Is Adele’s James Bond song ‘Skyfall’ eligible for Oscars?

When it was announced that Grammy champ Adele was singing the title track for the new James Bond film “Skyfall,” she seemed like a lock for a Best Song bid at the Oscars. 

However, now that the top-notch tune has debuted, it seems she has a big problem — she incorporated the classic theme for the film franchise, which dates back to “Dr. No” in 1962, into her soulful song. And that snippet of music could make her ineligible for an Academy Award. 

Rule 15(I)(B) clearly states: “An original song consists of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the motion picture.” The academy went so far as to bold that last clause to emphasize the required provenance of the entry.

One could argue that “Skyfall” meets this requirement and has the added element of those few bars of Monty Norman‘s music from “Dr. No.” The studio is planning on submitting the song, leaving it up to the music branch to decide if it can contend.

If “Skyfall” is ruled ineligible, it will be in good company among iconic Bond themes. Among those snubbed by the Oscars are both of Shirley Bassey‘s signature tunes — “Goldfinger” (1964) and “Diamonds are Forever” (1972) — as well as Tina Turner‘s rendition of U2‘s “Goldeneye” (1995) and Madonna‘s “Die Another Day” (2002).

Indeed, only three of this signature tunes have even contended for Best Song and all were bested. Paul McCartney‘s “Live and Let Die” from the 1973 film of the same name lost to “The Way We Were”; Carly Simon‘s rendition of “Nobody Does it Better” from 1979’s “The Spy Who Loved Me” lost to “You Light Up My Life” and “For Your Eyes Only,” sung by Sheena Easton, lost in 1981 to “Arthur’s Theme.”

Take a listen to “Skyfall” above and then vote in our poll below. 

9 thoughts on “Is Adele’s James Bond song ‘Skyfall’ eligible for Oscars?

  1. It’s not eligible for the Grammys this year because it wasn’t released before the September 30 deadline. OTOH, I can see both arguments; yes it does borrow a few bars of the Bond theme, but remember the Music Branch is run by old-fogies and it’s about the right number of notes old-fogies would NOT consider “unoriginal”. It’s a close call (and THE biggest thing standing between Adele and Oscar), but IMO they’ll allow it.

  2. Skyfall wouldn’t be nominated anyway, The Academy watch the song’s in the context of where they are in the film – They are not going to nominate a song which is simply over the opening credits.

  3. The chorus is basically the rising Bond theme. This is more than just a few bars, she’s hardly written a new song at all. Lazy song, awful lyrics. Disappointing – she’s a much better artist than this song suggests.

  4. I think it should be included for best song, the song isn’t built around those notes or that theme.. it’s more of a homage IMO

  5. The song is eligible because it was written specifically for this film. The fact that it uses a few bars of music, that was written specifically for use ONLY in this film series, shouldn’t make ineligible for the Oscar. Now, if Adele went off and used part’s of “All the single ladies,” music that wasn’t originally made for the film series, then I would say it was ineligible.

  6. Duncan, things have changed this year. Yes, they still watch the film that shows the songs use in the film, but this year there MUST be 5 nominee’s. The members of the music branch of the Academy will most likely want Adele to be nominated because to have Adele perform at the Oscar’s would probably create BIG ratings for the telecast. 🙂

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