Awards Profile: Spectre


Welcome to the 2015 Awards Profiles series.  For the next two months, every day (except for Saturday), we will bring you a run down of a future 2015 film that we see as a potential awards vehicle for next year’s Academy Awards.  This is all speculative since with just about all these films, we haven’t seen a frame yet.  Nonetheless, we venture on.  If you miss a film, then click on the tag “2015 Awards Profile.”

Directed By: Sam Mendes
Written By: Neal Purvis, John Logan and Robert Wade
Cast: Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Christoph Waltz, Ben Wishaw, Naomie Harris, Lea Seydoux, Monica Belluci and Dave Bautista

Synopsis (From IMDB): “A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organization. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layer of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.”

Why It Might Succeed:

The twenty-fourth installment of the 53-year-old James Bond franchise has a lot riding on it. Grossing over a billion dollars worldwide, nabbing five Oscar nominations and winning two, and making history as the only 007 film to ever be nominated for the PGA award for Best Picture, Skyfall surpassed all expectations and raised a near-impossible bar to surmount for all future sequels. Simply put, Sam Mendes raised the stakes for Bond and his tight-knit espionage team to such an overwhelming degree that he paved the way for a whole new Bond feel, one that was grim and serious yet still tonally familiar to diehard fans. In many ways, The Dark Knight comparisons weren’t too far off the mark, with Mendes drawing inspiration from Nolan’s trademark gift of taking huge narrative risks for maximum emotional impact. By the time Skyfall had ended, a piece of our heart was noticeably gone, and we knew full well this once breezy action franchise would never be the same again.

This now brings us to Spectre, the resulting fallout from the catastrophic events of Skyfall. Bond is a crippled agent, a broken man…again. Loss to him is becoming second nature, but now with a complete upheaval of the secret service from the ground up. His career slate has been wiped afresh and he must start anew in preparation for a dangerous new enemy on the dark horizon. These storytelling prospects are rather exciting, especially considering the fact that S.P.E.C.T.R.E. is the criminal syndicate all Bond aficionados can attest to being the ultimate threat to everyone’s favorite secret agent. Based on the trailer, the title certainly has a double meaning, one of which is obvious while the other might hint at something more personal. Part of Skyfall’s appeal was that it wasn’t a standalone, disposable Bond movie — it held actual significance to the character that in turn had us intrigued about what more of 007’s past could be unearthed. Combined with the presence of a fan-favorite nemesis of Bond lore, Spectre promises to dive deeper into Bond’s multilayered secrets. And with gloriously executed action sequences – not to mention the typical 007 stamps of sensual enticement and exotic locales – there’s no doubt in my mind that Spectre will commercially skyrocket.

Will 'Spectre' bring the Austrian actor his third Oscar?
Will ‘Spectre’ bring the Austrian-German actor his third Oscar?

Why It Might Fail:

At some point, even the critics get tired of the somber antihero who barely has time to crack a smile. There’s always the fear that the Bond franchise might be headed in a direction that removes itself from the fun, escapist equation responsible for its initial attraction. There’s also a wee matter known as Christoph Waltz that might derail the overall enjoyment of the film. Let’s be blunt: this casting is both incredibly on the nose and boringly predictable. Given how familiar moviegoers are with Waltz’s mannerisms and acting style, there’s probably not going to be much in terms of the surprise or nuance Waltz will bring to the table. Honestly, after Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen and Javier Bardem completely redefined what it meant to be a Bond antagonist, casting someone whose villainous persona is alarmingly one-dimensional will only stifle the film’s suspense, not enhance it. I do hope I am wrong with my forecast, but let’s not forget we know full well what to expect when it comes to Christoph Waltz, and he never fails to deliver…the expected.

Awards Speculation:

But who better to be the first actor from a Bond film to be nominated for an Oscar than two-time Oscar winner himself, Christoph Waltz? The cruel irony isn’t lost on me, ladies and gentlemen. I think this year is too stacked for Spectre to crack a Best Picture lineup, especially since Disney will be shoving Star Wars: The Force Awakens down the throats of AMPAS in an effort to nab the blockbuster vote. VFX is always in play since the Academy does enjoy practical effects from time to time (see: The Lone Ranger). Cinematography, score, song and sound are also pretty safe bets at this point in time. Again, the passion for this film being rewarded will have to start from the critics’ end and then extend to the guilds, culminating with AMPAS voters. If Spectre finds itself forgotten amidst the plethora of blockbusters that populate the 2015 film year, you can pretty much rule it out for anything awards related.

Oscar Potential:
Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz
Best Film Editing
Best Cinematography
Best Original Score
Best Original Song
Best Visual Effects
Best Production Design
Best Sound Editing
Best Sound Mixing