Skyfall won five Oscar nominations on Thursday, the highest tally for a 007 picture, but the major categories including best picture once again eluded the franchise that has just celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Hopes had been raised by bookmakers and some film critics that one of Britain's
most lucrative and best-loved cultural exports would finally make his mark at the Academy Awards at the 23rd time of asking.
Skyfall, the first official Bond movie to make more than $1 billion at the box office, also won rave reviews from professionals and the public.
Give Bond an Oscar! was the headline of Daily Mail movie critic Chris Tookey's review of Skyfall when it hit theatres in October, reflecting a mood of optimism among the more patriotic sections of the press.
And there was a further boost last week when Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson were among the nominees for a Producers Guild Award alongside prestige films like Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty.
Reactions to the Oscar nominations summed up the sense of disappointment particularly in Britain, where there had been talk not only of a best picture nod but also recognition for cast members Judi Dench and Javier Bardem.
"Sky Falls In For Bond At Oscar Shortlist!" was bookmaker William Hill's response, while the Independent newspaper wrote in its blog: "British hopes for the first best picture nomination for Skyfall have been dashed."
Vanity Fair magazine added via Twitter: "Sadly, James Bond was once again shut out of Oscar nominations."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences might point out that Skyfall in fact fared relatively well, with five nominations including best song for Adele, best score, sound editing, sound mixing and cinematography.
And there will be a special tribute to the franchise at the awards ceremony on Feb. 24.
But generally Bond has faired poorly at the Oscars, winning just two statuettes - sound effects for 1964 film Goldfinger and special visual effects for Thunderball released in 1965.
The Oscars have tended to overlook major movie franchises, a fact that irked the likes of Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe who was a vocal critic of the Academy for overlooking the eight-part boy wizard series. The British media tends to take a parochial approach to the Oscars, viewing them through a patriotic lens and borrowing repeatedly from screenwriter Colin Welland's acceptance speech over 30 years ago when he won for Chariots of Fire.
"I'd like to finish with a word of warning," he proclaimed. "You may have started something. The British are coming." In 2009 and 2011 there were British "invasions", in the form of Slumdog Millionaire and The King's Speech" respectively, but in 2010 and 2012 there were not.
In 2013, the British focus will be on Daniel Day-Lewis, in the running for his third best actor statuette for his portrayal of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's biopic Lincoln.Skyfall's Oscar snub is a great pity: Judi Dench
Veteran actress Judi Dench is saddened that the new James Bond blockbuster Skyfall missed out on major nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards.
The 78-year-old British actress, who plays spy chief M in the film, was surprised to learn that Sam Mendes was not recognised in the Best Director category and that her co-stars 007 Daniel Craig and movie villain Javier Bardem had been overlooked in the top acting nods, reported BBC online.
"I'm very, very sorry that nothing has been recognised. That's a great pity. I thought Sam Mendes directed it absolutely beautifully. It was a terrific film," she said.
And Dench only hopes the Bond films have not been deliberately shut out in the main categories over the years because of their commercial success.
Asked if she thought there was a bias against the superspy franchise, she added, "There may be. I don't know. I hope not. I just think that all round it was really wonderfully directed and presented and filmed and lit and shot."
Skyfall did not get left out completely, Adele's theme tune landed a nod for Best Song, while the film also scored well with technical nominations for production, cinematography, sound editing and mixing. (With inputs from PTI)
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