That’s settled. When a backlash took place after the Motion Picture Academy announced that only two nominated original songs would be heard during the ceremony that airs February 24 on ABC – “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” and “All the Stars” from “Black Panther” – those in charge changed their tune and will feature all five.
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will do a duet on “Shallow,” Jennifer Hudson will perform “I’ll Fight” from the documentary “RBG,” songwriters David Rawlings and Gillian Welch will share duties on “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” Meanwhile, no word yet on whether Kendrick Lamar and SZA, who wrote “All the Stars” from “Black Panther,” will participate.
But in the announcement, we also learned that “The Place Where Lost Things Go” from “Mary Poppins Returns” will be sung by a special mystery person filling in for the sequel’s magical nanny, Emily Blunt. Why? The actress didn’t want the pressure of performing live.
So who possibly could this secret songbird or crooner be? If you are like me, you might have immediately thought of the Oscar-winning star of the 1964 original, Julie Andrews. But if you are a fan of hers, you probably also know that in 1997 she lost her heavenly soprano voice after having noncancerous nodules removed from her throat.
Therefore, I have made a list of likely possibilities. Alas, this masked singer doesn’t come with a set of clues. But I wouldn’t discount any member of the rather large universe of Disney-adjacent performers tackling this song about reclaiming lost memories.
*Lin-Manuel Miranda. Dude is already in the movie as Jack the lamplighter. After countless live performances of “Hamilton” on Broadway, he can surely handle a bittersweet ballad even if it doesn’t require rap.
*Angela Lansbury. She has a cameo at the end of the film as the balloon lady. Who wouldn’t want to hear the original Mrs. Potts from “Beauty and the Beast” sing live?
*Emma Thompson. The actress played “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers in the 2013 bio-pic “Saving Mr. Banks,” about the making of the original film.
*Meryl Streep. Hey, she’s actually in “Mary Poppins Returns” as the nanny’s kooky cousin, Topsy. She also played the Witch in Disney’s 2014 film version of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Into the Woods.” After the “Mamma Mia!” sequel this summer, her pipes should be nicely warmed up.
*Amy Adams. The supporting actress nominee for “Vice” is an official Disney princess ever since she starred in 2007’s mostly live-action musical parody, “Enchanted.” As Giselle, an animated royal who enters the real world, she sang three songs, “True Love’s Kiss” with James Marsden, “Happy Working Song” and “That’s How You Know.” She would perform the nominated “Happy Working Song” on-air during the 2008 Oscar ceremony as well.
*Miley Cyrus. The onetime “Hannah Montana” and alum of the Disney Channel is certainly able enough to sell this number.
*Ariana Grande. She did a duet version of “Beauty and the Beast” with John Legend for the live-action version of the musical animated film in 2017.
*Zendaya. The star of “The Greatest Showman” is an alum of the Disney Channel sitcom “Shake It Up,” and appeared in several TV movies. She was also on the ABC sitcom “Black-ish.”
*Beyonce. She doesn’t have much of a connection to Disney, but Queen Bey put on quite a show opposite Oscar host Hugh Jackman when they shared the spotlight to sing a medley of movie-related musical tunes in 2009. She also performed three nominated songs – “Learn to be Lonely” from “Phantom of the Opera,” “Look to Your Path” from “The Chorus,” and “Believe,” a duet with Josh Groban, from “The Polar Express” – in 2005. And, of course, she joined in on all three nominated numbers from her own film, “Dreamgirls,” on the 2007 show.
Now, if I were a betting person, I would put my money on Streep to raise her hand and say, “I’m in” (see above). Discuss below who you think would be most likely to take on ditty duty.