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James Bond: 50 years on and time for another Oscar?

At one point in Skyfall, a weary James Bond is told "this is a young man's game", but don't believe a word of it.

Fifty years since his big screen debut in Dr No, and James Bond is ageing very well.

There are plenty of nods to the film franchise's half century - phrases worthy of a Roger Moore raised eyebrow - "sometimes the old way is the best way" etc etc, but there is barely enough cheese for a sandwich, thankfully, which is more than you can say about some of the past Bonds.

Bond and his bane: Javier Bardem and Daniel Craig at a photocall for Skyfall Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

There was a round of applause at the screening I went to this afternoon and that was from a room full of journalists.

There will be plenty of that when the film opens in cinemas here next week, it's that good.

007 is winning some of the best reviews of his career, and for Bond fans who have waited four years for the next film, at one point fearing it would never happen after MGM's bankruptcy, it will be a wait well worth it.

The film directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes opens with a spectacular chase, as good as if not better than the opening to Casino Royale in 2006.

There are plenty of exotic locations but for an international audience, in love with London after our outstanding summer here, the capital plays a starring role.

So does M, as played by Judi Dench who is on screen and is part of the story to a greater extent than ever before.

Skyfall is much more like Casino Royale in mood - so we can all forget the disappointing last Bond outing Quantum of Solace in 2008, that was just a blip it seems.

Daniel Craig is terrific, flaws and all - and he is given a fuller back story in this film - seriously posh as it happens.

The greatest Bond villain? Javier Bardem Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

But the star for me is the wonderful Javier Bardem, and it could be that after 50 years the Bond franchise picks up its first acting Oscar, thanks to his role as the Bond baddie.

Incredible to think that the world's longest running film franchise has only ever won two Oscars - they were in the 60s for sound and visual effects.

An Oscar would make a fitting birthday present, and would signal the Bond producers' intentions to make the new Bond films win critical acclaim for acting, and scripting as well as respecting the past.

There has been much controversy about the advertising for Bond showing a 007 drinking, not Martini but a certain brand of beer.

Sponsorship was the only way we could make a film that cost around £100 million says Craig, but Bond purists need not fret - there is a beer drinking scene but Bond's old habits feature very strongly too - and the beloved Aston Martin also takes centre stage.

Javier Bardem, Berenice Marlohe, Sam Mendes, Dame Judi Dench, Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson Credit: Ian West/PA Wire

Before the film began today, a film executive asked us not to reveal the ending - with good reason - there are plenty of surprises in Bond's 23rd outing that prepare the franchise for future.

Daniel Craig has already said he's signed up to do another two Bonds.

With box office takings of more than £4 billion so far, Bond lags behind only Harry Potter.

But the superspy wins on longevity.

And we are left in the doubt in the final scene of Skyfall, that there is plenty more to come.

A centenary of Bond is not out of the question.

I will be speaking to all the stars of Skyfall on Monday on ITV News.