No Time to Die wins best song Oscar

No Time to Die won the best song Oscar Sunday night.

Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell received Oscars for writing the title song to the 25th James Bond film. It was the third straight best song Oscar for the Bond film series, following 2012’s Skyfall and Writing’s on the Wall from 2015’s SPECTRE.

No Time to Die also had been nominated in the sound and visual effects categories. Dune won those Oscars.

The show’s in memoriam segment also included Leslie Bricusse, who co-wrote the lyrics for Goldfinger’s title song and who wrote the lyrics for the title song of You Only Live Twice.

The Oscars telecast also included a tribute to the Bond series via film clips while the title song for Live And Let Die played.

Importance of score & editing (Bond edition)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said this week several Oscars will be awarded before the Oscars telecast, including best score and editing.

Ben Mankiewicz, a TCM host, did a tongue-in-cheek tweet asking followers to name movies where score and editing made a difference. You can view it below.

For the purposes of this post, we’ll keep examples of James Bond movies only.

From Russia With Love: According to the documentary Inside From Russia With Love (available on some home video editions of the movie), editor Peter Hunt changed the order of early sequences. This, in effect, created the Bond tradition of the pre-title sequence.

The movie was also the first Bond film (out of 11 total) scored by John Barry. That helped establish the “Bond sound” of 007 movie film music. Barry’s contributions have lasted beyond his death. No Time to Die’s score incorporated Barry’s instrumental theme for On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Thunderball: Director Terence Young departed the project early before post-production was completed. That left editor Hunt by himself, with deadlines for a Christmas release coming down upon him.

What’s more, things were hectic for Barry as well. The title song was changed late from Mr. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang to Thunderball. “Barry worked overtime to incorporate the new theme into the score so it wouldn’t look like the kind of pasted-on song he loathed,” according to The Music of James Bond by Jon Burlingame.

You Only Live Twice: Originally, Peter Hunt was going to be the second unit director and not edit (see James Bond in the Cinema by John Brosnan). But early cuts of the movie were running long and Hunt ended up applying his editing talents as well. The film’s running time ended up just under two hours.

The Man With the Golden Gun: John Barry, generally, scored Bond films on a tight schedule. According to Burlingame’s book, even Barry felt the pressure. Barry only had three weeks to complete the entire score.

There are other examples, of course. In general, movies can be saved in post-production (1975’s Jaws being a notable example).

Eon’s long goodbye with Daniel Craig

Eon boss Barbara Broccoli and Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig has, after a run of more than 15 years, bid adieu to Eon Productions’ James Bond film series. But Eon, at least not yet, isn’t done with the actor.

Eon boss Barbara Broccoli is producing an upcoming stage production of Macbeth starring Craig. This follows a protracted campaign that sought to produce award nominations for No Time to Die, Craig’s final turn as James Bond.

The campaign had mixed results: Six BAFTA nominations, including best British film and three Oscar nominations. No nominations for Craig, either way.

It’s no secret that Barbara Broccoli zeroed in early on Craig to succeed Pierce Brosnan as Bond. Brosnan was the final Bond actor chosen by her father, Albert R. Broccoli. Craig was the first Bond actor she chose.

The question is whether the Macbeth play will delay Eon from getting on with Bond’s future.

You could argue that Eon really can’t go very far down the Bond 26 path.

Amazon last year agreed to acquire Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio. MGM finances Bond films and the power of the purse still is powerful. The Amazon-MGM deal is not final. Until that happens, Bond 26 can only go so far.

Broccoli, however, has signaled she’s not in a hurry when it comes to Bond 26.

“To be honest, we’re not looking right now. We’re not in the conversation right now,” Broccoli told The Hollywood Reporter on a podcast in January. “We are living in the present moment and it’s a joyful moment, it’s a celebratory moment. We’re celebrating Daniel’s extraordinary achievement over 16 years.”

For now, that celebration continues. We’ll see how it goes.

1982: Bond’s big Oscar moment

This week, some James Bond fans took to social media to complain about a lack of Oscar nominations for No Time to Die. The movie was nominated for sound, best song and visual effects.

As it turns out, this is the 40th anniversary of Bond’s biggest Oscar moment, the night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences acknowledged the impact of the 007 film series.

It was at the 1982 Oscar show that Eon Productions co-founder Albert R. Broccoli received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, which recognizes a producer’s career achievements.

Roger Moore, in the midst of his seven-film run as Bond, was brought in to introduce Broccoli. The actor’s presence was noted at the start of the telecast. (“Mr. Roger Moore, maybe the handsomest man alive, the incarnation of James Bond, a presenter of a special award this evening.”)

For Your Eyes Only was a best song nominee. It became the centerpiece of an elaborate musical number. While Sheena Easton performed the song, dancers did a Moonraker-themed mini-adventure. Richard Kiel and Harold Sakata were on hand, dressed as Jaws and Oddjob respectively.

On top of all that, Bill Conti was the show’s musical director. He dropped in bits from his score from For Your Eyes Only. As it happened, For Your Eyes Only didn’t win the best song award.

The big moment was when Broccoli received the Thalberg. He appeared after an introduction by Moore and a collection of clips from Eon’s first dozen Bond films.

Broccoli delivered a gracious speech. He acknowledged two former partners, Irving Allen and Harry Saltzman, the latter Eon’s other co-founder. He also referenced Arthur Krim, the head of United Artists, who provided to go-ahead to start the Bond film series.

“This is an important moment in my life,” Broccoli said. “I feel a great sense of accomplishment, not only for myself but all of my colleagues with whom I’ve worked over the years.”

He concluded by calling himself as a “farm boy from Long Island” (a reference to his humble beginnings) who had achieved a dream.

Behind the scenes, Broccoli had a lot going on. He was performing pre-production work on Octopussy, knowing there would be a competing Bond movie, Never Say Never Again.

What’s more, Broccoli’s stepson, Michael G. Wilson, was already a major lieutenant of the producer. He would soon be joined by his daughter, Barbara Broccoli. Octopussy would provide her first on-screen credit.

Bond films typically don’t get a lot of nominations for Oscars, much less wins. But for this one night, Bond was the big attraction for the Oscars.

Bond 25 questions: The Oscars edition

No Time to Die poster

Well, the Oscar nominations are out. Good news for Bond fans: No Time to Die got three nominations. Bad news: It didn’t get any of the major ones.

Naturally, the blog has questions.

What happened? Have you paid attention? The Bond film series produced by Eon Productions has won a grand total of five Oscars over 60 years. Goldfinger got a sound award, Thunderball got a special effects award. Skyfall received a sound award (tying with Zero Dark Thirty) and best song. SPECTRE won a best song award.

Meanwhile, John Barry won five Oscars by himself but wasn’t even nominated for his Bond film work.

The Oscars are not particularly friendly to the Bond series. Films like Live And Let Die, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker and For Your Eyes Only got nominations and walked away empty.

For the record, No Time to Die was nominated for best song, visual effects, and sound.

But I thought this was going to be different! Well, sure, there was talk some genre movies (such as No Time to Die or Spider-Man No Way Home) might sneak in and grab one of the 10 best picture nomination slots.

Sorry. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t have a category for popularity. Once upon a time, popular movies won or at least were nominated. Que sera sera. What will be, will be.

But hey, Spider-Man No Way Home only got one nomination (visual effects). If you’re a Bond fan and want to gloat, you can seize upon that.

Are there any bright spots in this? Sure. No Time to Die is only the third Bond film to receive multiple nominations. The others were The Spy Who Loved Me (three nominations, no wins) and Skyfall (five nominations, two wins).

Any lessons to be learned? Perhaps Bond’s home studio (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) and producers (Eon) ought to roll back their expectations for big, expensive Oscar campaigns.

I wouldn’t go banco on that, however.

No Time to Die receives 3 Oscar nominations

No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond film, received three Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion PIcture Arts and Sciences announced today.

The Bond film was nominated for best song, visual effects, and sound.

Hans Zimmer, the lead composer for No Time to Die, was nominated for Dune instead.

No Time to Die is only the third Bond film to receive multiple Oscar nominations. The others were The Spy Who Loved Me (three nominations, no wins) and Skyfall (five nominations, two wins). The 2021 film is the third consecutive Bond movie to be nominated for best song. Both Skyfall and SPECTRE won in that category.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bond’s home studio, had conducted a blitz seeking nominations. There had been speculation that genre movies such as No Time to Die and Spider-Man No Way Home might be included in the 10 best picture nominees.

It was not to be. Neither film was nominated. Here is the list of the 10 nominees:

No Time to Die footnote edition

No Time to Die poster

No Time to Die’s theatrical rollout is well along, with only a few countries left to see the movie. With that in mind, here’s a look at various things that were either supposed to happen or people wanted to happen.

The ginormous premiere: Remember how Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Eon Productions were supposed to be considering staging the movie’s world premiere “at the biggest venues in London, starting with Wembley and going down from there” ?

At least that was the tale from The Mirror on April 17. That didn’t happen. The premiere took place at Royal Albert Hall.

An “in memoriam” title card for Sean Connery and Roger Moore: James Bond fans were rooting for No Time to Die to note the passings of Sean Connery (1930-2020) and Roger Moore (1927-2017). The two actors played Bond in 13 of Eon’s 25 Bond films. That didn’t happen, either.

MGM’s push for a Best Picture Oscar nomination: Matthew Belloni, part of a digital news startup called Puck, wrote in June that he was told No Time to Die “will get a best picture push a la the final Lord of the Rings.”

This, of course, could still happen. Belloni is a former editor of The Hollywood Reporter. And some of his other items about No Time to Die have proven correct, including an August newsletter item that MGM and Eon were committed to releasing No Time to Die in late September in the U.K. and on Oct. 8 in the U.S.

The Bond series has experienced a mixed record at the Oscars. Goldfinger and Thunderball won for sound and special effects respectively. Skyfall won for best song and a sound award while SPECTRE also received a best song Oscar.

However, Bond films haven’t been nominated for acting, directing, or writing nor for best picture. Perhaps that could change if MGM and Eon make a sufficient push.

MGM may push for a Best Picture nom for NTTD

No Time to Die poster released Sept. 1.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer may promote a Best Picture Oscar nomination for No Time to Die, according to a newsletter by a former editor of The Hollywood Reporter.

An edition of the newsletter this week outlines various MGM Oscar hopefuls. “And don’t forget No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s last Bond movie, which I’m told will get a best picture push a la the final Lord of the Rings,” wrote Matthew Belloni, who left THR last year. He is now part of a digital media startup.

A screen capture from the newsletter showed up on the James Bond Facebook group alt.fan.james-bond. Belloni verified on Twitter he had written on the subject of MGM’s Oscar hopefuls.

The Bond series has won five Oscars: sound (Goldfinger), special effects (Thunderball) another sound-related award (Skyfall in a tie with Zero Dark Thirty) and two for best song (Skyfall and SPECTRE). It has had other nominations, including for best song (multiple times), cinematography (Skyfall), art direction (The Spy Who Loved Me) and best score (The Spy Who Loved Me and Skyfall).

Starting with 2009-released films, the Oscars permitted as many as 10 Best Picture nominees, up from five previously. The idea was to make it easier for popular films to be among the nominated movies.

MGM is in the process of being purchased by Amazon.

Connery in Oscar In Memoriam

Sean Connery in From Russia With Love

Sean Connery, who died in October at the age of 90, was prominently featured in the “In Memoriam” segment of the 93rd Oscars.

The Scottish-born actor won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Untouchables. He had a long career that included being the first screen James Bond in 1962’s Dr. No. He played the character seven times, in six movies made by Eon Productions and 1983’s Never Say Never Again in 1983, which wasn’t part of the Eon series.

Connery was shown near the end of the segment in a still from Goldfinger.

Diana Rigg, who also died in 2020, was also part of the “In Memoriam” segment. Rigg was a versatile actress who appeared in films, television and the stage. Earlier this month, the U.K.’s BAFTA left Rigg out from the “In Memoriam” segment of its movie show. The organization said Rigg would be part of its television awards show later this year.

Rigg played Tracy, James Bond’s ill-fated bride in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She was also famous for playing Emma Peel on The Avengers television show in the 1960s.

Others with Bond connections featured in the segment included Yaphet Kotto (Dr. Kanaga in Live And Let Die), director Michael Apted (The World Is Not Enough) and production designer Peter Lamont.

Also, after Chloe Zhoa won the Oscar for best director (Nomadand), the theme from Live And Let Die (1973) played.

UPDATE: Others included in the segment were veteran actor Max Von Sydow, whose many roles included Blofeld in Never Say Never Again; stunt driver and performer Remy Julienne; actor Earl Cameron, who appeared in Thunderball; and actress Helen McCrory, who appeared in Skyfall.

However, Honor Blackman, who died in August at the age of 95, wasn’t included. She played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. Also not included was actress Tanya Roberts (A View to a Kill), who died in January at age 65.

UPDATE II (April 26): Also not making the cut was French actor Michael Lonsdale, who played Drax in Moonraker.

Here is the segment:

Diana Rigg gets left out of BAFTA ‘In Memoriam’

Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg in a publicity still for The Avengers

This weekend, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, or BAFTA, gave out its film awards. It’s the U.K. equivalent of the Oscars.

Like the Oscars, the BAFTAs include an “In Memoriam” segment. This year’s “In Memoriam” left out Diana Rigg (1938-2020). Variety, which was covering the awards inquired why. Here’s a tweet the entertainment news outlet put out:

Rigg was known for both movies and TV shows. For spy fans, she played Tracy, James Bond’s ill-fated wife in the 1969 film adaptation of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. On TV, she was known for The Avengers and other television series.

UPDATE (April 12): Viewers advise that Bond film veterans Honor Blackman and Earl Cameron also didn’t make the “In Memoriam” segment. THIS STORY says Prince Philip, who died last week, was included.

UPDATE II: Reader @toysofbond advises Honor Blackman was included in the 2020 BAFTA TV “In Memoriam.” So she, lie Dame Diana, was deemed a TV performer rather than a movie one. See tweet below: