Adele is a mere two steps away from an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) having already won multiple Grammys (plus another this year making her a nine-time Grammy winner) and she just added an Oscar to that list. Adele’s now Academy Award winning song, “Skyfall,” was a perfect match for the James Bond franchise – bold, memorable, and just a little sexy. Adele’s powerful and commanding vocals seemed like a natural match for the film – and clearly it was an award winning combination.
But what happens now? Adele is not the first mainstream artist to cross over into film and walk away with that coveted little gold man. Back in 2002, Eminem stopped simply telling people his story and put his lyrics on screen with 8 Mile and walked away with the Best Original Song Oscar for “Lose Yourself.” 8 Mile was Eminem’s first foray into film and while he now reserves his acting for music videos, Eminem has also worked as a musician on the 2012 film Love Written in Blood along with another well-known film composer, Clint Mansell, who created the film’s theme music.
This idea of artists known mainly for their radio hits stepping into the world of film seemed at its heyday in the 1980s with Stevie Wonder winning the Best Original Song Oscar in 1984 for “I Just Called to Say I Love You” from The Woman in Red and Lionel Richie winning the following year for “Say You, Say Me” from White Nights. And while it was these two popular artists took home the gold, they were in familiar company with popular artists like Phil Collins (“Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” from Against All Odds in 1984), Kenny Loggins (“Footloose” from Footloose in 1984), and Huey Lewis (“The Power of Love” from Back to the Future in 1985) nominated alongside them.
The 1990s saw Bruce Springsteen become an Oscar winner for “Streets of Philadelphia” from Philadelphia in 1993 and Elton John won for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” from The Lion King the following year. While hit songs from these artists continue to be placed in films, these wins seemed to open the door for these artists to continue not only creating original music for films, but also compose for them. Springsteen took up the composer baton in 2004 to create the score for the documentary Wellstone! while John ventured back into original song territory in 2011 with new songs like “Hello, Hello” and “Love Builds a Garden” created for Gnomeo and Juliet.
Last year Bret McKenzie won Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet” from The Muppets and while his post-Oscar win has found him focusing more on his acting career, McKenzie will again take up the helm as the Music Supervisor for the next muppets film, The Muppets… Again! McKenzie’s Oscar win was not a total shock seeing as he was well-known for his musical contributions to the TV series Flight of the Conchords, but The Muppets was his first time creating music for film, a mantel he is not yet stepping away from.
As for Adele, Spinner.com recently reported that the singer has already signed on to create and sing the theme song for the next James Bond film. Much like McKenzie, Adele’s win seems to have kept the door to this franchise open for her, possibly setting her up to become the voice of this generation’s Bond films (much like Shirley Bassey who sang the themes for Diamonds Are Forever, Moonraker, and Goldfinger and also performed at this year’s Academy Awards broadcast.)
Without a new album on the horizon, Adele seems poised to dive further in to the world of film music, a forum that allows creativity through a single song rather than the pressure of creating an entire album. Adele has certainly proven she has the chops to create quality (and award-winning) music and will hopefully continue do so beyond just the Bond franchise, possibly writing original music for other film genres, or even trying her hand at composing.
But no matter what these artists have done and have coming up next, their wins have allowed their talents to be recognized by a whole new audience and have given fan films memorable songs that elevated and branded the films they were created for. In the words of another Best Original Song winner, “Such wonderful things surround you, what more is you lookin’ for?”
What artist would you like to see try their hand at creating a potential Best Original Song winner? What film would you see them creating a song for?