2012 Best Original Song - Adele Heals 007's Oscar Wounds

WON AND SHOULD'VE WON: "Skyfall," Skyfall

Prior to the 2012 Oscar ceremony, the James Bond film franchise had never received much in the way of affection from the Academy.

In terms of actual wins, only Goldfinger and Thunderball had scored prizes - in Best Sound Effects and Best Visual Effects, respectively, over nominal competition. Diamonds Are Forever received a nomination for its sound effects and Moonraker nabbed a nod for its visual effects. The most well-received Bond flick was actually The Spy Who Loved Me, which managed three nominations in 1977 - Best Art Direction, Best Original Score and yes, Best Original Song.

The Spy Who Loved Me's "Nobody Does It Better" (perhaps the all-time greatest Bond song) was one of three Bond pictures to show up in Best Original Song, the other two being the eponymous themes to Live and Let Die (fun) and For Your Eyes Only (dreadful adult contemporary).

Come 2012, more than three decades since the last 007 appearance in Best Original Song, the Academy was at last ready to embrace a Bond theme for victory, though, to be fair, I'm not so sure "Skyfall" would have triumphed (or even been nominated) without the beloved juggernaut of a performer that is Adele.

I don't quite consider "Skyfall" one of the strongest Bond themes - looking back over all of them, I'd rank it right around #10 - but it is nicely orchestrated, of course gorgeously performed and has the good fortune of headlining one of the best non-Connery films in the franchise. It is also a lot more entertaining than its Best Original Song company in 2012, an otherwise pretty forgettable foursome of tunes that didn't even much resonate at their time of release.

I would argue there are basically three tiers in quality in this category - "Skyfall," then the Life of Pi and Ted tracks and then way behind them, the Chasing Ice and Les Miz tunes.

Mychael Danna's music to Life of Pi is truly sumptuous stuff, a whole-heartedly worthy winner in Best Original Score. "Pi's Lullaby" pairs Danna's composition with lyrics by Bombay Jayashri and, while the track is certainly affecting, I'm not sure Jayashri's contribution brings a whole lot to the table - the tune doesn't soar any higher than anything else on the soundtrack.

Ted's "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" is amiable-enough, composed by Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane and Walter Murphy and performed by Norah Jones, but I almost wish MacFarlane had gone the South Park route and given his original song some raunchy bite. For being included in such a raw, side-splitting film, this is pretty light, generic stuff.

I won't spend much time on the other two nominees, other than to say Les Miserables' "Suddenly" is yet another stage-to-screen adaptation original song that pales completely in comparison to the original stage music, and Chasing Ice's "Before My Time" is a lifeless sleeping pill.

The Oscar-winners ranked (thus far)...

  1. "Over the Rainbow," The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  2. "The Way You Look Tonight," Swing Time (1936)
  3. "Streets of Philadelphia," Philadelphia (1993)
  4. "Lose Yourself," 8 Mile (2002)
  5. "High Hopes," A Hole in the Head (1959)
  6. "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
  7. "Mona Lisa," Captain Carey, U.S.A. (1950)
  8. "Baby, It's Cold Outside," Neptune's Daughter (1949)
  9. "(I've Had) the Time of My Life," Dirty Dancing (1987)
  10. "The Windmills of Your Mind," The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
  11. "The Way We Were," The Way We Were (1973)
  12. "Let the River Run," Working Girl (1988)
  13. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
  14. "Under the Sea," The Little Mermaid (1989)
  15. "High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, On My Darlin')," High Noon (1952)
  16. "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," The Lion King (1994)
  17. "Beauty and the Beast," Beauty and the Beast (1991)
  18. "I'm Easy," Nashville (1975)
  19. "You'll Never Know," Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943)
  20. "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe," The Harvey Girls (1946)
  21. "Fame," Fame (1980)
  22. "Theme from Shaft," Shaft (1971)
  23. "Secret Love," Calamity Jane (1953)
  24. "White Christmas," Holiday Inn (1942)
  25. "Moon River," Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
  26. "Take My Breath Away," Top Gun (1986)
  27. "When You Wish Upon a Star," Pinocchio (1940)
  28. "Thanks for the Memory," The Big Broadcast of 1938 (1938)
  29. "Lullaby of Broadway," Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935)
  30. "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah," Song of the South (1947)
  31. "A Whole New World," Aladdin (1992)
  32. "My Heart Will Go On," Titanic (1997)
  33. "Flashdance...What a Feeling," Flashdance (1983)
  34. "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," Arthur (1981)
  35. "I Need to Wake Up," An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
  36. "Last Dance," Thank God It's Friday (1978)
  37. "Colors of the Wind," Pocahontas (1995)
  38. "Falling Slowly," Once (2007)
  39. "You Must Love Me," Evita (1996)
  40. "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)," Dick Tracy (1990)
  41. "Days of Wine and Roses," Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
  42. "For All We Know," Lovers and Other Strangers (1970)
  43. "All the Way," The Joker Is Wild (1957)
  44. "It Might As Well Be Spring," State Fair (1945)
  45. "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Lady Be Good (1941)
  46. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  47. "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
  48. "Skyfall," Skyfall (2012)
  49. "The Weary Kind," Crazy Heart (2009)
  50. "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," Hustle & Flow (2005)
  51. "It Goes Like It Goes," Norma Rae (1979)
  52. "Born Free," Born Free (1966)
  53. "Never on Sunday," Never on Sunday (1960)
  54. "I Just Called to Say I Love You," The Woman in Red (1984)
  55. "Up Where We Belong," An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
  56. "Three Coins in the Fountain," Three Coins in the Fountain (1954)
  57. "Chim Chim Cher-ee," Mary Poppins (1964)
  58. "Call Me Irresponsible," Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
  59. "Evergreen (Theme from A Star Is Born)," A Star Is Born (1976)
  60. "Al otro lado del río," The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
  61. "Things Have Changed," Wonder Boys (2000)
  62. "Swinging on a Star," Going My Way (1944)
  63. "Into the West," The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
  64. "Man or Muppet," The Muppets (2011)
  65. "We Belong Together," Toy Story 3 (2010)
  66. "Jai Ho," Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
  67. "If I Didn't Have You," Monsters, Inc. (2001)
  68. "You'll Be in My Heart," Tarzan (1999)
  69. "You Light Up My Life," You Light Up My Life (1977)
  70. "Gigi," Gigi (1958)
  71. "The Continental," The Gay Divorcee (1934)
  72. "Sweet Leilani," Waikiki Wedding (1937)
  73. "Buttons and Bows," The Paleface (1948)
  74. "Talk to the Animals," Doctor Dolittle (1967)
  75. "The Shadow of Your Smile," The Sandpiper (1965)
  76. "When You Believe," The Prince of Egypt (1998)
  77. "Say You, Say Me," White Nights (1985)
  78. "The Morning After," The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
  79. "We May Never Love Like This Again," The Towering Inferno (1974)