Beyoncé opened the 2022 Academy Awards on March 27 with a performance of “Be Alive,” her King Richard track that brought on the star’s first Oscar nomination. With a league of neon-clad backing dancers and musicians, Beyoncé staged the live performance at the public Tragniew Park tennis courts in Compton, California. Through a Freedom of Information Act request filed with the City of Compton, Pitchfork has learned new details about the shoot.
In the documents acquired by Pitchfork, Beyoncé is never mentioned by name, and the shoot is referred to exclusively as “Project Red.” It happened on March 20, a week before the Oscars. Part of the preparations included a temporary eight-foot privacy fence around the courts and a surrounding nearby area of the park, which is visible toward the end of the performance video.
Rob Mills, the executive vice president of unscripted and alternative entertainment at Walt Disney Television, had previously told Deadline that the performance was pre-taped but did not provide a date of the taping. “I think that as you can see, Beyoncé clearly had a really amazing vision for that song, and I think it was just making sure nothing was left to chance,” Mills said.
Despite her performance being pre-taped, Beyoncé was absent from the Oscars red carpet. She made it to the ceremony, however, by the time that the Best Original Song winner was announced.
An NDA-bound location manager for the academy coordinated the “Be Alive” shoot, enlisting an outside agency to handle permitting. The film permit was approved by the city’s Business License Division on March 10. An invoice to the academy from the City of Compton amounted to $2,791: a $1,500 permit fee, a $513 “fire fee,” and a $778 fire personnel fee.
In a community survey conducted by the production crew, only two neighborhood respondents indicated any reservations about the shoot. One person expressed concern about “neighborhood safety because it depends on who’s in it,” while the other requested unspecified “inconvenience compensation.”
On March 21, Variety relayed some scuttlebutt about the shoot, suggesting that it would happen live on the night of the Oscars (March 27). The outlet cited three unnamed sources who said that talks about the shoot had “solidified” on March 14, when the permit had, in fact, been approved four days prior to that.
Pitchfork has contacted Beyoncé’s representatives for comment.
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