James Bond, having just turned 50 years old at the movies, might be receiving the best possible belated birthday present. There’s some significant buzz suggesting that the 23rd Bond film, Skyfall, which has been hailed by critics and audiences alike — global box office just passed the $1 billion mark — will become the first ever Bond movie to receive a Best Picture nod, when the Oscar nominations are announced this Thursday.
The main reason for the speculation is the Producers Guild of America (PGA) nominating Skyfall for its highest honor — often a bellweather for Oscar nomination day. The surprise inclusion among certain Best Picture locks such as Argo, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty has given hope that everyone associated with the picture has cause to put on a tuxedo come the 85th Oscars on Feb. 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
But before we bet the house on Skyfall either getting nominated (you can currently get pretty miserly odds of 11 to 8) or — surely not! — actually winning Best Picture (an eye-popping 150 to 1) there are some notable reasons to hedge the excitement being shown by fans. First, the PGA list always contains 10 movies whereas the current Oscar regulations state that there are anywhere between five and 10 films, based on a fairly complex system in which a film needs to get 5% of first-place votes during the nomination process. And then there’s Bond’s relationship with Oscar — the polar opposite of his success rate with women: over the course of the previous 22 movies, the franchise has only garnered seven nominations, which resulted in two wins (Best Sound Effects Editing for Goldfinger and Best Visual Effects for Thunderball in the mid 1960s). Indeed, the last nomination came more than 30 years ago for Best Song (“For Your Eyes Only”).
Blockbusters don’t fare particularly well with the Academy — though it is somewhat ironic to note that the perceived snub of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight in 2008 has been cited as a reason for the initial move to nominating 10 films at the Oscars, ensuring that popular pictures get recognized come award season. And there’s another reason to not get too carried away by the PGA nomination: recent history has shown that the PGA went with money-making movies such as Star Trek over A Serious Man, which the Academy plumped for in 2009, and Bridesmaids rather than The Tree of Life in 2011.
As for Skyfall, not only was it widely praised — TIME’s Richard Corliss called it “a necessary, rather than mandatory, addition to the year’s popular culture,” while Roger Ebert deemed it “a full-blooded, joyous, intelligent celebration of a beloved cultural icon, with Daniel Craig taking full possession of a role he previously played unconvincingly” — but even Bond alum Sir Roger Moore told TIME recently that he thinks Craig “is the Bond. He’s quite brilliant.”
Even if Skyfall falls short of a Best Picture nod — and for what it’s worth, it missed out on a nomination Wednesday in the same category at the British Academy Film Awards — the film could win a few little gold men come the big night. Sasha Stone, the founder and editor-in-chief at Awards Daily, reckons the movie will be recognized in five categories (Sound, Sound Editing, Cinematography, Visual Effects and Supporting Actor for Javier Bardem, which would be the first ever acting nomination for the franchise) and shouldn’t be ruled out of the running for Best Editing and that elusive Best Picture either. “This is the first awards body that has honored Skyfall for Best Picture so far,” Stone told MTV about the PGA nod. “It might show how the industry is thinking around this time. There are so many Skyfall fans out there that it seems like it has a much better chance today than it did yesterday.”
One of the most long-overdue wins on Oscar night would be if Roger Deakins finally got his hands on a statue for Cinematography, as Skyfall would break an astonishing 0-9 run thus far. Among his misses are his previous collaborations with Skyfall’s director, Sam Mendes, on Jarhead and Revolutionary Road. (Mendes, meanwhile, has had slightly better luck — he won Best Director for his debut feature, American Beauty.) And Adele must surely be considered the front-runner to take home Best Original Song for her eponymous theme (it’s also the movie’s only Golden Globe nomination). Indeed, it’s rumored that she will be taking part in the special tribute to the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise during the Oscars, which will be quite the coup for the organizers as the Londoner has been laying low since the birth of her baby boy last October.
Pessimists will say that the Bond segment gives the Academy a get-out-of-jail card should Skyfall not win any hardware. But optimistic Bond fans hope that not only will the segment bring all six Bonds together on stage for the first time but these iconic actors will be able to say that they were there to witness an Oscar triumph or two and see Skyfall take its place among the best pictures of the year.