Karen O and U2 are bound for the Oscars stage. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman and Irish titans have been announced as performers for the 86th Academy Awards, happening Sunday, March 2 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
For the first time ever, Karen O will play “The Moon Song” — her Oscar-nominated contribution to Spike Jonze’s Her — for a global television audience. Though Jonze helped write the lullaby’s lyrics, he’s not expected to share the spotlight with Karen. And don’t count on Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig making a cameo, either.
U2 are set to perform their Nelson Mandela tribute, “Ordinary Love,” which is nominated for Best Original Song after appearing in the Idris Elba-starring biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr. picked up the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in January, and if Adele’s “Skyfall” is any kind of compass, then “Ordinary Love” is likely to win the Oscar next month. U2’s booking comes on the heels of the band’s new music video for “Invisible,” a fresh stadium-rock anthem that’s expected to appear on their upcoming 13th studio album, which may be out in April.
Karen O and U2 are joining a list of live talent that also includes Pharrell (nominated for his Despicable Me 2 tune “Happy”) and Frozen star Idina Menzel, who will sing “Let It Go,” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. One song that won’t be heard during the ceremony is the theme from the obscure film Alone Yet Not Alone, which had its Best Original Song nomination revoked after the Academy cited “the appearance of an unfair advantage.”
This year will also mark the first-ever Oscar Concert, a live event honoring the nominated songs and scores. As the Associated Press reports, the showcase will take place on February 27 at UCLA’s Royce Hall and feature an 80-piece orchestra playing all five of the works up for Best Original Score, including the Her score by Arcade Fire’s Will Butler and Owen Pallett. Each of the nominated composers (Butler and Pallett included) will prepare a suite of music specifically for the concert, which will also feature onstage discussions of the work. The four tunes eligible for Best Original Song will also be performed.
Tickets are open to the public and available on Ticketmaster. The Oscar Concert won’t be televised, but organizers are hoping the gig will be broadcast on TV and shown in movie theaters around the world in future years — provided it becomes an annual part of Oscar season.
For a peek at Karen O’s “The Moon Song,” watch her play the track alongside Jonze and K.K. Barrett, the production designer for Her. As Consequence of Sound points out, the trio dropped by L.A. radio station KCRW on February 13 for an in-studio acoustic session. Find the video below.
Ellen DeGeneres will host the 86th Oscars. The ceremony airs live on ABC on Sunday, March 2 at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST.