Oscars Woke Musical Opener: Black History Month, Mr. Rogers Mashup

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 09: (L-R) Janelle Monáe and Billy Porter perform onstage during the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The 92nd annual Academy Awards kicked off with a bizarre and thematically scattershot dance number that conflated Mr. Rogers, Black History Month, black queer artists, and the art-house horror movie Midsommar.

Pop star Janelle Monáe took the spotlight dressed as Fred Rogers, the subject of the Tom Hanks movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Earlier in the evening, Monae spoke on the red carpet, paying tribute to “black queer artists.”

“I’m so proud to be standing here as a Black queer artist telling stories. Happy Black History Month!” she said.

Monae shared the Dolby Theater stage with fellow queer artist Billy Porter, singing a duet as backup performers dressed as characters from 1917, Joker, and Little Women performed an extended dance medley.

Later, Monae donned a costume from the movie Midsommar to enlist the A-list crowd in a singalong before somehow ending up in the aisles on her back.

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