the Oscars screwed Menzel. I hate to speculate, but I’m going to anyway because it’s impossible to imagine that what happened on TV last night was the plan from the start. Going into the Oscars, Menzel’s song, Let It Go, from the gargantuan Disney hit Frozen, was pretty much the song to beat. It was always going to be the signature musical number of the show and you could tell that because the producers of the Oscar telecast saved it for last, essentially making Menzel the headliner.
So with that in mind, why the hell did the song get cut in half? Anyone familiar with Let It Go knows that Menzel’s live version last night was short an entire verse, with Menzel and the orchestra jumping from the end of the first verse directly to the bridge then taking the chorus all the way to the end. It’s unfathomable that the producers always intended to gut one of their main musical set pieces and the song that was almost certain to go home with an Oscar. The stronger likelihood is that the track was cut for time at the last minute, with the producers determined to bring the entire show in at exactly three-and-a-half hours.
Let It Go runs just 3:45 in its entirety. Again, I can’t imagine the producers not believing from the outset that they could spare that full run time for a song as huge as Let It Go, a song from the biggest animated Disney movie in history. It’s much more plausible that they felt like their backs were against the wall time-wise toward the end of the show and simply made the decision to make a cut.
I could be wrong about this, but either way, between Travolta’s flub and the clumsy and unnecessary edit, Idina Menzel and one of the very best songs of the year got kind of screwed. Oscar win or not.