7 Reasons Why Auli’I Cravahlo’s Performance of “How Far I’ll Go” at the Oscars was Amazing
1. The Rock
The biggest night in Hollywood features some pretty huge actors and actresses receiving prestigious awards presented to them by even huger artists. The Academy could have gotten Leo or Tom Hanks to introduce Auli’I Cravahlo’s performance, but no—they got someone bigger (literally). Having Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, the god Maui himself, introduce Princess Moana was a touching and undeniably epic nod to the animated movie that SHOULD have won Best Animated Feature (but I digress). On top of that, the Rock’s comical boasting of his singing chops would be great on its own, but the man then goes on to sing a little number from “You’re Welcome” like the cherry on top of a sundae! BOI HE DID IT!
Alright, let me give this to you straight. If ANYONE has ANYTHING bad to say about this prologue, I will personally slap you with a copy of the Hamilton soundtrack. Lin-Manuel “A God Among Men” Miranda expertly gets the audience up to speed with where Moana is at the time of the song in the movie (for those two people in the entire audience who have yet to see the movie…) WHILE ALSO rapping the exposition over an instrumental intro of the song Auli’I is about to sing! It’s like Lin-Manuel just told the orchestra to start playing something and let him riff for a bit before getting to the main event: the appetizer before the entrée. In case it wasn’t clear yet why this man won a Pulitzer, Tony, and Grammy. (Side note: how the eff is he not a PGOT yet!? Lookin’ at you, Academy.)
3. Dat Transition Tho
So this seems kinda trivial, but I assure you it’s not. Coming hot off the heels of L-MM’s fire verses with suspenseful violin chords, the abrupt shift into Auli’I’s gentle voice and simple cymbal taps gives the viewer a sense of the beauty in store for the rest of the performance. Really lets you appreciate the musical might Princess Moana has to offer.
4. The Set
Maybe it’s my inner theatre geek coming out, but I really enjoyed the makeup of the set for this three-minute performance. The simple hand-drawn blue sky background compliments the blue fans meant to simulate waves while the red-orange-yellow spinning sun (which looks an awful lot like the 2016 Rio Olympics torch) couples nicely with Auli’I’s red dress, making those two stand out against a sea of blue (pun very much intended). The set tells so much about Moana’s story from only so many pieces.
5. Auli’I’s Voice
6. Fantastic Fans
I know, I know—they’re more like giant flags than fans. But I’m gonna call them fans because of how billowy they are. For one, those things are massive so they must weigh a ton, yet the dancers still move them with such force and ease perfectly in time with the song! And the choreography! From the giant circles to the motions back and forth, it looks so much like waves rising and falling on the sea. Gah, all around 10/10 dancing.
Literally right before the big climax of the song, Auli’I got whacked in the head by one of the fans but kept singing without missing a beat! She didn’t even lose her smile! What a trooper. Bless her soul.
Still kinda salty about Moana not winning Best Animated Feature, but whatever. This performance in and of itself is enough of a reward to show how perfect the movie was. So take that, Academy.
Here’s a link to the full performance (the WHACK is at 3:21, if you’re curious).