Bond Songs Don’t Often Get Oscar Love

Craig Modderno is an AwardsLine contributor. This story appeared in the Oct. 31 issue of AwardsLine.

After 50 years on screen, British agent James Bond is once again trying to use a woman to get what he wants from a stranger: Grammy Award-winning Adele sings and cowrote the title song for the latest big-screen Bond adventure, Skyfall. And judging from the international response to the track, this time around Bond might stand a chance in getting some long-deserved Oscar attention for the tune.

But Bond songs—let alone the franchise itself—don’t often earn Academy Award nominations. At an October Academy event, The Music of Bond: The First 50 Years, author and event host Jon Burlingame explained why Bond theme songs have only earned three Oscar nominations over a half-century.

“The problem in composing a song for a Bond film is often the producers require the title of the song to be the title of the film,” Burlingame explains. “But how do you come up with a song entitled ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’?”

It’s certainly not related to a lack of vocal talent. The various Bond songs have been performed by artists as diverse as Madonna, Louis Armstrong, Carly Simon, and the only repeat artist, Shirley Bassey.

But with some of the best reviews of a Bond film in years, perhaps Skyfall will be the film to break the Oscar nomination curse.

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