Monáe appeared on a set reminiscent of Mr. Rogers, singing “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” while wearing the beloved host’s red cardigan. She ran to the front row and sang to Tom Hanks, who had recently starred as Fred Rogers in Marielle Heller’s film, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.
“Tonight we celebrate all the amazing talent in this room,” Monáe told the crowd, now dressed as the May Queen from horror movie Midsommar (which was not nominated for any Oscars) and transitioning into a song about all the 2020 nominees. “We celebrate all the women who’ve directed phenomenal films. I’m so happy to stand here as a black queer artist to tell this story. Happy Black History Month.”
Monáe was referring to the lack of female director nominees this year, especially Greta Gerwig, who did not receive a nomination for Best Director for Little Women — despite its Best Picture nod. Monáe, who portrayed Marie Buchanon in Harriet, wrapped up the performance singing a call-and-response-of “la la la,” pointing the microphone at a very-mortified Leo DiCaprio.
Martin took the stage next, joined by Chris Rock. “There are so many great directors nominated this year,” Rock told the crowd. “I thought there was something missing from the list this year,” Martin chimed in. “Vaginas?” Rock responded, with Martin nodding his head in agreement.