There is no doubt that Herzog plays to his reputation of Teutonic gloom. Upstairs, when the Guardian photographer asks him to smile, he replies brusquely: “I never smile.” Yet just minutes earlier he was chortling at the memory of his sole trip to the Oscars last year for his – incredibly – sole nomination, for Encounters at the End of the World. “It was embarrassing – I had no idea what to expect because I never watch the Oscars.”
Of course you don’t, Werner – the idea of you watching such shallow backslapping is as improbable as you going to an NDubz concert.
“No, not at all. It’s just that 12 years ago I made a bet on who would win best actor, and it was only after I gave my money that I realised the person I bet on wasn’t even nominated!” he laughs. “So every time I see the Oscars, I think of that money I threw on the table!”