Oscars 2013: Sky’s the Limit – Why the Academy Awards refuse to go near 007

Despite Skyfall being the highest grossing and most critically lauded Bond film of all time, Mendes’s latest was a notable omission from this year’s Oscars nominations. explains why

skyfallCurrently circulating Hollywood is a rumour that, to celebrate 50 years since the release of Dr. No, this year’s Oscars ceremony will reunite the six actors to have played James Bond on screen, from Connery through to Craig. While this is an admittedly exciting prospect, I can’t help wishing that some of the Academy’s evident enthusiasm had been manifested in the awards themselves.

In fairness, it has earned a smattering of technical nominations, including Best Cinematography (deserved), Best Song (deserved) and Best Original Sound Editing (your guess is as good as mine). What stings is the film’s absence in the bigger categories. While Daniel Craig’s portrayal of 007 might be prone to the criticism that essentially “he just runs around and hits people”, the supporting turns could at least have gained a mention. BAFTA nominated Dame Judi Dench and Javier Bardem, the latter proving to be particularly appropriate given how much well-documented work Bardem did to make his villainous Silva interesting and unique. So why no Oscar love? I mean come on, Whoopi Goldberg won an Oscar for playing the all-singing, all-shouting (mainly shouting) medium in Ghost. Consider that for a moment. Whoopi Goldberg is better in Ghost than Javier Bardem and Dame Judi Dench are in Skyfall. Really?

mendesEven more difficult to fathom is the snubbing of the Logan/Purvis/Wade script, and Sam Mendes’ direction. To take a franchise that can so easily fall into lazy, bland parody (stand up Die Another Day) and make it feel fresh, exciting and unpredictable whilst still being faithful to the character’s origins is undoubtedly an achievement to be praised. With regards to direction, Mendes’ work here is as impressive, if not more, than his other, more award-friendly pieces. That is not to say Skyfall is a better movie than American Beauty (which won for Best Director), rather, that Meendes’ handling of the material here is just as skilful. It’s right that Roger Deakins’ cinematography should be recognised, but when so much of the vision can be attributed to Mendes, I struggle to understand the logic in rewarding one but not the other.

The Academy’s treatment of Skyfall is indicative of a tendency that just won’t go away. Sadly, it seems that the voters – primarily white, male and in their sixties – just don’t want to see genre films all that much. Even with the introduction of the ten-nomination system for Best Picture, the Oscars, for no logical reason, continue leaning toward dramas, real-life triumphs over adversity and the complete works of Sandra Bullock. And no matter how many times they throw in a token gesture towards more popular films – as with Inception and Avatar – you can be sure that, come awards day, anything with a disability, historical figure or holocaust will still win the day. The Golden Globes take a lot of flak, but at least they have the sense to admit that drama and genre films can’t be judged in the same category, and so split them accordingly.Awards

The Oscars, though, seem content to keep pretending that, on the whole, dramas are simply better than all other film genres. While such a fundamental imbalance exists, it is pointless to even hope that films like Skyfall, which excel within (and beyond) their generic realm, will receive appropriate recognition. The only way I can envisage Bond taking home gold any time soon is if Daniel Craig storms the ceremony, punches Hugh Jackman to the ground mid-speech and steals the trophy, Walther PPK in hand.


  1. 10 Feb ’13 at 9:41 pm

    David Knowles

    Well at least Daniel Craig storming for the Oscars would make them watchable. instead of the normal dull speechs and congratulations we normally get. An if you cant win it fairly, steal it or cheat.

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  2. I’m sorry, does the end of the article imply that Hugh Jackman will beat Daniel Day Lewis this upcoming Oscar ceremony? Are you completely ignorant? I loved this article up until that implication.

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  3. With Ben Woodman, Daniel Day-Lewis has now won both the Golden Globe and the BAFTA for best actor, ergo he will definitely win the Oscar. If you look you’ll see very little variation between the 3 main award ceremonies in who the accolades go to. It’s dull and predictable, I got pretty much every award prediction spot on for last night’s BAFTAs.

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  4. I think Skyfall isn’t getting any major Oscars because, basically, it’s not a particularly great film. The plot, such as it is, doesn’t make any sense at all – which is normal for a Bond – but the bit with the old Aston Martin – I mean, what? How old is Daniel Craig’s character supposed to be? And no, the “James Bond is just a codename” excuse doesn’t work because we now know that his dad’s name is Bond. I mean, it was just daft.

    Yeah, Javier Bardem was good and basically gave the film a centre, but the rest of it was just the usual stuff. Also, does it occur to anyone that it is actually pretty stereotypical for the evil dysfunctional Bond villain to be a gay man (with a mother fixation, in this case). I mean, Hugo Drax, anyone? Blofeld? Did either of them ever register on the gaydar a little bit?

    Bond is (almost) always enjoyable but it’s not brilliant cinema. When they make an Oscar for “Oldest Film Franchise”, it’ll win.

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  5. For me, Skyfall was let down by the fact that Bond could have stopped the villain’s master plan at any moment, e.g. rather than airlifting him from his island hideaway in China all the way back to an MI6 holding cell which has convenient access to the London Underground, why not just shoot him then and there? The baddie always dies in the end anyway – why not just dispatch him sooner rather than let him get on with his (wonderfully contingent) scheme?

    Also never explained were just what happened to the list of spies, why it was out in the open in the first place, why genius computer scientist Q thought it was a good idea to plug a virus riddled laptop into the MI6 mainframe, etc, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the film, but let’s not pretend this is great storytelling.

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  6. I actually enjoyed the inclusion of Sean Connery’s DB5. It was almost like the characters had broken the fourth wall and were tacitly acknowledging they were in a James Bond film.

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