Even though the song is set to officially debut tomorrow, I imagine most interested parties have already heard the leaked portion of Adele’s new Bond tune, “Skyfall.” (UPDATE: The song is available now.) One of the cooler elements of the track is that it incorporates the original Monty Norman “Dr. No” theme that became, of course, the signature Bond melody. But while it’s a nifty nod, it also might have done the song in where Oscar is concerned.
The rules are relatively clear about this. Per rule 15, category I B: “An original song consists of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the motion picture.” The bold is the Academy’s, not mine. So judging by that, just having that lingering bit of melody from the classic music is potentially enough to keep it out of contention.
That puts a slight dent in Greg Ellwood’s theory that the category is set to be dominated by popular songstresses like Adele, Florence Welch and Katy Perry. Though, respectfully, I never really thought it would be, and if anything has been proven over the last few years (which have seen the eligible songs presented in context to voters rather than just sent on a CD or something), it’s the song or the artist itself isn’t the thing. Just ask Bruce Springsteen.
Yes, this year the rules were changed to allow for these to be viewed on DVD (as well as to guarantee a full slate of five nominees), but while that might widen the net of those who’ll be doing the actual viewing (since they don’t have to hoof it to a special screening in New York or Los Angeles), it still doesn’t change HOW the songs are being observed and, therefore, considered. So closing credits tracks will, as always, face an uphill battle. (And they rarely were nominated even previous to the rule change a few years back.)
But that’s neither here nor there. Adele’s song, which is admittedly awesome, faces a roadblock here. The letter of the law, if you will, rules it out. And in any case, it’s always tough for a Bond song, regardless of artist. After all, the franchise has only produced three nominees over the years: “Live and Let Die” from same, “Nobody Does it Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me” and “For Your Eyes Only” from same.
Meanwhile, I don’t even think the Florence + the Machine song from “Snow White and the Huntsman” (“Breath of Life”) ever had much of a shot (closing credits and, even as a fan of the artist, I can’t say much for the song), nor Katy Perry’s from “Katy Perry: Part of Me” (“Wide Awake”). For a variety of reasons, I’d say the deck is stacked against them.
The songs from “Brave” will be worth watching, as will some of the stuff from “Lawless,” I think. But in all likelihood, this will end up being an easy one to call, as the Hugh Jackman-belted “Suddenly” from “Les Misérables” will be formidable, I imagine.
We’ll dig in more on the Best Original Song race in a month or two when more tracks have bubbled up and the Academy prepares to release the full list of eligible contenders. Watch for a future installment of “Tech Support” to cover all bases.
UPDATE: We reached out to Sony Pictures for comment. After contacting the Academy, a rep offered the expected: “The song will be submitted to the Academy as all songs are. They will determine the eligibility and let us know.”
“Skyfall” opens everywhere November 9.