What are the Oscar Chances for 'Skyfall'?

Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Daniel Craig in Skyfall
Photo: Columbia Pictures / MGM

In recent years films such as The Dark Knight and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 seem to have generated the hopeful buzz from movie fans when it comes to the Oscars and both films ended without Best Picture nominations, which is always the one Oscar nom those fans want to see. You won't find many of them sitting around sulking because the final Potter film didn't get a Best Pic nom only to have one happy-go-lucky person jump in with, "But come on, those Best Art Direction, Makeup and Visual Effects noms made up for it!"

Nope, that's not how it works and while films like Inception and Avatar have been nominated for Best Picture, I would hardly call them longshots. So the question this year is... what about Skyfall? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but I don't think it has a chance... at least not for Best Picture.

As of now the conversation surrounding the film is really dedicated to three categories, Best Sound Design, Sound Mixing and the obvious, Best Cinematography, the latter of which is where you're going to find most Oscar pundits focusing as Roger Deakins has been nominated nine times and lost nine times and his work is loved by virtually any cinephile that sees his films and Skyfall is no different. Even if you come across a Skyfall naysayer the first thing you're going to hear is, "But it was exceptionally photographed."

Deakins' nominations began with 1994's The Shawshank Redemption and also include Fargo, Kundun, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Man Who Wasn't There, No Country for Old Men, The Reader and True Grit.

I don't think it's going too far out on a limb to say Deakins will be nominated for Skyfall (just look at that shot above), but are we prepared to say he's the front-runner?

At this moment, I'm not.

I've just published my first batch of Best Cinematography predictions with Claudio Miranda's work on Ang Lee's Life of Pi at #1. Life of Pi is the first non-IMAX 3-D film I have ever seen that I believe I can honestly say benefit from the use of 3-D. The movie is spectacular from a visual standpoint. It stands out among the rest of the contenders in ways they can't really compete.

I do, however, have Deakins at #2, a decision I wrestled with when considering Mihai Malaimare Jr.'s work on Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, another visually stunning film and one I'd argue uses the camera in a more narrative way than we see in Skyfall.

The category will also find competition in Anna Karenina photographed by Seamus McGarvey. Anna hits limited theaters this weekend and the conversation surrounding that one should find a little traction in the coming days. I'm also looking forward to seeing what Greig Fraser brings to the table with Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty, which looks as if it will feature a myriad of different looks.

You can check out that full list of predictions here as I'm kicking off the category with a list of 14 contenders.

As for the Sound departments, four-time Oscar winner Scott Millan (Sound Re-recording Mixer) and 15-time nominee Greg Russell (Sound Re-recording Mixer) are likely in for more with Skyfall and they discuss their work in the film in the following SoundWorks Collection video, which, unfortunately isn't as good as most of the videos that team puts together, but it's all I have at this point.

Some may try and say Judi Dench or maybe Javier Bardem have a chance, I don't think so. I also don't think director Sam Mendes will find his name called on January 10. Perhaps the tides will shift and I'm wrong on one or all of those predictions, but right now I see three in Skyfall's future... what do you think?

  • Jack

    No chance. Honestly, I think Deakins could miss out. Cinematography is outstanding this year. Sound and song are probably the best bets, and if the Academy is feeling lucky Skyfall, due to Bond's birthday, may sneak in Best Picture at like the 9th or 10th spot. Many will say Bardem already won an Oscar for playing a baddie, so he just may get a Globe nod.

    If it was up to me, I would unclude it in my year's best, above the other action films like Avengers, Dark Knight. I really dug it alot.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Andrew13/ Andrew13

    Those are three I've got Skyfall penciled in for. I also have it in for Best Song, though I'm not sure if the Academy's made a decision on its eligibility yet. I think it's got an outside shot at Editing, similar to The Bourne Ultimatum five years ago, and do you think it's got any shot at Production Design?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andremarx/ AndrĂ© Marques

    Actually i put my chances in Best Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem and perhaps a nod for Adele and Paul Eworth for Best Original Song "Skyfall", but we may be presented with a Golden Globe nod

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      I'm worried the song won't be eligible due to the use of the Bond theme. If it's eligible, I agree, it could find a way in there.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

        Would you say that if it does end up eligible, it wins?

  • Winchester

    For me Deakins should have won for Jesse James years back but I could see him score a nod here as well. I think he may well be the Academy's bridesmaid however.

    I don't see anything in the major areas and I don't think I would support some of them anyway. With the expanded field a Best Picture nod is in theory there (since I don't think TDKR will get the populist 'there for the ratings' nod) but I think pre expansion the last well made but ultimately just a blockbuster film to get a Best Picture nod might have been The Fugitive back in 1993 - but that got a slew of other noms including the eventual win for Tommy Lee Jones as well.

    So, very slimly it could happen. But I expect not.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Andrew13/ Andrew13

      Deakins probably would have won any other year, but 2007 he was going up against Robert Elswit for There Will Be Blood, which is one of the best shot films I have ever seen.

      I think the problem for Skyfall will be that 5% first place vote requirement. I think Skyfall will certainly make a lot of people's ballots, but I'm not sure a significant enough number will put it at number one.

      • Winchester

        According to an article on Deadline a screening of 'Skyfall' for the Academy supposedly went very well. It might get enough interest if it stays in the picture. As did one for Lincoln as well, mind.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Andrew13/ Andrew13

          Very interesting, hadn't heard of that. I guess it's possible, just unlikely. Right now I've got it ranked number 15 on my list.

          • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

            It's not much to go on really. Supposedly the strongest and loudest academy screening ever was Casino Royale. No Oscar nominations. Then again, District 9 had a similar reaction from them and that got in. It's a weird thing this prognosticating shit.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

    Deakins is a genius and he is the only cinematographer who deserves to win an Oscar this year. He doesn't have a chance, though. He'll be lucky to get a nomination.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

      Loving that screenshot btw. That sequence is one of the best I've seen in years.

    • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

      I'm not one to vest much interest in the award scene to begin with, and I know you're a die hard fan of this film, but to say Deakins is the only cinematographer who deserves to win the Oscar this year is... Where do I begin... Foolish... arrogant... ridiculous...

      The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Prometheus, TDKR... These all come to mind as films that were technically sound from a visual stand point, unique and beautiful in their own differing ways. In your eyes they may not be on the same level as Skyfall (which I personally thought had some brilliant moments of composition but the colour palette for the most part - with the exception of the one-shot skyscraper fight - was rather uninspired), but to say that none of the aforementioned cinematographers deserve it...? I don't think Deakins will end up in the top 5 this year but even I wouldn't say he doesn't deserve it if he wound up there. These guys all bust their asses to make things that stimulate us and draw us in to a cinematic world.

      Not to mention that the year isn't even over so there are films you haven't even seen... Zero Dark Thirty and The Hobbit come to mind... So... Whatever. End rant.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/AS/ AS

        Wow Yaz, take it down a notch. Didn't mean to offend your sensibilities. I was expressing MY opinion, not yours. When I make a statement, I speak for myself and no one else. If you disagree with my opinion, that's fine, but don't launch into a rant referring to my opinion as "foolish," "arrogant" and "ridiculous." Feel free to disagree, but please don't act like your opinion carries any more weight than mine.

        Oh, and I gave Skyfall a 4 / 5.... that's hardly "diehard."

        • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

          Yeah fair enough, apologies.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

      He's kind of like Emmanuel Lubezki last year with Tree of Life. Everybody knows that this is gorgeous and some of the best they've seen all year but in the end, he's always going to stay in that #2 position.

      • Chris138

        I think the problem Lubezki also had was that a lot of Academy members likely either didn't watch it or get through the whole thing.

  • John Doe Snow

    I think Skyfall will show up. I do think both Bardem and Dench should be at least considered in supporting categories. Especially Judi Dench I think has a decent shot.
    I liked Skyfall a lot, I think it is a really good and well done movie. Academy members are old enough to get that it's the best Bond movie they have ever seen and I think they will not only like it but respect it as a work of art made by an Academy award winner. I think Skyfall could surprise getting in for a BP nom at the end. At least it has a better chance than Dark Knight, The Hobbit and so on...

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/G-Man/ G-Man

    I haven't seen "Life of Pi" yet, but have seen a few shots from the trailers and it looks impeccable. Skyfall looks marvelous, too. It may be his "turn" to win, though - something people may argue if he does beat out Claudio Miranda.

    I am rooting for Javier Bardem to be nominated. He stole the show every time he was on screen for me.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Aleonardis/ Aleonardis

      Dude...Life of Pi blows everything out of the water. I LOVE Skyfall's cinematography but what Miranda did on Life of Pi is out of this world. I think he's the front runner to win seeing as it's definitely going to get that Best Picture slot.

  • http://www.rabidpictures.com Yaz

    It's best chances rest with technical stuff... Sound Recording/Mixing and potentially Cinematography - though I think by the time this year is up with all the period pieces and some of the more established art house fare from earlier this year, it will be edged out in that category... Though I wouldn't be disappointed to see it there.

    I really don't think it has much of a chance with performances. Bardem is the only horse in the race and again, I don't think he stood out enough to compete with the competition this year. People can bring up Heath Ledger and how he won all they want, but Bardem isn't Ledger and his performance was not nearly as powerful. Chalk that up to the make up, character, screentime or whatever you want, but as whats-his-name would say, them be the facts.

  • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

    Just wanted to point this mistake out Brad: "...as Roger Deakins has been nominated nine times and lost ten times and..."

    In other news, great article. I see noms for Cinematography and both Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. If the theme song is eligible, I see a nomination there. Other than that, I'm not so sure. Maybe it could pull off an acting nom (Dench, not Bardem), but that's a longshot.

    For now, I see up to four noms, but probably no more.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/ Brad Brevet

      Oops, thanks... had two thoughts in my head when I wrote that.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Dranderz/ Dranderz

    A nomination for Art Direction (now thankfully being renamed Production Design) is extremely well deserved. I found the sets, scenic design and color palates to easily be on par with, say, a Christopher Nolan film. Maybe it's just me, but I was very impressed.

    • http://hypethemovies.wordpress.com Jordan B.

      I agree that the production design on Skyfall is worthy of a nomination, and it's an award I considered mentioning in my initial comment, but I'm not sure if there is room. The Dark Knight Rises could very well see a nom (TDK was nominated in 2008), The Hobbit will likely get one (each of the LOTR films was nominated), and Les Miserables should see a nomination as well. That leaves two spots for films like Prometheus, Skyfall, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Moonrise Kingdom, Anna Karenina, and Django Unchained -- and I'm sure there are a couple others to consider that I haven't mentioned. It'll be interesting to see what happens, and I think Skyfall is deserving, but it's too tough to predict.

  • Arturo

    Agree, I don't think it will win anything, but those three plus best song will pick up nominations (Unless song is DQd). I think it has a shot but a long one at best pic, however I think the BAFTAs will respect it and nominate it for Best British Film

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Avatar/ Avatar

    There are many movies "on the line" to get that final Best Picture spot, such as Moonrise Kingdom, The Dark Knight Rises, Hitchcock, Flight, Amour, and even Anna Karenina, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Zero Dark Thirty. I just don't think there's enough room for Skyfall.

  • Scott

    Cinematography is a funny thing, in that the average moviegoer doesn't really comment on it or even notice it consciously (no normal -- for lack of a better word -- person left Skyfall saying things like "the cinematography was beautiful", that's just people who frequent sites like this), but cinematography is the main thing that immediately clues you in to the potential quality of the movie.

    Flipping channels, it doesn't take more than two seconds to tell if a scene is from a TV show, a big studio movie, or some SyFy excuse for a movie, and it's just an immediate recognition of the quality of the camera work and lighting.

  • http://www.seensome.com SeenSome

    It doesn't have a hope in hell at a Best Pic nod, it's a reasonably strong year and there are many better and more important films that will keep it out. I think in a weaker year, Javier Bardem would sneak a nod but the Supporting Actor category is stacked with big names and big performances this year, there's no way he makes it in. Dench is their best bet at a 'big' nomination and even then her chances are very slim.

    It will certainly get a host of technical noms and cinematography is its best bet at a win but I don't see that happening either.

  • Topy

    Deakins should get a nomination. The November release is an advantage as well. As for other categories, they might stand a chance for the technical categories.

  • Colin

    Apparently it played like amazingly well for the academy this weekend http://www.deadline.com/2012/11/james-bond-academy-best-picture/

  • Raul

    What about Thomas Newman's Score?Does it get any chanses?

  • MajorFilmFan

    Maybe Javier Bardem as Best Supporting Actor, 'Skyfall' by Adele as Best Original Song, Deakins should be nomianted for Best Cinemetography, and possibly John Logan for Best Original Screenplay, even if it IS based off a literary character

  • LB

    Have to agree not a chance, not even sure about Deakins, the film looked gorgeous in the way a perfume ad looks gorgeous, but ultimately it's as bland as a perfume ad as well. It looked expensive which it was so hardly a sign of commendable craft. I'm actually pissed I payed to see Skyfall, I feel I'd been conned into believing this was some kind of superior action flick when it's actually just another high priced action flick. To add to the yadda about TV versus Cinema, something like Homeland is both an action, espionage drama AND complex, not to mention damn challenging, while movie's like Skyfall and TDKR pretend to flirt with current themes of global instability but can't actually deliver anything as insane or morally complex as current world events, cause forget Homeland, movies are competing with the latest TV news reports.