Sufjan Stevens may have never seen an Oscars ceremony before he took the stage Sunday night, but his way-too-brief performance turned out to be one of the few highlights that made the long-ass ceremony worth watching.
Stevens performed "Mystery of Love" from Call Me by Your Name backed by an all-star cast of musicians, including St. Vincent, who used to play in Stevens's touring band back before she became a massive star in her own right. Sunday's live version was beautifully delicate and could have been the best Oscars indie rock tear-jerker since Elliott Smith played the Good Will Hunting song back in '98—if the Oscars producers would have let Stevens' perform for longer than just a few minutes.
The recorded version of "Mystery of Love" is a four-minute emotional gut-punch that can reduce even the hardest among us to tears like Elio staring longingly into the fire, but Stevens only got through a verse or two for some reason, leaving everyone at home wondering why two incredible rock musicians were given such a brief time on stage so that Jimmy Kimmel could get on with his Price Is Right bits or whatever. Oh well.
"Mystery of Love" is one of the five songs in the running for Best Original Song, up against "Remember Me" from Coco, "Stand Up for Something" from Marshall, "Mighty River" from Mudbound, and a song from Hugh Jackman's circus movie, too.
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