A new vlog from the set of the new Bond picture Skyfall has emerged (included below). The chief discovery: Dennis Gassner wears berets. Gassner, who hails from Canada not France, is someone whose work I've long admired. I first learned his name when he pulled off the semi-rare trick of a double Oscar nomination in one category competing with himself for Best Art Direction with Bugsy (1991) and Barton Fink (1991), two absurdly handsome films. Bugsy won but it's oh so satisfying that both nominations were deserved.
The narrative of this, it's going to be groundbreaking. It's going to be a new chapter. So it's really about finding things that are different and exciting for the audience to look at."
-Gassner on designing Skyfall
Other credits include The Golden Compass, Road to Perdition, The Man Who Wasn't There, Big Fish. In short he's up there with the best of 'em like Rick Heinrichs, David Wasco, and Dante Ferretti.
But obviously James Bond movies don't court Oscar favor. The entire franchise only has 9 nominations and 2 wins if you can believe it. There's been zero Oscar attention for 30 years! For Your Eyes Only's (1981) song nomination was the last for the franchise. Not even the major critical / audience revival that was Casino Royale (2006) won any attention from the Academy so the conversation ends there even with Gassner designing its look.
Useless Trivia of the Day: only one James Bond movie was ever nominated in the Art Direction category and that was The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) which is Oscar's favorite James Bond film (3 nominations).
Have you ever worn a beret?