The 2013 Academy Awards had a theme. The ceremony paid tribute to movie music, and they definitely hit some high notes. They also could have done a lot better.
Barbra Streisand singing The Way We Were in tribute to composer Marvin Hamlisch was amazing. What the segment needed were some film and video clips playing beside Babs or behind her, demonstrating the scope of his work. Plenty of people who only vaguely know Hamlisch by name would recognize the blind skater tripping over the roses in Ice Castles, the gold-bedecked dancers of A Chorus Line. Heck, how about a powerpoint of movie posters or soundtrack album covers reminding people of how much he did?
The tribute to movie musicals of the last 10 years was a nice idea. It’s too bad that they only paid tribute to two of them. They had a few clips from Chicago and a song from the show. They had a few clips from Dreamgirls and the breakout song from that film. And… that’s it?! In less than five minutes, I recalled The Producers, Mamma Mia, Nine, and Hairspray. Wikipedia reminded me of The Phantom of the Opera, Rent, and Sweeney Todd. And does The Muppets count as a musical? It had several good original songs. They could have done live “clips” instead of whole songs. They could have mixed up the live performances with clips from different films and given some variety in the same amount of time.
The James Bond tribute did two minutes of clips cut together without any real flow. I would have liked to have seen something a little more thought out, maybe by filmmaker Chuck Workman. They could have gone chronologically, by actor who played 007. They could have done groupings – Bond girls, incredible stunts, fast driving, daring escapes. Shirley Bassey singing Goldfinger was fantastic, but what about some of the other great songs – Live and Let Die, Nobody Does It Better (by the aforementioned Marvin Hamlisch), and For Your Eyes Only, just to name a few. And even though it’s not an “official” Bond film, as in produced by Cubby Broccoli, the original Casino Royale featured the Oscar-nominated Burt Bacharach-composed song The Look of Love.
All-in-all, the producers of the 2013 Academy Awards ceremony had some nice ideas, poorly executed.