John Travolta Tears Up Saluting Olivia Newton-John Ahead of Lenny Kravitz’s Oscars In Memoriam Performance

Rock legend Lenny Kravitz was present at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday (March 12) to perform the In Memoriam musical accompaniment at the 2023 Oscars. Each year, the Academy Awards pay homage to cinematic legends, both behind and in front of the camera, who have died since the last year’s ceremony.

Prior to his performance, John Travolta took the stage to introduce him. “In this industry we have a rare luxury of getting to do what we love for a living and sometimes getting to do it with people that we come to love,” Travolta said. “It’s only fitting that we celebrate those we lost.”

Of those departed talents, Travolta said, “They’ve touched our hearts, made us smile and became dear friends who we will always remain hopelessly devoted to.” As he delivered that last line, a reference to his Grease co-star Olivia Newton-John’s song “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” he noticeably choked up, pushing back tears. Newton-John, who topped the Billboard Hot 100 five times, died last August at the age of 73. Travolta and Newton-John remained lifelong friends after starring in the smash 1978 film Grease, which launched both of their careers into the stratosphere.

Kravitz performed an elegant, heartfelt rendition of “Calling All Angels” from his 2004 album Baptism. “Calling All Angels” was one of that album’s singles. Last fall, Kravitz covered Billboard alongside rising star Steve Lacy. The “Bad Habit” singer cites Kravitz as a career inspiration, and the two discussed everything from their favorite musicians to playing the drums.

Lyndsey Havens