Kobe Bryant to be honoured at Oscars

The Academy plans tribute to the Oscar-winning athlete while Elton John and Cynthia Erivo will perform their Oscar-nominated songs live.

Kobe Bryant at the 2018 Oscars. Bryant died on Sunday in a helicopter crash. Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The Oscars will honour basketball great Kobe Bryant during the Academy awards ceremony on 9 February. Bryant died on Sunday in a helicopter crash in California, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others.

Bryant won an Oscar for best animated short film in 2018 for Dear Basketball, adapted from a poem he published in 2015 about his retirement from the sport.

The Oscar ceremony traditionally includes an In Memoriam section, which lists significant entertainment industry figures who have died in the previous year; it is not known yet if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) will incorporate its Bryant tribute as part of this section, or as a standalone segment.

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Tributes were paid to Bryant at the Grammy awards on Sunday, and by a string of sports figures. A game between Bryant’s LA Lakers and the LA Clippers due to take place on Tuesday was postponed.

AMPAS has also announced further details of the Oscar ceremony, including additional presenters for the “hostless” event. Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Kelly Marie Tran are among those who will appear, alongside previously announced participants including Mahershala Ali, Olivia Colman, Regina King and Rami Malek, who were last year’s acting award winners.

Show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain have also confirmed that Elton John and Cynthia Erivo will perform during the ceremony. They are each nominated in the best original song category, for Rocketman and Harriet, respectively. Erivo turned down an invitation to perform at the Baftas after being overlooked for an acting nomination.

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The Oscars are also following the Golden Globes’ lead in providing only plant-based food in its catering plans, including that served at the nominees’ lunch last Sunday and at the ceremony.

The Academy Awards will take place on Sunday 9 February at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

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