Analysis: 007 destined to be left out in the cold again as judges are seduced by Hollywood

It WAS hailed as the best James Bond film ever, attracting audiences who would never normally shake a Martini at this “sexist, misogynist relic of the Cold War”. It is the highest-grossing film in the UK ever.

You might think – in these times of warm, post-Olympic glow – that the British Academy of Film and Television Arts would leap at the chance to put this British icon on the awards-night podium.

Bond’s Olympic co-star was not the only one having a significant anniversary last year – it was also the golden jubilee of the Bond film series. Skyfall, which shot partly in Scotland, is genuinely good, with a depth of character rarely seen before.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

But Bafta has snubbed Bond, in a favour of an American hero – opting for Lincoln instead.

Skyfall earned eight Bafta nominations yesterday, which looks impressive. But it is missing from the main categories, including best film and best actor.

The nominations are for technical categories, supporting performances and for best British film – a category that manages to be both parochial and oddly flexible, including as it does Les Miserables. Is that really British, with its Antipodean and US stars?

As a Bafta member, I could vote for the five best picture nominees, choosing Les Mis, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi and Skyfall. The official shortlist is identical, minus Skyfall, plus Lincoln. Steven Spielberg’s epic is also favourite for the Oscars, although it has proven controversial even in the US.

Detractors complained it focused on Lincoln at the expense of the black abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Actually, there was a clue in the title.

But Lincoln is not a biopic. It focuses purely on the manoeuvring over the 13th Amendment. It is very long. Lincoln knew less is more – the Gettysburg address was only 270 words; the Spielberg address is two and a half hours – and it seems much longer. I think we are seeing Gandhi syndrome again and people are voting for the man rather than the film. “What? You didn’t vote for Lincoln? Are you in favour of slavery then?”

Bafta and Oscar voters always prefer worthy to enjoyable. No Bond film has ever been nominated for best picture.

Spielberg lost out 30 years ago when Gandhi beat ET, but he could benefit this time. Lincoln may have been a better man that Bond, but that does not make Lincoln a better film.