A fresh rhythm, more big-stage flair and a classic songbook were among the promises that accompanied the 85th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday night and it’s hard to imagine a better hook to catch the attention of the Federation – no, not the Star Trek thing, this one is the new celebrity super-group that gathered Sunday near Table No. 18 at Elton John’s annual Oscar viewing party.
The Federation’s membership includes Sir Elton, Bono, Steven Tyler, Quincy Jones, Dave Grohl, Chris Brown, Randy Jackson of American Idol and, oddly, Jim Carrey, an actor known for bending his faces, not music notes. (It should be noted, however, that 19 years later Carrey’s ditty in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective remains unmatched in the annals of ASCAP.) It was Jackson who came up with the Federation name – he announced it early in the show – although it didn’t seem to get traction beyond one page of one reporter’s notebook.
The Federation might have been too intent on the screens overhead where the moments of drama came sealed up in envelopes, but also behind the lips of famous singers and famous not-singers who performed on the global stage. “Go Russ go,” Bono bellowed at one point. “Go Russ go!” The Irish singer explained that it’s a call popular in Australian pubs where they love to see the scowling Russell Crowe march toward danger, like that live tiger he tangled with during the filming of an arena scene in Gladiator.
That Maximus moment of Bengal bravery seems like a piece of cake after Life of Pi, which might explain why Crowe took on a really crazy challenge Sunday by singing at the same show as Adele, Jennifer Hudson, and Barbra Streisand. Afterward, the U2 singer (who was sitting next to his 21-year-old daughter, actress Eve Hewson) sipped soup and chewed on Crowe’s feat. “Russell was very wise, he took the Marlon Brando approach, a walk-on role and don’t make too much noise,” Bono said with a wink behind tangerine-tint sunglasses. “Get in, get out. Look [intense].”
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