Billie Eilish Stuns the Oscars With ‘What Was I Made For?’ Live Performance, Earns Standing Ovation

Billie Eilish delivered a powerful performance of “What Was I Made For?” at the 2024 Academy Awards on Sunday night.

Eilish was joined by her brother, co-writer and producer Finneas O’Connell, in a touching rendition of the song from Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” which earned eight Oscar nominations.

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With O’Connell on piano, Eilish moved the audience with her signature ethereal vocals. A string orchestra joined in on the delicate performance, while O’Connell provided subtle harmonies to underscore his sister. With “Barbie”-themed production design saturating the Dolby Theatre stage in bright pink lighting, the sibling duo brought the audience to their feet with their existential lyrics and affecting melody.

“What Was I Made For?” appears on “Barbie: The Album,” the soundtrack to director Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster. It’s up for best original song, and “Barbie” received nods for best picture, supporting actor, supporting actress, adapted screenplay, costume design and production design. Ryan Gosling and Mark Ronson’s viral hit “I’m Just Ken” is also up for best original song. A win for Eilish on Sunday night would make the 22-year-old the youngest two-time Oscar winner in history.

Last month, “What Was I Made For?” won song of the year at the Grammys, and “Barbie” also won for best compilation soundtrack for visual media and best song written for visual media.

Eilish, O’Connell and the song were also honored at Variety’s 2023 Hitmakers ceremony in December, receiving the film song of the year award for “What Was I Made For?” They were introduced with a moving speech by Elton John’s longtime songwriting partner, Bernie Taupin.

“I just feel very lucky that we were even thought of to make this song, and I thank God that it happened at all because I feel like it really saved us from a creative meltdown,” Eilish told the crowd at the time. “I think that when we were asked to make this song, it was just what we needed in our writer’s block.”

Watch O’Connell describe the song’s creation on Variety‘s video series, “Behind the Song,” here.

Watch Billie Eilish and Finneas’ Oscar performance below. Check out the full Oscar winners list here.

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