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.

No surprise: NTTD soundtrack delayed

No Time to Die character poster

Hardly a surprise but the Decca Records website has been updated to show that the No Time to Die soundtrack has been delayed to Nov. 13.

On March 4, the release date of the 25th James Bond film was pushed back to Nov. 12 in the U.K. and Nov. 25 in the United States.

Originally, the soundtrack was to have come out around the same time as the movie’s original release date of early April. The world premiere had been set for March 31.

Initially, the soundtrack listing didn’t change its date, leading some fans to hope (against hope, as it turns out) that would remain the case.

No such luck. The score for the film was composed by Hans Zimmer, with additional music by Steve Mazzaro, one of the 64 composers (the total went up by one recently) involved with Zimmer’s Remote Control Productions company.

h/t @antovolk

Q the Music raising funds to make up for canceled shows

Q the Music logo

Q the Music, a British group that performs James Bond songs, is conducting a fund-raising effort to make up for canceled shows.

The group, led by Warren Ringham, has been affected by the coronavirus as public events get canceled in an effort to contain the virus.

Here’s an explanation.

Today, I (Warren Ringham) am asking for your help for the musicians of Q The Music. We have had all our work, contracts, theatre shows, ticket sales, everything cancelled for 3 months (minimum). For the musicians, crew & comperes of the show, this amounts to £30,000 of lost earnings for them collectively.

As it stands today, the government have again failed to offer any assistance to either a business like mine (save for loans on top of loans I already have), or more importantly right now for the self-employed musicians in the band.

Please note, I know, and we know, we are not alone in this plight. Many many people are experiencing these problems around the country and around the world…but I have to campaign on our behalf as I know so many of you have got enjoyment from seeing us over the years.

(snip)

Some important notes:

*musicians aren’t “employees” of the show, they are “sub-contracted”. There is no statutory sick pay for the band members.

*theatres cancel the shows, they don’t pay us anything.

*if you haven’t had your tickets refunded yet, by donating them to the theatre (also a worthy cause), that money does NOT come through to the band.

We desperately need your help, please….

To view an entry at the Just Giving website, CLICK HERE.

As this is being written, 4,381 British pounds (of a 10,000-pound target) have been raised.

Coronavirus cancellations/postponements pile up

No Time to Die poster

It turns out No Time to Die was ahead of the curve on this one.

A number of movies, television shows, sports events, and concerts have been among the events affected by the spread of the coronavirus.

No Time to Die’s delay from April to November was announced March 4.

Since then, the list of affected events has piled up. Just a sampling:

Movie release date changes: Besides No Time to Die, My Spy, Peter Rabbit 2, A Quiet Place Part II, F9: The Fast Saga (ninth installment of The Fast and the Furious series), and Mulan have been delayed. CLICK HERE for a more complete list.

Sports events: The NCAA basketball tournament (both men’s and women’s divisions), a number of athletic conference basketball tournaments, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, the Australian Grand Prix, and The Master’s golf tournament have been canceled or postponed.

Concerts: A number of concerts, including part of Billie Eilish’s current tour, have been called off. Eilish performs the No Time to Die title song and she is a hot property after winning a lot of Grammy awards.

Television shows: Late-night shows in the U.S. are going on a hiatus. There have been announcements of other delays amid coronavirus concerns.

A look at Skyfall in Concert

The orchestra is applauded by a Toronto audience after Skyfall in Concert has concluded. The Spy Command photo

TORONTO — This weekend, there were two performances in Toronto of Skyfall in Concert, where an orchestra performed the score of the 23rd James movie live, synched up to a showing of the film.

The show was performed Feb. 21 and 22 at Meridian Hall in downtown Toronto.

The Thomas Newman score sounded subtly different in places with the live performance compared with the film’s original soundtrack.

There were also some changes to highlight the score. Some sound effects were dialed back a bit.

An example: In the movie, there were loud crashing sound effects when Eve Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) loses the side mirrors of the vehicle she’s driving in the pre-titles sequence. With Skyfall in Concert, you still heard the effects but they weren’t as overpowering. Also, the film had subtitles for the dialogue.

The orchestra was stationed below the screen where the movie was shown. As a result, audience members could observe the musicians playing as the film played.

As Skyfall drew to an end, the orchestra played a rousing rendition of The James Bond Theme after the “James Bond Will Return” title card. This took place without the end title crawl. That began after the orchestra finished its performance of the Bond theme.

A number of James Bond fan groups, including James Bond Canada, The James Bond Complex, The Bond Experience, Being James Bond and many others were present for the Feb. 22 performance. The Bond fans had pre- and post-show gatherings.

Eilish, Finneas provide more details about NTTD song

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell did interviews on morning shows in the U.K. and the U.S. and provided a few additional details about the No Time to Die title song they co-wrote with Eilish performing.

BBC BreakfastO’Connell said “we did go to re-listen to everything,” referring to past Bond songs to make sure they weren’t copying “other great songs.”

Eilish said she and her brother had a meeting Eon chief Barbara Broccoli in Ireland in early September.

“She basically gave us a little hint of what the first scene, what’s happening.” Broccoli later sent the first part of the script. “We had what the audience will have watched before they hear the song…It was really, really helpful. It really wrote the song for us.”

The siblings also said they had writer’s block initially. It was after that they wrote the song in three days.

Each also said star Daniel Craig had a big say in the song. “If Daniel doesn’t like it, you don’t get the job,” O’Connell said.

Toward the end, Eilish said she was scared about performing at the BRITS later in the day because “I have to hit a note I’ve never hit before.”

Good Morning America: O’Connell said the duo had “essentially total creative freedom in the writing process.”

Finneas O’Connell discusses origins of NTTD song

Finneas O’Connell, older brother and collaborator of Billie Eilish

Finneas O’Connell, co-writer of the No Time to Die title song with his sister Billie Eilish, described the creative process in an interview with GQ.

“We wrote No Time to Die on a tour bus. Specifically, in the bunks of our tour bus,” told the magazine.

“We were given the first 20 pages of the script. I guess that’s up to the point when the song comes in during the movie, right? That’s how all the Bond films open up.

“So we were able to read the first 20 pages, which was obviously incredible. It gave us such a good steer and such insight into where the song would fall, and the tone. It makes it easier than having to write the whole song based on the entire movie; or in fact none of the movie.”

That sounds like the duo read the script’s pre-titles sequence. The general rule of thumb is that one page of script equals about one minute of screen time.

That suggests the pre-titles sequence may run about 20 minutes, although no one will know for sure until editing of the movie is complete.

O’Connell described what happened next.

“So Billie and I wrote the song, recorded the demo, sent it to them and then we finished it in London with Hans Zimmer doing the orchestral arrangements and also Johnny Marr from The Smiths,” he said. “I mean, James Bond? Hans Zimmer? Johnny Marr? Mind blowing.”

The interview covers other subjects. You can read the interview by CLICKING HERE.