The band kicked off their performance with “We Will Rock You,” much to the delight of the crowd, including Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Mike Myers, Amy Adams and Allison Janney who rocked out in their seats. Queen + Adam Lambert also performed “We Are the Champions.”
The American Idol alum, 37, first performed with the band back in 2009 when members Brian May and Roger Taylor appeared as guests during season 8 of the singing competition. After taking the stage together a handful of times in 2011 and 2012, Lambert and Queen began touring together on a regular basis.
Queen’s original lead singer was Mercury, who died in 1991 due to complications from Aids. Malek, 37, portrayed the icon in the 2018 film about the band, Bohemian Rhapsody, which is nominated for five Academy Awards and is currently the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all time.
Oscars producer Glenn Weiss confirmed on Thursday, February 21, that Queen would be opening the show.
“If you’re ever heard Queen’s music, I think this will be something that will invite you in in a really great way,” Weiss told USA Today. “The music is so well-known that this to us became a really great way to open the show and not be traditional like a normal awards show and depend on things like a monologue.”
Another reason the Academy Awards may have opted for an nontraditional opening is because there is no host to deliver the typical monologue. While Kevin Hart was given the honor in December, the comedian dropped out after his past homophobic tweets resurfaced and sparked controversy.
“I have made the choice to step down from hosting this year’s Oscar’s…this is because I do not want to be a distraction on a night that should be celebrated by so many amazing talented artists,” Hart tweeted at the time. “I sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for my insensitive words from my past.”