Thursday, October 4, 2012

Can Adele's Theme for "Skyfall" Finally Get James Bond a Best Original Song Award?

It has been quite a year for the James Bond franchise. Starting with the Olympics Opening Ceremony in London, England, the British spy has jumped out of an airplane with Queen Elizabeth II and is now set to release a new movie starring Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Ralph Fiennes, and Judi Dench and is directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes (American Beauty). With Skyfall opening on November 9, fans have eagerly been awaiting the release of the traditional movie theme. This time, it is from multiple Grammy-winning artist Adele. The song recently hit the internet. Does it stand a chance of winning Best Original Song?

Whether or not you follow the 007 series, there is an understanding that each movie produces a new theme song. The list of contributors has included the likes of Madonna, Paul McCartney, Duran Duran, Jack White, and Sheryl Crow to name a few. As the names would suggests, the quality differs move to movie, but fans eagerly await the new ones, which thanks to this logic, rarely is done in the same style. That is why when it was announced that the artist behind last year's phenomenon ear worm "Rolling in the Deep," fans eagerly awaited to hear the results.

The results popped up on the internet today and the titular song is just what you'd expect from a soul-pop singer like Adele: 

In fact, what is more impressive is that it sounds like a very dramatic, operatic James Bond song. It is very atmospheric and sees Adele belting out the lyrics with deep passion. The song screams class and while it doesn't have the immediacy of something like McCartney's "Live and Let Die," it does manage to convey a sense of espionage, love and loss. To say the least, this is a quality song that will probably be around on radio stations for awhile, and not just because Adele has become a radio staple for being authentic and soulful.

However, this raises a question: does it stand a chance of winning Best Original Song? The category hasn't really established any front runners yet. With the category now officially allowing five nominations, I am sure that this at least stands a chance of getting nominated. After all, Adele is quickly becoming one of the most respected new artists and more specifically vocalist of our time. Her albums remain the highest selling CD's of each subsequent year. She has gained the respect and power.

Of course, this is coming off of the embarrassment of The Muppets vs. Rio last year, which felt like a lazy win for the former. Will the Academy get their game together and actually try this year? The expanded category gives me some hope, but what will they fill it with? So far, Adele makes sense because of her universal appeal and that helps, especially with older voters. Of course, this logic is inverted when you consider that Eminem and 3 Six Mafia are former winners. 

In preparing this blog, I assumed that a lot of the songs have gotten Best Original Song nominations and at least one win. I recognize that Marvin Hamlisch has done work for the series, and he is a beloved Academy favorite. The results were kind of baffling, though makes sense when you look at the broad view of who contributed songs.

Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Paul McCartney (with arrangements by George Martin) got nominated for "Live and Let Die" from the movie of the same name. Carly Simon (with arrangements by Hamlisch) got nominated for "Nobody Does It Better" from The Spy Who Loved Me. Sheena Easton (with arrangements by Bill Conti) got nominated for "For Your Eyes Only" from the movie of the same name. Along with a Best Original Score nomination for Hamlisch for The Spy Who Loved Me, the music in the James Bond series has only garnered four nominations. This seems low for a series that has spawned 23 movies and remains a pop culture cornerstone.

Is it possible that "Skyfall" can break the losing streak for the Bond series? As long as there isn't any other big songs to come out this year, the chances are very high. For those doubting how good the song is, please listen to it and tell me that it doesn't deserve some nomination. It is so powerful, emotional, and that is what is necessary to win a Best Original Song nomination. The chances also look exceptionally well when considered that this falls in line with Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic. It may have more heart than Dion's, but it justifies that any large orchestrated song stands a chance of winning.

I will not go into any other possible nominations for Skyfall. It may take some technical nominations as the series has been known to do, but as far as acting and writing, Daniel Craig must somehow be more impressive than he was in the past two films. While it plays to the movie's advantage that it is being directed by former winner Sam Mendes, there are more recent directors whose work will get Best Picture consideration, notably Tom Hooper and Steven Spielberg. Still, the movie's best chance at an Oscar win is going to be Adele's "Skyfall." I doubt any song will come close to being this good.

What do you think? Is the Adele song already overrated, or does it stand a chance of taking home an Oscar without any competition? Am I wrong in thinking that Skyfall cannot get any big nominations, despite featuring Mendes and Oscar winner Javier Bardem?

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