Hear 5 Oscar nominees for Best Original Song

Adele sings the theme song of the James Bond film "Skyfall."
Sony Pictures

NEW YORK - Five songs of very different styles and narrative intent were nominated this week for the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Performed on-screen by Adele, Norah Jones, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson and Bombay Jayashri, the five songs can be heard by clicking on the embedded video players below. Be sure to vote in our poll on which you think should win!

"Before My Time" (from "Chasing Ice")

Written and produced by J. Ralph, "Before My Time" was played under the credits of the documentary "Chasing Ice," which documents the melting of glaciers and the Earth's changing climate.

Performed by Scarlett Johansson, accompanied by violinist Joshua Bell (who played on the Oscar-winning soundtrack of "The Red Violin"), the song is haunting in its simplicity - and smartly is not specific to climate change, but rather to the limitations of time.

Cold feet, don't fail me now
So much left to do
If I should run ten thousand miles home
Would you be there?

Just a taste of things to come
I still smile

But I don't want to die alone
I don't want to die alone
Way before my time

Keep calm and carry on
No worse for the wear

I don't want to die alone
I don't want to die alone
Way before my time

Is it any wonder
All this empty air
I'm drowning in the laughter
Way before my time has come


Bond theme songs are as inseparable from the film franchise's brand as Bond Girls, gadgets, and villains who think they can get the better of 007. But Bond theme songs have never gotten the better of Oscar voters - only three Bond themes ("Live and Let Die," by Paul McCartney & Wings; Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager's "Nobody Does It Better," from "The Spy Who Loved Me"; and Bill Conti & Mick Leeson's "For Your Eyes Only"), and Burt Bacharach/Hal David's "The Look of Love," from the 1967 Bond parody "Casino Royale," have been nominated for an Academy Award, and none has won. (Even Shirley Bassey's "Goldfinger" was totally ignored, go figure.)

If there is an artist today who can match Bassey's bravura performance it is Grammy-winner Adele, who composed the theme from "Skyfall" with Paul Epworth. There was some concern that the song, arranged by J. A. C. Redford, couches its sound too heavily in chords borrowed from the classic Monty Norman/John Barry Bond theme and be ruled ineligible, but cooler heads prevailed over this very cool tune.

Daniel Kleinman, who designed "Skyfall"'s mesmerizing opening credit sequence, has released this video, sans titles, of the piece. (Dive in by clicking the player above.)

Following the announcement of Oscar nominations Thursday Adele tweeted:

To hear more nominees, and to take our poll, turn to page 2.

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at and