Eye on the Oscars: The Director

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Pulled into the Bond universe by Daniel Craig (who unofficially invited the “American Beauty” auteur to helm the 23rd franchise entry), Mendes faced the stiff learning curve of mastering over-the-top action set pieces and cutting-edge visual effects while still deploying his theater background and indie-drama cred. He was aided by 007 franchise regulars like second-unit d.p. Alexander Witt (“Casino Royale”), who says, “It’s a little more character driven, a little less action — I think that’s what Sam brought to the table.”

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