After a warm introduction from Zazie Beetz and orchestra conductor Rickey Minor, the lights came up on the triple-threat standing by herself in the middle of the stage in a striking gold gown. A chorus filtered in behind her and lent their support on the song’s anthemic chorus, and Erivo’s powerful belt grew stronger with every passing verse of the song: “That’s when I’m gonna stand up / Take my people with me / Together we are going / To a brand new home / Far across the river / Can you hear freedom calling? / Calling me to answer / Gonna keep on keepin’ on / I can feel it in my bones….”
“Stand Up” embodies the spirit and heart of Harriet, the Harriet Tubman biopic in which she stars. Erivo is nominated for two Oscars tonight: one for best actress, and another for “Stand Up,” which she not only sang, but co-wrote with Joshuah Brian Campbell, in the category of best original song.
“Having filmed it, I had an experience with Harriet, so I could speak to what it may have been like to travel that far on foot, to have to put yourself in danger,” Erivo told Billboard the day she found out about her Oscar nominations. “It just meant more to be able to understand what that might have been like. Now I can truly embody the song with her.”
Watch Erivo sing “Stand Up” at the 2020 Oscars below.