Friday, February 22, 2008

Amy's terror of singing at the Oscars

Singing at the Oscars is no time to get the hiccups. Or to trip.

Amy Adams, sitting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel last weekend before taking off for Hollywood, has thought of every contingency. She is the starlet of the moment as a result of her bubbling, charming, energetic performance as a princess on the lam in Disney's $100 million hit "Enchanted."

She just finished a role, as the young nun, opposite Meryl Streep, in the movie version of the dramatic play "Doubt" (a sensation at Virginia Stage Company last season).

But neither fame nor the rigors of co-starring with the legendary Meryl Streep have insulated her against the terror of singing at the Oscars.

"Daniel Day-Lewis is going to be in the audience, and there I am singing 'The Happy Working Song,'" she mused. The song is a spoof of "Whistle While You Work" from Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and is one of three songs from "Enchanted" to be nominated. The others are "So Close" and "That's How You Know."

Adams has been to the Oscars before, as a nominee. She was in the running for best supporting actress two years ago for "Junebug" and was a favorite among the critics to win.

"I was like Dorothy in the Land of Oz. It was surreal. I knew that Rachel Weisz was going to win for 'The Constant Gardener,' but, still, just before they read the name I panicked because I hadn't prepared anything. Then, they called her name, and it was all over."

She thinks it's even more daunting to sing on the show.

"You make one mistake and it's recorded for all eternity. The Oscar show is a part of history. They write books about the show."

Airing at 8 p.m. Sunday on ABC, preceded with hours of red carpet arrivals before that on the E! Channel, the 80th Academy Awards event celebrates the best in movies for the past year. People tune in to see who wins and delight in seeing some very famous people lose.

On Monday morning, people will be talking about how the wrong people won or how bad the musical numbers were. There is often, also, talk about how long it ran - often to nearly four hours; a couple of times more than four.

The show plays to hundreds of millions of people around the world, making the pressure higher than ever.

It doesn't help Adams' fears that one of the other songs, "That's How You Know," will be performed by Kristin Chenoweth. "They had to get the best voice in all musical theater?"

- Mal Vincent for 'The Virginian-Pilot'

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