The Oscars just got a lot more lung power. Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron have announced that legendary Goldfinger vocalist Dame Shirley Bassey will appear at the Academy Awards ceremony Feb. 24, as a part of a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise that was first announced back in January. Adele had already been confirmed to sing the nominated title-song for Skyfall as part of the tribute, along with a montage honoring the series, and a rumored, though far from likely, on-stage reunion of some or all of the actors who’ve previously donned the tux as 007.
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“We are thrilled to welcome the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey to our Oscar show,” said Zadan and Meron. “Her association with film music is world renowned and we are proud that she will be making her first Oscar appearance on our telecast.”
It's not clear if Bassey will be singing or just presenting, but if she does sing, she joins an impressive roster of vocal talent at the 85-annual event, including Barbra Streisand, Norah Jones, and, of course, Adele. Other than Monty Norman, who created the strummy electric guitar riff that became the James Bond theme song, or John Barry, who composed most of the movie scores in the series, arguably no one has had a bigger impact on the sound of the 007 franchise than Shirley Bassey.
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Her renditions of "Goldfinger" — sorry, "Goooold-FINGAH!" — "Diamonds Are Forever," and "Moonraker," are the bullion standard of Bond movie theme songs. Her vocals, crisply enunciated and brassily powerhouse, are as much a part of Bond as vodka martinis and Aston Martins. It's hard to listen to Adele's recent recording of "Skyfall" and not hear a little bit of a Bassey imitation at work.
And the 76-year-old Welsh singer's still got it. Check out her performance of "Diamonds Are Forever" at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert this past June:
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[Photo Credit: WENN]
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Amélie swept the 14th European Film Awards in Berlin on Saturday, Reuters reports. The French romantic comedy won the best film category and also won the prize for best cinematographer, while Jean-Pierre Jeunet took home the best director award and was voted best director in the people's choice award. The film is an inventive comedy about a young Paris waitress who discreetly orchestrates the lives of the people around her, creating a world exclusively of her own making. Isabelle Huppert won best actress for her role as a piano teacher in The Piano Teacher and Ben Kingsley was given the best actor award for his role in the British gangster movie Sexy Beast. The European Film Awards are aimed at boosting the profile of European cinema.
Also at Saturday's European Film Awards, the Monty Python team was honored with a special lifetime achievement award. Terry Gilliam accepted the honor along with Terry Jones, who directed the 1979 comedy Life of Brian, the BBC reports. Former Beatle George Harrison financed the controversial film when no one else would.
Tom Cruise dropped a $100 million defamation lawsuit on Saturday against Bold magazine after the publisher stated he did not have a videotape of the actor having sex with another man, The Associated Press reports. Michael Davis was accused of sending out news releases to at least a dozen U.S. media organizations alleging that Cruise engaged in a homosexual relationship while he was married to Nicole Kidman.
Former Baywatch star Yasmine Bleeth pleaded guilty on Friday to two cocaine-related charges in Detroit. According to PageSix.com, Bleeth pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while impaired and to a cocaine possession charge, avoiding a possible four-year prison term. Bleeth and her boyfriend Paul Cerrito were traveling through Romulus, Michigan on Sept. 12 when her car swerved into a traffic median. Police found about four grams of cocaine in her purse, car and hotel room.
Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen has reportedly dumped her fiancé Leonardo DiCaprio, Sky News reports. Bundchen apparently gave her diamond ring back after she arranged to work in Los Angeles in order to spend time with the Titanic star--only to find out he had gone off to Las Vegas with friends to watch the Lennox Lewis fight.
At his sold-out concert in Manchester, N.H., on Friday, Elton John announced that his latest album, Songs From the West Coast, would be his last. John told the audience that that he hated the record industry and that after 40 albums, it was time for him to get out, Reuters reports.
J.R.R. Tolkien's heirs are split over the filming The Lord of the Rings classic saga, Reuters reports. British papers reported on Sunday that Christopher Tolkien, the author's eldest son and literary executor of the Tolkien estate, is refusing to speak to his own son Simon because of a dispute over the film. While Simon suggested the film was a good idea, Christopher reportedly declined to help the filmmakers. J.R.R. Tolkien sold the film rights to The Lord of the Rings for 10,000 pounds in 1968, five years before his death.
Britney Spears has signed on to appear in the upcoming Austin Powers film, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Variety reports. Spears will play herself in the film, which is tentatively set for a July 2002 release date.
Danny DeVito has replaced Gregg Mottola as director of the comedy Duplex starring Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore. Miramax described Mottola's departure from the project earlier this month as "a mutual and amicable decision," Variety reports. The film, about a New York couple who murders an old women to move into her coveted apartment, goes into production in January.
Rob Schneider will star in the DreamWorks comedy Harv the Barbarian. According to Variety, the comedy is described as a sardonic, Monty Python-esque tale of a barbarian on a voyage to self-discovery. Shooting on the film is set to begin next June.
Penelope Cruz is the latest actress to be immortalized in wax at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London. The waxwork of the actress, wearing a sparkling, floor-length, blue dress with a plunging neckline, was created due to an overwhelming demand, Sky News reports.
Rosie O'Donnell will host a Dec. 30 fundraiser for democratic gubernatorial candidate Janet Reno in Florida, AP reports. The location of the event is not yet known. O'Donnell owns a home on Miami Beach's Star Island but said that house is in use and could not be used as a venue.
Clint Eastwood has been appointed to California's State Park and Recreation Commission, AP reports. Eastwood, who has long been an activist for environmental issues, also owns a golf course and served as mayor of Carmel from 1986 to 1988.
The rumor swirling around London right now is that Nicole Kidman will be getting naked and steamy in the new video of her duet with singer Robbie Williams called "Somethin' Stupid."
London tabloid newspapers were trying Tuesday to get details about the top-secret video, which was filmed behind closed doors at a west London studio. However, execs at EMI, which is releasing the video and single next month, are keeping their mouths shut.
"I can confirm that they finished filming the video at the end of last week," a spokesman for Williams told Reuters on Tuesday. "We are not revealing any details."
Some of the tabloids have already released their own stories.
The Daily Star reported, "The Hollywood beauty is left wearing just a diamond necklace--and clutching a diamond purse--in the steamy promo." While The Mirror gave a much more sedate report, stating, "Nicole wore a mauve lace Collette Dinnigan evening dress with green sequins, flown in from Australia especially for the shoot ... topped off with a 5.5 million pound necklace."
Kidman dripping with diamonds isn't hard to imagine. She has already proven she is not shy about baring it all, having appeared in the nude in the London stage production of The Blue Room directed by Sam Mendes a few years ago.
Regardless of whether the rumors are true or not, everyone will have to wait until November when the video is released to get the "full monty."