Though each new James Bond film lands with a media frenzy of sorts, Skyfall's box-office crushing tour of the Globe has even come with Oscar buzz. As an Oscar pundit, at first I felt I needed to do my killjoy duty and remind Bond-fans that the Academy has never been eager to have a martini with Bond, no matter how he orders it. But lately I've begun to wonder if, should the hype not subside much, the world's favorite super spy might finally win a nomination or two again. Two nominations would be a major win for Team Skyfall though the current hype would have you perceive that as a disappointing haul since it suggests that multiple nods and even a Best Picture citation are just around the corner.
It's this overreaching by fans and the more excitable pundits that keeps forcing me back into Killjoy Corner. But let me repeat: a Best Picture nomination is not happening; Ten spots is not Twenty. And Bond Films aren't even close to the top of Oscar's Favorite Franchises heap anyway. Even with the fast Oscar-dream fade of The Dark Knight Rises and the artistically suspect decision to make The Hobbit into three films, history suggests that AMPAS is more likely to join Bruce Wayne or Gollum in the shadows again than James Bond.
I should explain with facts (after the jump) before they go out of style again...
In the entire history of the Bond franchise, AMPAS has only awarded the series with eight Oscar nominations for its first twenty-two installments. That's less than ½ a nomination a film. In fact, the 007 franchise is of so little interest to their collective voting body that it hasn't seen a nomination since 1981 when Sheena Easton crooned "For Your Eyes Only" to a Best Original Song nomination. 007's win are even more scarce; the franchise's second (and last) Oscar statuette was best Visual Effects for Thunderball (1965) the fourth official Bond film, an astounding forty-seven years ago! That's right, Bond may be celebrating his 50th loudly this year, but Oscar hasn't given him a birthday gift since he was a toddler.
So it's an uphill battle.
The number one reason for being bullish in predicting Skyfall is actually Casino Royale (2006) which reinvigorated the franchise, gave us our first Blond Bond and, generally speaking, won the kind of critical respect that's generally not even a goal of big blockbusters and can shift the paradigm for how awards bodies deal with subsequent movies. The number one reason for being bearish is the same: though AMPAS screenings for that first Daniel Craig outing were reportedly ecstatic the film managed a whopping ZERO when Oscar nomination morning arrived.
FUTURE NOMINATIONS FOR SKYFALL?
(in Descending Order of Likelihood from possible to exceedingly farfetched)
"Take the Shot!"
SOUND MIXING and SOUND EDITING
Greg P. Russell has been nominated for an Oscar an incredible 15 times and somehow he still hasn't won. It would be sweet to see both the Bond franchise and this sound mixer break the long Oscar drought in tandem.
The Bond series has never been up for this particular prize but they've also never had Roger Deakins lensing one. The legendary director of photography has been Oscar nominated 9 times and has influenced the look of contemporary cinema far more than most men behind the camera. In addition to his acclaimed filmography he's also proved a huge influence on the entire animation industry in his work as a visual consultant. [Previously Interviewed]
If they really loved Casino Royale and just didn't vote for it and they've been indulging in the Bond Mania with the rest of the world for months now than maybe...
Bonus Trivia: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) is the most Oscar-celebrated Bond film with 3 nominations
This is the nomination that most people consider all locked up. But Oscar's music branch has been notoriously deaf to the famous tradition of Bond title songs, no matter who is singing them. Yes, Adele is an awards magnet. Yes, it's a good song. No, that won't automatically matter. There's also the possibility that they'll disqualify it for using a bit of the Bond theme in its instrumentation.
Despite showy exotic Bond locales, tense offices, and oversized villainous lairs featuring heavily in the series Oscar has only noticed the art direction once (The Spy Who Loved Me). Still, if any Bond film is going to manage that feat again wouldn't it be this film what with that empty spooky neon building, Silva's dystopic island, the entire Macau sequence and the titular "character". It's worth noting that Oscar winning production designer Dennis Gassner would be the nominee here and his filmography would certainly warrant a second Oscar in this category. He previously won for Bugsy (1991).
No Bond films have ever been nominated in this category but if Skyfall's big deal 50th mania hits Oscar, it'll show up here before it shows up in Best Picture if you ask me. Action films that people fall in love perform fairly well in this category. If nominated it would mark Stuart Baird's third nomination after Superman (1978) and Gorillas in the Mist (1988).
People will talk but any of the following categories would require a miracle...
Casino Royale managed to make the longlist in the bakeoffs but no Bond films have been nominated in this category since Moonraker (1979). The problem for Bond is that this category's taste has shifted from practical effects (like explosions and stunts which Bond leans heavily on) to technological advances in computer generated imagery.
Though Thomas Newman is well regarded and long overdue for an Oscar after 10 nominations, one suspects that his score will be disqualified for threading in so much of Bond's original theme and the "Skyfall" song.
Judi Dench's "M" may be the narrative focal point but Bond has never been an Actor's franchise. Yes, this talented ensemble makes this film sing more than most Bond films in the acting department. But not enough for nominations.
Care to guess how many nods Skyfall will earn? Right now I'm guessing 2 but zero would not surprise me.