5:49pm PT by Scott Feinberg
Oscars: Burt Bacharach Enters Race With First Original Film Score and Song in Years (Exclusive)
Burt Bacharach, the legendary songwriter behind many of the most popular tunes of the past century — among them "What the World Needs Now," "Close to You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "That's What Friends Are For" and "What's New, Pussycat?" — has composed his first original film score in 16 years (since 2000's Isn't She Lovely) and film song in 17 years (since 1999's Stuart Little's "Walking Tall").
Both contributions by Bacharach, who is now 88, are in service of John Asher's Po, a low-budget drama about a father and his autistic child, as a tribute, of sorts, to his own autistic child, Nikki Bacharach, who took her own life in 2007. Bacharach became involved with Po after Asher approached him about licensing "Close to You" for the film. The Songwriters Hall of Fame member requested to see it first and then, after doing so, asked the filmmaker if he could score it and write an original song for it. Asher was, of course, delighted.
The Hollywood Reporter exclusively shares the song, which is entitled "Dancing With Your Shadow" and is performed by Sheryl Crow, below.
Based on Bacharach's formidable history at the Oscars — he's received six nominations, winning best original score for 1969's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and best original song for that film's "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" and "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)" from 1981's Arthur — it seems likely that his latest song will receive serious consideration from the Academy's music branch, regardless of the scale of the film in which it is featured.
Even as he approaches his tenth decade, Bacharach remains tremendously active. In fact, he was scheduled to perform a concert at UCLA's Royce Hall on Saturday, but recently fell and broke his arm, which has caused it to be postponed until Jan. 13.