Janelle Monae Was Recovering From Mercury Poisoning Amid Oscars Performance

Despite the stirring performance delivered by Janelle Monae for the opening of The Oscars this year, the singer was recovering from some serious health issues. It turns out, while she was onstage, Monae was still bouncing back from a bout of mercury poisoning. When speaking with The Cut, she described it as a very intense experience.

"I started feeling my mortality," Monae said of her illness.

The remark came about as the "Make Me Feel" singer has contemplated becoming a mother. However, her pescatarian diet ended up contributing to the mercury poisoning, so she's put the decision on the back burner while she focuses on her health and recovery in the meantime.

Monae's opening number, which began with a replication of the old Mister Rogers' Neighborhood set, was earmarked with multiple references from the best movies of 2019, including a couple of horror flicks that ended up being snubbed by The Academy. While mercury poisoning clearly didn't slow her down, she was briefly thwarted by a malfunctioning button as part of her wardrobe in the first minute of the performance.

However, she was able to overcome the issue before managing to join the ranks of Issa Rae and Natalie Portman in calling out The Academy's lack of female nominees in the Best Director category.

"Tonight we celebrate all the amazing talent in this room," Monae said at the end of her segment. "We celebrate all the women who directed phenomenal films. And I'm so proud to stand here as a black queer artist telling stories. Happy Black History Month."

Along with Monae's performance, the 92nd Annual Academy Awards also included songs performed by This Is Us star Chrissy Metz, Randy Newman, Elton John, Cynthia Orivo and Idina Menzel, who was joined by an international choir who sang Frozen II's "Into the Unknown" in a variety of languages.


There was also a surprise appearance from Eminem, who did a rendition of "Lose Yourself," which was featured in his 2002 biopic Eight Mile, as well as nominated for Best Song at the Oscars the following year. However, Eminem opted not to attend the ceremony back in '03, partly because he was told there was no way it was going to win — which it then, of course, did. So, he came back to make up for some lost time.

Billie Eilish was also on hand to sing along with the annual "In Memorium" montage, which featured her soulful, somber take on The Beatles' "Yesterday."