This year’s Oscar “In Memoriam” tribute to stars who had died — including Whitney Houston, Sidney Lumet and Elizabeth Taylor — was presented to the sound of a Grammy-winning yet still under the radar star: Esperanza Spalding.
Esperanza Spalding sings a song for the memorial segment at the 84th Academy Awards. (Gary Hershorn/Reuters)
Spalding, to fans of Justin Bieber, will always be remembered as the person who beat the tween heartthrob for the Best New Artist Grammy in 2011. After she won, her Wikipedia page was attacked by angry Bieber fans.
Spalding sang the classic Louis Armstrong song “What a Wonderful World” at an Oscar ceremony with few live performances, other than a Billy Crystal song and a presentation from Cirque du Soleil. None of the nominations for best song were performed, and many of the sketches from host Billy Crystal and others were pre-taped.
Spalding’s performance was praised by critics. “It was a performance that allowed millions to see what Grammy voters had already seen in her last year,” wrote MTV News. See it here.
View Photo Gallery: Highlights from the 84th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, Calif.
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Academy Award winners 2012: Full list led by “The Artist.”
At the Governors Ball, Meryl Streep, Billy Crystal, Melissa McCarthy and more
Oscars 2012: The comprehensive Academy Awards recap
Oscars red carpet Q&A
Jean Dujardin wins Oscar
View Photo Gallery: Stars float down the red carpet in Los Angeles.
Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts.