I think at times we tend to forget how absolutely fantastic some scenes of Bond films are when looking at the acting, and the believability of it. These scenes are among my favourites. They usually are tense, dramatic and they channel not just one type of emotion with the viewers. They can channel both creepiness and fun, or fear and comedy, or sadness vs. fun. These are truly mesmerizing examples of acting that should have been awarded an Oscar or Screen Actors Guild Award
I'm curious what your list would be, but this is mine:
": The dinner scene between Dr. No and James Bond
The first time the world gets to see a villain. And one hell of a scary one too. Joseph Wiseman is magnificent and utters his lines with a build-in angst and elitism.
"FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE
": Rosa Klebb meets Tatiana Romanova
We all know what a great stage actress Lotte Lenya was. She was already great in "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone", and got nominated for an Oscar deservedly. In "FRWL" we can witness another perfect portrayal of a trye psychopath.
": Bond dances to his death
Credits also to composer John Barry who helps setting the tension with his caraïbic flavored source music, culminating into a big climax. You can see that Bond isn't particularly at ease here. It's the character trait of Bond: No matter in what danger he gets into, he doesn't loose his humour. Perhaps Connery's best and most self-assured performance as Bond.
"ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE
": James Bond proposes Tracy di Vicenzo
First of all, the soft lighting from cinematographer Michael Reed sets the stage for one of the most romantic love scenes ever in a Bond film. Do not underestimate Lazenby's acting skills either. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association were right in honoring Lazenby with a Golden Globe nomination for "Best Newcomer Actor".
"THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN
": The dinner scene between Scaramanga and James Bond
Another perfect example how tense and ingenious dialogue is being uttered perfectly by two great actors. The build-up is perfect; it starts off pretty nonchalant, but evolves in a tense verbal fight. The late Sir Lee OBE will be missed.
": General Orlov's ranting during the Soviet Board Meeting
I wanted to highlight this scene, as this is still very topical as of 2016. Steven Berkoff portrays a complete narcistic and power-hungry general. If one thinks that this performance is a bit too one-sided, one has to take a look at today's autoritarian leaders, like Erdogan or Putin: "The West is decadent...and divided!"
"NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN
": Fatima Blush is extorting James Bond
Perhaps one of the most underrated Bond girl performance? Barbara Carrera in my opinion portrayed a sexy psychpath, whose screaming in this scene doesn't go unnoticed. She also set the stage fashion-wise for Grace Jones and Famke Janssen. Carrera got a Golden Globe nod for this portrayal.
"LICENCE TO KILL
": Bond meets Franch Sanchez
You can feel the tension, as we already know how ruthless this 'Pablo Escobar' is. The laughter and smiling between Robert Davi and Timothy Dalton adds masculinity and danger to this scene.
"THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH
": Elektra King starts torturing James Bond
Although I'm not a big fan of the dialogue in the Brosnan-era, but French actress Sophie Marceau portrays one of the most complicated and compelling Bond women in the franchise. Slowly we see her evolve in a ruthless villain that enjoys to erotically torture 007.
": A desperate Le Chiffre tortures James Bond
One of the acting highlights in the franchise, with Oscar-worthy performances from Mads Mikkelsen and Daniel Craig. The humour that Bond can still utter, compared with the intense physical pain he's suffering from, creates an uneasy experience. And also Mads Mikkelsen contributes to that with the desperation that fuels Le Chiffre's actions. Ian Fleming would have loved this.
": The Hotel Splendide dinner scene
Here's a scene that shows how Bond becomes an expert in reading female's minds. During the dinner scene, the joyous and happy atmosphere changes again into an uncomfortable scene where Vesper becomes uneasy.
"QUANTUM OF SOLACE
": 'M' confronting Bond with his ruthless behaviour
"Look where your charm gets you now!", says 'M'. You can feel that James Bond is uncomfortable when he's being confronted with his ruthless behaviour that leaves huge trails of death.
": James Bond confronts Sévérine with her past
This scene is an underappreciated scene that shows what a wonderful actress Berenice Lim-Marlohe is. The scene is reminiscent of the "CR"-dinner scene, in that it shows again how empathic Bond is with women. But the complete fear that Berenice portrays here is utterly believable and poignant. Also praise to director Sam Mendes, who sets a perfect atmosphere here.
": The introduction of Raoul Silva/Tiago Rodriguez
Well, I think I shouldn't say too much about this phenomenal scene. It is understandable that Javier Bardem got an Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and a Critics' Choice Award nomination. Bardem's presence is poignant, and give you both an uncomfortable feel as well as a feeling of fun.
": Lucia Sciarra slaps Bond in his face
....and subsequently Bond throws the two filled glasses of Bollinger on the floor. "You signed my death warrant!", makes you believe that Lucia Sciarra is/was the uncrowned queen of the syndicate S.P.E.C.T.R.E. It is this scene that IMO shows off Monica Bellucci's fantastic acting skills. Could we see her back as deputy head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. now Blofeld is in prison?
": Franz Oberhauser/Ernst Stavro Blofeld presents the Kartenhoff meteroid
Sadly, I don't have a clip of this scene, but I think here we see one of the best bits of Christoph Waltz' acting skills. A Bond villain uttering a parable always work, but it takes an actor to bring such a parable to higher levels. Just like Joseph Wiseman, Christopher Lee and Javier Bardem did before him.