“No Time to Die” from the film of the same name is likely to become the seventh song from a James Bond film to receive an Oscar nomination for best original song. It won a Grammy in March 2021 for best song written for visual media and won for song – feature film on Nov. 17 at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. The Oscar nominations will be announced on Feb. 8.
Billie Eilish and Finneas co-wrote the ballad, which debuted and peaked at No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 2020. Eilish sang the song on the film soundtrack. No Time to Die was the fifth (and final) Bond film to star Daniel Craig.
Oscar voters were rather slow to embrace Bond songs. “Goldfinger,” which Shirley Bassey sang on the soundtrack of the 1964 film of the same name (and which many consider to be the greatest of all Bond songs), failed to receive a nomination. But in recent years, Oscar voters have made up for lost time.
“No Time to Die” would be the third consecutive Bond film to spawn an Oscar-nominated song. Skyfall and Spectre, the two most recent installments before No Time to Die, both yielded Oscar-winning songs. Craig starred in all three of these films. Of the four other Bond films to spawn Oscar-nominated songs, Roger Moore starred in three; David Niven in one.
Should Eilish and Finneas win the Oscar when the 94th annual Academy Awards are presented on March 27, they would become the first Americans to win for writing a Bond song. They would also set a new record for the longest wait from a song’s release until its Oscar coronation – more than 25 months. (The wait, of course, is due to COVID-19 delaying the release of the film.)
Here’s a complete list of the six Bond songs to receive Oscar nominations to date.
1967—“The Look of Love” from Casino Royale: Burt Bacharach and Hal David co-wrote this smoldering ballad, which Dusty Springfield performed on the film soundtrack. Her version, produced by Johnny Franz, reached No. 22 on the Hot 100 in November 1967. Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 performed the song on the Oscar telecast in April 1968. Where Springfield’s version emphasized the song’s sensuous melody, the sleek version by Mendes and Brasil ’66 was taut and rhythmic. The Herb Alpert-produced cover version was a markedly bigger hit than the original, reaching No. 4 in July 1968. Isaac Hayes covered the song a few years later. His soulful version reached No. 79 in March 1971. This was the film’s only nomination. The song lost to “Talk to the Animals” from Dr. Dolittle. Casino Royale starred Niven in his only outing as Bond.
1973—“Live and Let Die” from Live and Let Die: Paul and Linda McCartney co-wrote this pop/rock smash which was a virtual rock and roll symphony. Wings’ recording, produced by Beatles producer George Martin, reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 in August 1973. Entertainer Connie Stevens (of all people) performed the song on the Oscar telecast in April 1974. (The next time McCartney was nominated for an Oscar, for writing the title song from 2001’s Vanilla Sky, he showed up to perform.) “Live and Let Die” lost to another title song, “The Way We Were.” Guns N’ Roses’ faithful but somewhat harder-edged version reached No. 33 in February 1992. Live and Let Die was the first Bond film to star Moore.
1977—“Nobody Does It Better” from The Spy Who Loved Me: Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager co-wrote this smash, which combined the sexiness of “The Look of Love” with wit, such as the sly way the song incorporates the film’s title. Hamlisch received a second nod for best original score. The this was the first Bond film to receive more than one Oscar nod. (It nabbed three in all.) “Nobody Does It Better” is the only Bond theme to receive a Grammy nod for song of the year. Carly Simon sang the song on the film soundtrack. Her single, immaculately produced by Richard Perry, reached No. 2 on the Hot 100 in October 1977. Aretha Franklin performed the song on the Oscar telecast in April 1978, in a glitzy disco production number that positively screams 1978. This sexy song deserved to win, but it lost to a leaden ballad that became a phenomenally big hit, “You Light Up My Life.” The Spy Who Loved Me was the third Bond film to star Moore.
1981—“For Your Eyes Only” from For Your Eyes Only: Bill Conti and Mick Leeson co-wrote this power ballad. Sheena Easton sang the song on-screen in the film and had a No. 4 hit with it in October 1981. Christopher Neil produced her single. Easton also sang the song on the Oscar telecast in March 1982 in a budget-busting production number. This lost to “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)” from Arthur. For Your Eyes Only was the fifth Bond film to star Moore.
2012—“Skyfall” from Skyfall: Adele and Paul Epworth co-wrote this cool, elegant ballad, the first Bond song to win an Oscar. Adele sang the song on the film soundtrack and on the Oscar telecast in February 2013. Her version, produced by Epworth, debuted and peaked at No. 8 in October 2012. This was one of five nominations the film received, the most of any Bond film. One of the nods went to Thomas Newman for best original score. Adele and Epworth had won a Grammy for song of the year the previous year for co-writing “Rolling in the Deep.” Skyfall was the third Bond film to star Craig.
2015—“Writing’s on the Wall” from Spectre: Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith co-wrote this song, the second Bond song to win an Oscar. Smith sang the song on the film soundtrack and on the Oscar telecast in February 2016. His recording wasn’t much of a hit, however. It debuted and peaked at No. 71 in October 2015. Napes co-produced the single with Steve Fitzmaurice and Disclosure. This was the film’s only nomination. Napes and Smith had won a Grammy for song of the year the previous year for co-writing “Stay With Me.” In his acceptance speech, Smith suggested that he was the first openly gay man to win an Oscar. He wasn’t, which led to mockery on social media. Spectre was the fourth Bond film to star Craig.