The 2022 Oscars got off to an exciting start, as Beyoncé opened the show by performing “Be Alive, her Oscar-nominated track from ‘King Richard’, from Compton. Dixson’s rendition of the song co-wrote unfolded on the tennis courts where Venus and Serena Williams, the subjects of the film, trained with their father when they were children.
Beyoncé was introduced by the Williams sisters, who noted that it was the first-ever rendition of the Oscar-nominated song. The elaborate performance featured an ensemble of dancers and an orchestra, many from the town of Compton, all dressed in tennis ball-colored attire. Last week, many fans noticed that the tennis courts were blocked with large tents for secret rehearsals.
The producers behind the Oscars made no secret of their intention to bolster the show’s dwindling ratings with an added boost of power and spectacle. This mentality influenced nearly every aspect of the show’s design, from the decision to drop eight award categories from the live stream to the eclectic roster of presenters that included the likes of Tony Hawk and DJ Khaled. It’s hard to imagine a better way to get that message home than by opening the show with an on-location performance from one of the world’s biggest stars.
Beyoncé is no stranger to singing at the Oscars. She first performed at the show in 2005, where she was selected to perform three of the five nominated songs, including a memorable duet with Josh Groban. She also performed in 2007, when “Dreamgirls” was nominated, and joined 2009 host Hugh Jackman in a tribute to musicals.
But while she’s been on the show for years, “Be Alive” marks Beyoncé’s first Oscar nomination. She faced fierce competition for Best Original Song from Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was nominated for “Encanto,” and Billie Eilish and Finneas, who received nods for their theme song from James. Bond “No Time to Die” and finally won /
Along with Best Original Song, the film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay. Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis were nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, with Smith winning (and also nearly torpedoing the show with his viral Chris Rock showdown.)