1978: 007 wins 000 Oscars

James Bond has an odd history with the Oscars. The film series got two Oscar nods early in its history, then went decades with no wins.

The 1978 Oscars show, for movies made in 1977, was somewhat frustrating from a Bond fan perspective. The Spy Who Loved Me had been nominated for three awards: art direction, song and score. It walked away with….zero.

A big problem (from the Bond perspective) was that Spy was up against Star Wars in two categories. Star Wars was new and fresh and had wowed theatergoers the previous year.

Specifically, Spy’s Ken Adam-designed sets would be compared with the futuristic Star Wars sets. Another science fiction movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was also nominated.

Score one for Star Wars. One of the winners was production designer John Barry (1935-1979), not to be confused with composer John Barry (Prendergast).

Marvin Hamlisch’s Spy score was up against the Star Wars score by John Williams. However, Williams was nominated twice — he also got a nomination for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Maybe, just maybe, Williams would split the vote and Hamlisch could sneak in.

Nope. Williams got it for Star Wars. One of the presenters was Henry Mancini. Early in his career, Williams was one of the musicians who recorded Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme in 1958.

The song category was probably Spy’s best hope. Nobody Does It Better had been very popular. Maybe it could salvage the night for 007. It was not to be. It lost to You Light Up My Life.

This wasn’t the first time a Bond song lost. Live And Let Die had done failed to win four years earlier,  with the prize going to The Way We Were (with Hamlisch doing the music.) And classic songs by John Barry (Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, Diamonds Are Forever hadn’t even been nominated.

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