The 2022 Oscars got off to an exciting start, as Beyoncé opened the show by performing “Be Alive, her Oscar-nominated tune from “King Richard,” from Compton. The performance of the song co-written by Dixson took place on the very tennis courts where Venus and Serena Williams, the film’s subjects, trained with their father when they were children.
Beyoncé was introduced by the Williams sisters, who noted it was the first-ever performance of the Oscar-nominated song. The elaborate performance featured an ensemble of dancers and an orchestra, many of whom were from the city of Compton, all dressed in tennis ball-colored garb. Last week, many fans noticed that the tennis courts were blocked off with large tents for the secretive rehearsals.
The producers behind the Oscars have made no secret of their intention to boost the show’s dwindling ratings with an extra boost of star power and spectacle. That mentality influenced nearly every aspect of the show’s design, from the decision to cut eight award categories from the live broadcast to the eclectic list of presenters that included the likes of Tony Hawk and DJ Khaled. It is hard to imagine a better way to drive 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 movie musicals.
But while she has been a fixture at the show for years, “Be Alive” marks Beyoncé’s first Oscar nomination. She faced stiff competition for Best Original Song from the likes of Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was nominated for “Encanto,” and Billie Eilish and Finneas, who received nods for their James Bond theme song “No Time to Die” and ultimately won/
In addition to Best Original Song, the film was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Editing, and Best Original Screenplay. Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis were nominated in the Best Actor in a Leading Role and Best Actress in a Supporting Role categories, respectively, with Smith winning (and also all but torpedoing the show with his viral confrontation of Chris Rock.)