If you made it through the three-plus hours of the Oscar telecast last night, your perseverance was richly rewarded.
In an evening of often stilted moments (Melissa Leo’s f-bomb notwithstanding), the moment most true to the spirit of movies during the telecast of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards was provided by the fifth grade chorus from a public school on Staten Island.
Sixty-four fifth graders closed out the show with a surprisingly heartfelt rendition of “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, which won the Oscar for Best Song on the same night in 1939 (and -- fun fact! -- was almost cut from the film by MGM executives). Wearing color-coded PS 22 tees (green for sopranos, blue for altos), the kids turned the stuffy stage of the Kodak Theatre into a Gleek’s dream come true. For the finale, the curtain rose behind the choir to reveal the night’s passel of winners.
Co-host Anne Hathaway (who originally surprised the choir when she showed up at the school in December to issue the invitation to perform on the show) could barely contain her giddiness at introducing the performance.
In a recent interview, the choir’s director, Gregg Breinberg, told the L.A. Times "These kids come from families who are having a tough time economically. They have a hard time expressing themselves with words, but through this choral experience, there's so much emotion there, both coming from them and the people watching them."
If this video doesn’t pluck a heartstring or two, you’re officially made of wood.