‘Music of James Bond’ Wins Deems Taylor Award

NEW YORK, Nov. 14 — The ASCAP Foundation handed out its 45th annual Deems Taylor Awards for outstanding print and broadcast coverage of music tonight at an invitation-only event held at ASCAP’s New York offices. Among the winners was “The Music of James Bond,” written by Jon Burlingame and published by Oxford University Press. The book has been a favorite of Bond fans and film-music figures since its publication last year.

[Read more about Jon Burlingame and the Deems Taylor Awards.]

‘It Takes a Thief’ Movie Toddles Forward

Universal is moving forward on a feature version of the studio’s 1960s TV spy series “It Takes a Thief” by hiring a new screenwriter, according to an Oct. 30 story on the Web site that is all that remains of Daily Variety. Greg Russo, a relative newcomer who has sold several scripts but nothing that’s been shot and released, will pen a new screenplay, clumsily summarized by Variety as “story follows a young CIA analyst who recruits a brilliant thief, who has managed to evade the CIA to work for him.” Fans of the glossily produced and cleverly written series will recall that master thief Alexander Mundy, played by Robert Wagner, was sprung from prison by a middle-aged spy boss named Noah Bain, played by Malachi Throne, to work for a U.S. Intelligence agency that the show referred to as the SIA.

As usual, the project has earlier, rejected screenplays, the last by Joe Gazzam (who wrote the movie version of “21 Jump Street”). Universal was developing a feature version of “Thief” as far back as 1995, when Michael Douglas was bruited to play Mundy. Interestingly, the producer on the current version is John Davis, who just last month shepherded the movie version of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” before the cameras after 20 years in development.

New Owners Kill ‘Daily Variety’

Last Hollywood Trade Paper Will Fold in March

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26 — Daily Variety, the storied entertainment industry newspaper published in Hollywood for 80 years, will fold in three weeks it was announced today by Penske Media Corporation, the Web-oriented media company that bought the ailing trade paper last year.

Those who thought that Daily Variety could capitalize on the 2010 death of longtime daily competitor The Hollywood Reporter were flummoxed to learn that Penske is taking Variety down the same path The Reporter took — killing the daily, reporting industry news only on-line, and converting the weekly into a glossy magazine. The Reporter turned its traditionally larger Tuesday edition into a slick trends-and-analysis publication. The weekly version of Variety, published in New York since 1905, will also become an oversized glossy and will also be published on Tuesdays.

The last issue of Daily Variety will be published March 18, a Monday. The new weekly launches Tuesday, March 26, Penske announced.

Variety was put up for sale in March 2012 by Reed Business Inc., a British publishing conglomerate that bought up publications around the world in the 1990s, going for that vaunted “synergy” that proved to be nearly fatal when the 21st century slowdown in print advertising was accelerated by the worldwide economic crash. Reed has been unloading magazines left and right in the last several years. The company acquired Variety when the heirs of founding publisher Sime Silverman sold the paper to a Reed subsidiary in the 1980s.

Penske bought Variety last October for a reported $25 million. The Santa Monica-based company owns the popular Deadline.com Web site, which no doubt will play an increasing role in Variety’s on-line operations. Penske also announced that the paywall on Variety’s Web site will come down in a bid to increase readership. The Los Angeles Times reported that Deadline had 2.4 million unique visitors in August 2012, while Variety’s site drew only 320,000.

The Times also reported that Variety had earned a profit of $33 million as recently as 2006, but was expected to net only $6 million in 2012.

Oscar’s Bond Fest a Big Bust

HOLLYWOOD, Feb. 24 — A ballyhooed salute to 50 years of James Bond films at tonight’s Academy Awards presentation brought a dim and disappointing end to the worldwide celebration of Bond’s 50th anniversary in pictures.

Although Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron repeatedly warned that they were not rounding up every actor who ever portrayed Bond, as persistent rumors had it, they assured fans and the press that something just as spectacular was planned. And the result of all this planning, this brilliant concept, this topper to 007’s golden anniversary beamed to a billion and more viewers around the world was:

Showing clips from the films while the orchestra played a medley of Bond themes.

“That’s it?” the billion viewers wondered as the audience in the Dolby Theatre applauded politely. Well, not quite. At least Zadan and Meron had the sense to bring in the Bond diva of Bond divas, Shirley Bassey, to perform the Bond song of Bond songs, “Goldfinger.” But not even Dame Shirley could singlehandedly create the extravaganza we were led to expect (although she did bring the theater audience to its feet).

Barbra Streisand, left, Adele, center, and Shirley Bassey performed at the Oscar show, and Adele took home the first Oscar awarded to a Bond song.

The night’s other notable event was “Skyfall’s” win for best song. The 2012 Bond film’s title tune, written and performed by British songstress Adele, is the first Bond music ever to win an Oscar. Three previous songs — “Live and Let Die,” “Nobody Does It Better” from “The Spy Who Loved Me,” and “For Your Eyes Only” — were nominated, as was Marvin Hamlisch’s score for “The Spy Who Loved Me.” Singer-songwriter Adele, who’s had a meteoric rise in the last several years, sang “Skyfall” as part of the regular performance of nominated songs, and accepted the Oscar with her producer and co-writer Paul Epworth.

Needless to say, the Bond songs and scores of recent years are no match for John Barry’s groundbreaking work in the earlier films, work that was consistently ignored by the members of the motion picture academy. The last time Bond actually won an Oscar was way back in 1966 for the visual effects in “Thunderball.”

Academy Awards Show Will Salute James Bond Films

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Jan. 4 — This year’s Academy Awards presentation will include a tribute to the James Bond movie series that continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Oscar show producers announced today.

“We are very happy to include a special sequence on our show saluting the Bond films on their 50th birthday,” said producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. However, there was no information released about what form the Bond tribute will take or who will be involved.

Bond anniversary celebrations began last fall, 50 years after “Dr. No” opened in London on Oct. 5, 1962. The picture opened in the United States in May 1963.

The 85th Academy Awards will be presented Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and will be televised live, as usual, on ABC beginning at 5 p.m. Hollywood time, 8 p.m. ET, on most of these same stations.


The biggest Bond event at the Oscars was the 1982 presentation of the Irving G. Thalberg Award to founding Bond producer Cubby Broccoli.