Turns out Barbra Streisand won't be the only diva doing a star turn on this year's Oscarcast. On Friday, the academy announced that Dame Shirley Bassey is set to sing "Goldfinger" as part of the golden anniversary tribute to the James Bond film franchise.
This marks the first appearance on the Oscars for the Welsh songstress, who rocketed to fame stateside in 1964 with her rendition of this title track to the third Bond film. (Watch her belt out this number in the first video below.)
That song was snubbed by the Oscars as were Bassey's other two Bond theme tunes -- her iconic rendition of "Diamonds Are Forever" (1971) and the less memorable "Moonraker" (1979).
In 1964, the Best Song Oscar went to "Chim, Chim, Cheer-ee" from "Mary Poppins," the biggest hit of the year. The four also-rans include three title tracks little heard since -- "Dear Heart," "Hush Hush ... Sweet Charlotte" and "Where Love Has Gone" -- as well as "My Kind of Town," sung by Frank Sinatra in "Robin and the Seven Hoods" and a part of his repertoire thereafter.
"Diamonds Are Forever" marked the final appearance of Sean Connery in the role of Bond. The title track was rumored to have shocked academy members with its raciness, which is confusing since the eventual winner was the “black private dick that’s a sex machine to all the chicks" -- i.e., “Shaft” by Issac Hayes.
The other Best Song nominees were less than memorable: "The Age of Not Believing" ("Bedknobs and Broomsticks"), "The Age of Not Believing" from the film of the same name; "Life Is What You Make It" ("Kotch"); and "All His Children" ("Sometimes a Great Notion").
Last summer, Bassey sang this crowdpleaser as part of a concert celebrating the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned for 60 years. (Watch this performance in the second video below).
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None of the tunes that kicked off the Connery films reaped Oscar bids. Among the other snubs besides Basseys were chart toppers by Tom Jones (“Thunderball”) and Nancy Sinatra (“You Only Live Twice”).
It wasn’t until 1973 and Roger Moore's first outing as Bond -- “Live and Let Die” -- that a title tune was nominated. This mostly instrumental song by Paul and Linda McCartney lost the award to the theme for “The Way We Were."
The franchise earned two more nominations in the Roger Moore era: Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better,” composed by Oscar favorite Marvin Hamlisch for 1979's "The Spy Who Loved Me," lost to "You Light Up My Life"; and "For Your Eyes Only," sung by Sheena Easton, was bested by "Arthur's Theme" in 1981.
As Pierce Brosnan and then Daniel Craig assumed the role, the Bond filmmakers employed high profile singer-songwriters such as Sheryl Crowe, Bono, Madonna, and Jack White. However, none of them made the final academy cut.
That curse is likely to be broken this year as Adele contends for the the title track from "Skyfall." She too is slated to sing at this year's kudocast. The Grammy darling is up for her first Oscar as she penned the tune with producer Paul Epworth. The pair, who already picked up a Golden Globe for their efforts, are the overwhelming favorites to win the Best Song award.
"Skyfall" is the 23rd entry in the series that dates back to 1962's "Dr. No." This third film to feature Craig as 007 contends for five Oscars in all -- Cinematography, Score, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Song.
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