Adele, Shirley Bassey, Barbra Streisand Shine in Oscar 2013 Afterglow

Posted February 27, 2013 by J Matthew Cobb in HiDef

The singing divas take over the 85th annual Academy Awards

Adele‘s contribution to the James Bond franchise with “Skyfall” earned her an Oscar win on Sunday night – the first in her career. Wearing a sparkling black dress and donning her classic Dusty Springfield hairstyle, Adele performed the song live for the first time on the Oscar stage with a sweeping orchestral arrangement behind her. Certainly Adele went into the Oscar race as the one to beat, since it netted the UK singer yet another Top Ten hit last year. Her fellow competition for Best Original Song included a re-imagining of “Suddenly” from Les Misérables, “Everybody Needs a Friend” from Ted, “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi and “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice.

Adele’s win also makes James Bond history for being the only Bond theme to win an Oscar, even beating some of the franchise’s more popular tunes, including Shirley Bassey‘s “Goldfinger,” Paul McCartney’s “Live and Let Die,” Tina Turner’s “Golden Eye,” Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” and Duran Duran’s “A View to a Kill.”

Record sales in both physical form and digital were expected to go up immediately after the broadcast and victory, reaching somewhere near 45%.

In honor of the franchise’s 50th anniversary, the Academy Awards delivered a befitting tribute to Bond. Topping it off was an unexpected and critically-acclaimed performance of 1964’s “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey. Some wondered why she didn’t opt to sing “Diamonds Are Forever,” which has become just as infamous in her songbook. Apparently, record sales makes the world of a difference since “Goldfinger” remains Bassey’s only Top 40 hit (#8). Early predictions from analysts believe digital sales of “Goldfinger” would exceed 275% and may even grant her yet another placement on the Billboard Hot 100 next week.

“The Way We Were,” a Oscar winner in 1973, was revived by the legendary Barbra Streisand during its In Memoriam segment, which paid homage to the co-writer Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away last year. Glowing in a sparkly black dress and with LED-like candles  penetrating the background, Streisand showed off a strange vibrato in her lower register. But that quickly faded as the diva lifted the ballad into a cloud of Broadway dominance. Some are expecting Streisand to see a bump in sales reaching 175%.

The Academy Awards, now in its 85th year, seemed to be the most musical in all of its years. Thanks to new producers and a very musical (and hilarious) host Seth MacFarlane, who’s also whipped out his own musical recording of humorous Sinatra-styled show tunes (see Music Is Better Than Words), the show sparkled with an array of talented performers, including Oscar-winning Jennifer Hudson reprising her Effie White power ballad “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls and a full cast of Hollywood A-list-ers from the motion picture version of Les Misérables, which featured Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, along with co-stars Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham-Carter, Sasha Baron-Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Aaron Tveit and Samantha Barks. Also in the background were cast members from the London and Broadway versions.

UPDATE, 2/26, 7:42 p.m. EST: 

With average to below-average reviews coming from critics, Seth MacFarlane announced on Twitter that he will not reprise his Oscar host role. The Family Guy creator was blasted by conservatives for being too edgy. Apparently, they haven’t watched Family Guy or didn’t see Ted. As for the ratings, the Oscars netted its biggest audience in three years, with a major increase amongst younger viewers.


About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


Be the first to comment!

Leave a Response