Sunday, July 27, 2008

Naked Gold Man: Dark Knight for Best Picture?

naked gold man: on Sunday's we talk about the upcoming Oscar race.

Oscar honoring superheroes? It's not as far fetched as it sounds.

When the initial awards buzz for The Dark Knight started it was entirely focused around the collective desire to memorialize Heath Ledger. Now, with the film becoming an indisputable phenomenon at the box office can the Best Picture shortlist be far behind? Assuming that the latest Batman film can or will be nominated for the movie industry's top honor might sound like fanboy raving but remember: I'm not a fanboy and I haven't been raving. I am however an Oscarologist. And I think it could and very well might happen. Here's why...

Box Office + Raves
Oscar catches a lot of flak each year for preferring serious drama (not usually associated with a pot of gold at the multiplex) over audience approved fare like action films. Ignore for a moment all those pieces speculating that Oscar will be looking for more popular films to reverse their ratings decline... there's no precedent for a sudden shift in AMPAS taste in order to cater to the public. Why would they start now? No, consider this possibility in terms of previous bonafide genre sensations: E.T., The Exorcist, Jaws, The Silence of the Lambs, The Lord of the Rings and The Sixth Sense are just a few examples of films that weren't traditional fare that were nevertheless nominated for the top prize on a wave of critical adulation, public love, and zeitgeist hysteria. The Dark Knight fits neatly into that line up in terms of perceived quality, box office gold, and right film/right time impact. One could argue that Spider-Man or Spider-Man 2 had all these things as well but what Spidey's films didn't have was an overlay of the violently somber. Spider-Man played like most adult conceptions of comic books play: bright, colorful, funny, sincerely old fashioned and eye-popping. Batman's pretenses to grandeur, its masculinity and violence, the dramatic heft --these are a lot closer to what Oscar likes to honor once you extract the rubber and capes.

Momentum
The best precedents might actually be closer to Beauty & the Beast or Chicago. Both were films from genres that hadn't been seriously considered for some time or ever (in the former's case) but both followed up other sensations that had built up critical respect and public interest.


The Little Mermaid
prepared the water for Beauty and the Beast's nominations, restoring luster to a genre that was previously dismissed as for children only. And the one-two-three punch of risky auteurial chutzpah that was Dancer in the Dark, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Moulin Rouge! (2000-2001) paved the way for the more mainstream friendly Chicago (2002) to actually win the top prize. Suddenly musicals were artistically serious and hot again. Chicago was a vessel through which AMPAS could nod their heads and tap their feet: yes, musicals are worthy of praise and statues (again).

Nolan + Their Favorite Hero
Unlike many other celebrated youngish directors, the Academy has actually been paying attention to Chris Nolan's output. From Memento to Prestige to Batman Begins, they've thrown his films a nomination here or there. And they've always liked Batman more than other caped crusaders. Even the first Joel Schumacher effort Batman Forever was awarded with three nominations. It's still hard to imagine quite how that one happened.


All of this is not to say that the Picture shortlist will be an easy get for Warner Bros and DC. Oscars are never easy gets. You have to work for them and you have to work smarter and harder than your competition. It's a race with numerous wild cards and variables. The Joker would probably love its potential for chaos.

Potential Roadblocks
  • Backlash. Excessively praised and hyped films always generate them. There's plenty of time for a real Bat Backlash (there's also plenty of time for a backlash to the backlash to arrive to cancel it out. It's early) and the er... drooling of fanboys (it's as if the motion picture never existed before July 18th) might make all the relatively sane and well documented praise seem guilty by association in the minds of more traditional voters.
  • Heath Only. There will certainly be some voters who feel that honoring the late great young actor is enough attention for the film itself.
  • Franchise Fatigue. Even though Oscar has been known to honor unbaity phenoms, they're not into honoring sequels unless they've honored predecessors. I suspect this will be the toughest obstacle for the campaign. This is the 6th live action Batman feature in the past 20 years. How will they make it seem like the only one?
  • Traditional Goodies. The Fall is hardly ever lacking in traditionally Oscarable flicks. They'll have to pale next to this Batman vs. Joker hit.
  • WALL•E. The Dark Knight wasn't the first pre-Fall entry to ignite "could it happen?" Best Pic buzz. Pixar's latest raising of the bar has gone quiet in this week of Batmania but that doesn't mean that cute little trash collector can't still inspire the 6000+ AMPAS members. If there's two non-traditional triumphs in the actual awards race come December, both from the summer, things will get more complicated for both once precursor season kicks in. This shouldn't be the case of course (release dates shouldn't matter) but it is since the critics organizations and awards bodies are all human and are easily swayed by whatever they've just seen.
I'll be updating my Oscar Predictions on August 1st and I'm considering placing The Dark Knight among the predicted five. How many nominations do you think it's capable of?

NOTE: This article --very old -- is still getting traffic, please hit a label below for newer posts on these very subjects. Thanks

69 comments:

grayfox998 said...

I honestly think The Dark Knight will end up in the final five if the studio plays their cards right and markets the shit out of it even towards the end of the fall. Expect tons of FYC ADS, and they need to play up another angle besides the Joker. Heath is guaranteed a nomination. It's a brilliant performance and the most talked about one of the year so far. The studio will have to use its rave reviews to its advantage and plaster those things everywhere. Critical response still does matter, especially since this is one of the few times where Audiences and critics are generally agreeing. I do agree that the films biggest obstacle will be the fact that it is the 6th batman film and none of the other films have been all that well loved. But The Dark Knight can stand on its own as a crime thriller, and thats the angle they need to go for, not "hey nominate the batman film!" but rather "hey nominate this crime thriller which has grossed more money and gotten better reviews than any other mainstream film this year!" We will have to see what happens, but like I said if they play their cards right it could very well happen. And that would make me one happy happy man.

grayfox998 said...

Oh and I am anticipating at least 7 nominations - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Sound, Best Sound editing,

Other Possible nominations : Best Screenplay (the writing is one of the best aspects of the film in my opinion, but this is a superhero film after all... so this nomination is a big if), Best Score, and best Make-up. It all depends really on how in love the Academy falls with the film. I think the above are locks if the film gets its best picture nomination.

Kurtis O said...

I'm all for The Dark Knight slipping in. I must admit I'm a proud member of its fan club (though not a fanboy -- yuck). PS: I love how you've Joker-d your blog. Fantastic. You are the finest blogger in the universe, if not for your insightful prose, for your appreciation of and attention to details, however silly those details may be.

Robert said...

Personally, between the two, I still think WALL-E is more deserving.

I'm gonna say yes for Ledger, no for Best Pic. Sure AMPAS can easily get swept up by vox populi but the critics don't. The critics are more likely to react poorly to the overhype (aren't these fanboys part of the problem that's putting critics out of business?)

But The Dark Knight needs the critics awards to declare it a serious award contender if AMPAS is to take notice. Sure The Academy can occasionally throw out a nomination that has no previous recognition (Linney last year) but these are usually people and genre's they love to begin with. Comic book movies need a little bit more momentum.

Of course AMPAS has a lot more to concern itself with this year. It will have to decide if it elevates Jolie and Mendes beyond "one nom wonder" status. It has to figure out just how much to laud Eastwood and whether it wants to invite Zwick or Spike or Fincher to the party.

This isn't entirely unlike the Titanic hype and phenom. Of course Batman won't be as big and the timing is all wrong. If Batman opened in December (which I recognize would never happen) this may be a whole different story.

Murnau said...

It really depends on how the other contenders do. If we get more than our usual handful of arthouse masterpieces (AKA, it's a 2007 repeat) than it would be harder for DK to get through. Another stumbling block is the fact that Oscar likes it's "Crowd-Pleasing" spot to be lighter, and DK is certainly not "lighter".

I never thought that Wall-E would get a best picture nod (in years past, maybe, but not since "animated" became a catagory.) but it DOES have a chance at best director, although slightly less so now that the bat has arrived in style.

Heath Ledger is now the front runner, when just weeks before it seemed he was a dark horse for the nomination. Isn't it strange what well placed hype can do? Other possible nominations are cinematography, Art Direction Special effects, Makeup and Costume Design. Although only a few of those are likely. For some reason I think that it has a better chance with picture than director, because the director's place in blockbusters tend to be overlooked.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm Murnau, you really thought Heath was a Dark Horse? A lot of people had him as a nominee when the trailer came out in December
(before his untimely death).

NATHANIEL R said...

i personally don't know any serious oscar pundits who start their official predictions before the current year's race has even announced nominees.

before his untimely death it was much less likely (right or wrong) given that only one person has ever been nominated for acting in a comic book flick (al pacino, dick tracy) and that was someone who was decades overdue and it was his year.

Dean said...

I'm confident it will make it. It's pojected to earn over $500 million domestically (its earned $314 M in just 10 days) and I have a feeling that coupled with the critical consensus wll make it just too massive to ignore. 3 of the top 4 all time domestic moneymakers have been nominated for best pic and Shrek 2 was in the best animated category. Since The Dark Knight is on track to sit at number two, I think it won't disrupt the best pic nomination pattern.

1 Titanic $601 M
2 Star Wars $461 M
3 Shrek 2 $441 M
4 E.T, $435 M

And is anybody surprised as I am about Shrek being number 3???

NATHANIEL R said...

er... sorry. my brain wandered. it wasn't Pacino's year (that was 2 years later). But that is an odd nomination --the dick tracy citation.

oh and yes dean very odd about Shrek 2. Of course i'm totally off consensus there. I don't get the Shrek movies at all. So instantly dated and nothing compared to almost any Pixar film.

Anonymous said...

Nathaniel there were plenty of EARLY predictors and they had Heath down as a nominee. I guess you can call them Oscar fanboys. not necessarily critics. I even thought about it when I saw the first picture of Heath as the Joker.

NATHANIEL R said...

sorry... i thought you were talking official predictions when people lay their reputations on the line and guess 5 nominees for a given year.

if you're just talking random speculation about which roles might prompt oscar talk than its something else altogether and about 200 performances do every year.

blech. i am so grouchy. SORRY

adam k. said...

I think Dark Knight stands a very good chance. Is it REALLY projected to make $500 million?? Yowza. I was thinking somewhere in the $400 range... passing Star Wars would be quite a coup.

I don't think the sequel thing will actually be that big an issue, since like you said, everyone has seemed to forget that there were ever any other films made before TDK. It's been praised so far head and shoulders over above of the other Batmans that I don't think people even associate it with then anymore. It's a phenom. There were a LOT of reviews that specifically went out of their way to include something like "it succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book movie, but as a crime film and genuinely scary thriller." They're trying to de-ghettoize it already. And given that the other Batmans all got minor nominations, something more for this one - given the massive praise - seems appropriate in terms of Oscar logic. And it's also the perfect vehicle for which to finally honor Nolan.

In order of likeliness, I'd say:
Best Supporting Actor
Best Cinematography
Best Sound
Best Sound Editing
Best Makeup
Best Film Editing
Best Art Direction
Best Director
Best Picture

With the last few of course dependent on whether it's best pic nominated or not. I think probably 8 or so nods, capped by a win for Heath.

I also think whether Heath wins or not could depend largely on whether the film makes the cut for best picture. If it's perceived as needing a win somewhere, Heath is that win. If it's just Heath and a few tech nods, he could go the way of other posthumous nominees (and genre nominees, like Jack Sparrow), and lose to someone else who's alive.

One last note: I think the closest recent parallel is The Sixth Sense, and we know how that one turned out (Heath might also be the Haley Joel Osment of this year).

John T said...

Nat-1990 was the year that Pacino had made Godfather III, which, before it was released, looked like a solid nomination for him, and probably a win. He probably just missed the nominations, despite the immense backlash, and I'm guessing many people who had planned on including him for GIII went with his only other perf that year.

Robert said...

If it passes Star Wars to become the second highest grossing film of all time then it should be interesting.

So tough to figure out what people will think of this movie in 6 months.

And I do love the Joker crashing your site Nathaniel. Good to know you're enjoying the Bat-fun despite the rabidness of some fanboys.

vinci said...

nice

Michael Parsons said...

It is difficult to say. The Academy is getting younger so it could happen. They need a big film to attract viewers to the show and this film is indeed big.

I think out of the big noms it could be Nolan, Ledger is a given, and an outside shot at pic. Screenplay seems unlikely. I will say 6 noms

Anonymous said...

Best Picture
Best Director
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Supporting Actor - Ledger
Best Art Director
Best Cinematography
Best Art Direction
Best Film Editing
Best Sound Editing
Best Makeup

10

I think it's entirely possible.

Anonymous said...

I really wish Gary Oldman could get some buzz. He was my personal allstar (well, after Ledger, I mean, who can beat that performance). His final monologue was perfect.

Jonathan B. said...

Put me down as another person starting to predict it for Best Picture. It's the first film since LOTR to really be both a critical smash (seventeen 100s on Metacritic - that's an outstanding number for ANY movie) AND a box office juggernaut. The fact that it'll be the second highest grossing movie of all time when it's all said and done, well past $500 million, can only help that fact.

Fanboys won't help things, but again, by December it could very well be in the backlash-against-the-backlash stage of things.

It also helps that the only other Oscar movies WB has this year are Body of Lies (Doesn't look too special) and Gran Torino (A film we currently know zip about, plus it might end up competing with Changeling for the Eastwood vote). Their slate is mostly clear for them to try to put real muscle behind a Best Picture campaign.

Casey Fiore said...

I think there are a few locks:
Supporting Actor
Sound
Sound Editing
Cinematography
-
I think the following all do have a good chance based on competition and campaign:
Editing
Make-up
Art Direction
Score (whats the official ruling?)
Screenplay
Director
Picture
But I think almost anything involved with this film that gets nominated deserves it. There are quite a few more that aren't getting enough buzz and should be:
Visual Effects- just because make up and visual effects were used on Two-face (which was excellent) doesn't mean they should choose which to honor based on that. don't ignore the rest of the stellar work in both categories...
Make-up- the Jokers face
Visual effects- sweet sonar
Costume design- am I the only one who thought the wardrobe in this movie was awesome??

Anonymous said...

I would say it has a better chance at Director than Picture, with Supporting Actor and some techs being locks. It definitely will need some critic awards to let the Academy know they are seriously being considered.

It's definitely my #1 movie of the year.... but only so far. It seems there are so many movies coming out this year that have a chance for Best Picture - if it deserves a nomination, great. BUT they shouldn't let it be nominated just so more viewers will watch the ceremony.

Right now I'm going with Supporting Actor, Director, and some techs. I don't think it will get Adapted Screenplay, and I'm still on the fence about Best Picture. Right now I'm predicting:

Australia
Defiance
Doubt
Milk
Revolutionary Road OR The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (I think one of these 2 will flop in terms of Oscars)

Catherine said...

Best Editing? Really? I don't know great editing from a hole in the wall, but I noticed quite a few jarring cuts in The Dark Knight. Scenes ending too abruptly and stuff like that.

Oldman was my focus point too. He was fantastic, considering the script granted him so little in comparison to the Joker. Not saying Heath Ledger doesn't deserve his plaudits, he obviously does and his portrayal scared the beejayzus out of me, but Gordon could be a dullard and Gary Oldman just pulls so much out of it.

Anonymous said...

And of course there's the Indie comedy. Will The Dark Knight take that one's place? Or will there be a surprise hit that steals TDK's show?

JS said...

I'm thinking Picture, Screenplay and Supporting Actor nods.

Though right now, Heath, Aaron and Gary lead my list for Supporting Actor this year. Maybe two out of the three can squeak a nom (Gary and Heath with Gary being the one alive to take it and making his speech about Heath. Still, death never stopped the Academy.).

NATHANIEL R said...

i don't really understand the praise for the cinematography this time. I almost thought it wasn't Pfister at first. I think it's a better movie than Batman Begins overall but Begins had way better cinematography.

so i kinda hope it doesn't get an automatic nod there just because of that one superb shot of Ledger in the car and that they like Pfister. There's always more worthy nominees than shortlist spots.

Ryan said...

Awesome, comprehensive analysis Nathaniel. Oh, and your Joker graffiti… brilliant, just brilliant! This could shape up to be one exciting awards season. Now, I wasn't old enough to remember... was there this kind of buzz for TERMINATOR 2 upon it's release?

LOCKS
Supporting Actor (Ledger)
Cinematography
Sound
Sound Effects Editing

POSSIBLE
Makeup
Editing
Picture
Directing
Visual Effects
Art Direction

LONGSHOTS
Adapted Screenplay
Costume Design

Anonymous said...

NAT:

Based on your comprehensive Oscar knowledge, what do you think Ledger’s chances are of actually pulling off the win? And what are the real road blocks? Is he as locked as Toro and Bardem were?

NATHANIEL R said...

i would NOT say that Ledger is locked for a win. For one thing we have no clue what his competition is like. And competition matters when it comes to who is in "locked" position. By the time Bardem arrived last year in November, we had a good idea of who he was up against. That's not so (at all) with Ledger.

Trilobyte said...

I don't think its unreasonable to put The Dark Knight into the list as a contender for Best Picture. It has its faults but its easily the best film I've seen this year.

Heath Ledger seems certain to get a nomination and I hope Gary Oldman gets one too - his is a great performance. Both would be for Supporting Actor, though Ledger's performance is so dominating it pushes Christian Bale's into the background.

I think that The Dark Knight and Wall-E are the first two serious Oscar contenders but its still only July and there's a long way to go yet.

Tim said...

Re: cinematography.

I have a few cinematographer friends, and every one of them said precisely same thing: not quite as good as The Prestige, better than Begins, and gee willickers, he shot stuff on IMAX! (I agree 100% with Nathan's reservations, FWIW). Never argue from anecdote, etc., but that consensus seems telling to me. And I do wonder how much it might seem like Pfister will be "owed" his third nom in a row.

Kamikaze Camel said...

I can see it becoming a reality. One thing it'll have going for it is that it's a comic movie that the critics and guilds will fall over themselves to honour in some way. Considering Batman Begins got Costume, Art Direction, Cinematography, Sound and Visual Effects guild/society nominations, I don't see why it won't happen again. Throw in SAG, BFCA and GG noms for Ledger (it'll happen, surely) and some critics groups throwing Nolan a prize or two I think it could definitely happen.

And I think with the Pixar films and last year's Bourne Ultimatum the Academy has slowly been showing they're willing to give blockbusters/sequels big nominations and wins.

cee said...

I think it does have a good chance, especially because the AMPAS got a lot of crap for having films that "no one" watched last year.

grayfox998 said...

The cinematography was much different than Begins, but effective. It was more gritty and real. And there are certainly more great shots than just the one of the joker in the car - the opening zoom in of the joker holding the clown mask before he gets in the truck, Batman standing on top of the sears tower, all of the IMAX camera work is stunning, especially the action sequence where the truck flips. And lets not forget the creepy and frightening interrogation scene shots. Almost any shot of the joker in the film is provocative in some sort of way. Or my personal favorite shot is batman standing among the flames where Rachel was killed. There is definitely some great cinematography in the Dark Knight and a nomination would be more than deserved.

Mohammed said...

Well, Watchmen will change the way we look at superheroes. I remember reading the novel when I was kid. I was like you've got to be kidding me! Maybe a movie about a comic hero will finally make it to the top five list before the Watchmen revolution! TDN is a perfect candidate. A friend of mine said that Maggie G. death scene alone will be remembered for good! So I kinda feel that this film will get some attention from the Academy people. Back to Watchmen, the novel is #2 in amazon and all my friends were like what the hell was that! It's the comic books era and I'm so loving it!

NATHANIEL R said...

cee --i've never understood that argument. Oscar did not choose films no one watched last year. Both No Country and Juno were medium to big hits. There Will Be Blood did remarkably well for what it essentially was. Michael Clayton wasn't a flop really.

I really don't get that complaint... seems like a lazy media meme that really got out of control.

and even if I believed the complaint I can't imagine why the Oscar voters would suddenly change their taste because of media griping about low ratings. If they were going to suddenly start voting for blockbusters for ratings reasons... wouldn't they have started that switch years ago when the ratings started to descend?

Liz said...

If Juno got nominated, surely TDK can. It probably can't win - although that will depend on how the rest of the year goes. It's impossible to say at this point.

Anonymous said...

Your jokerized header is awesome. :)

Beau said...

If the cast gets nom'd at the SAG Awards, it'll be nominated for Best Picture. Count on it.

For right now, I think Mendes will hit a home run with Revolutionary Road. Doubt seems to be a sure thing, and Milk I think will be a massive player. Defiance I don't think so, and Australia seems too audacious for the Oscar crowds.

For my money, right now:

Revolutionary Road
Doubt
Milk
The Changeling (because they love their Clint)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Fincher will get knocked into the big leagues based on this one)

Glenn said...

Nat, you forgot Atonement, which was actually the third highest grosser of last year's best picture crop.

Julia said...

I could see it happening...especially because TDK will likely have a DVD release in December, putting the film back in the public eye.

BUT...I can also imagine the mainstream media backlash if it wasn't nominated for BP. "TDK broke all sorts of box office records, and the Academy - once again - is nominating movies that NO ONE WATCHES." I hate most of the mainstream media movie shrills out there...they seem to directly correlate box office with quality, even when there's no apparent justification.

A note about WALL-E (a picture that I too, enjoyed more than TDK)...I think that TDK all but killed its BP buzz permanently. TDK looked into good vs. evil, a theme not unknown to the AMPAS. In fact, Batman isn't an unknown character to AMPAS. However, WALL-E took far more risks, tackling difficult themes in a creative way (consumption and consumerism). AND, WALL-E has the benefit (detriment, in this case) of being a guaranteed nominee of the "Best Animated Feature" category.

Anonymous said...

Revolutionary Road had their first test screening the other day, and it *was* fairly positive - but obviously it's the type of movie that many will hate (it being very depressive.) However, all of the screeners said it was no American Beauty and everyone had some problem with the movie (that mostly being the ending). I'm thinking Revolutionary Road will get the acting nominations (everyone said Kate and Leo were great), the adapted screenplay, and some techs - but no picture or director. There will be better players.

And yes, I realize I was suppose to talk about TDK =) I think a director nom is more likely than a picture nom, but we'll have to see how the rest of the year pans out and how it does with critic awards.

My best picture prediction as of now:
*Australia (early test screenings = very positive)
*Defiance
*Doubt
*Milk
*Benjamin Button (though I still have doubts about this one)

Anonymous said...

Heath Ledger's performance is going to buoy this film up to a best picture nomination, just like a central performance would for a biopic. I'm already sealing it in as one of the five nominees in my predictions, regardless of "genre bias."

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks B:TDK will be nominated for a golden Globe for best picture let alone an Oscar is a fucking moron.

The movie is nothing more then your standard genre superhero movie, that just happens so far, to be the biggest grossing movie of the year.

That doesn't mean shit to the Academy.

Anonymous said...

I was pleasantly surprised to see the hype match the quality, especially w/respect to Ledger's performance.

Just by the fact that even skeptics are saying his Joker gives Jack Nicholson's a run for his money is saying something.

This movie is quality all-around.

Hopefully the Best Supporting Actor award will go to a fleshed-out villain character two years in a row.

lylee said...

I almost never prognosticate Oscar this early, but I do think Heath is a lock for a Supp Actor nomination and will probably win unless someone else delivers a truly bombshell performance this fall.

TDK could sneak in for either Picture or Director as well, though I sincerely hope not. I love the Nolan bros, but this is one movie where they let gravitas become draggy-tas.

And I agree with Nathaniel that the cinematography for "Batman Begins" was better. (Actually, I think BB was a better movie overall, though I realize I'm vastly in the minority.)

sijmen said...

I really believe that many Hollywood-people / Academy members are frustrated that in the last couple of years, so many small and foreign (meaning not made in LA) movies won big at the Osars. Last year you could hear the audience moan while the Europeans won the acting awards.

At the luncheon many people were asking (complaining) why The Bourne Ultimatum wasn't nominated for the big awards, just like Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Fugitive or The Sixth Sense were in the past.

Many of those complainers will certainly vote for The Dark Knight.

Antichrist said...

With it's huge box office numbers [projected $500 million? wow] the critical response, & AMPAS's desperate need for a popular film to boost ratings for the Oscars, I think The Dark Knight is a definite lock for Supporting Actor for Heath and several technical/artistic categories, specifically Art Direction, Cinematography, Editing, & Makeup. I think there's a good chance of a Screenplay nod too. As far as Best Picture & Director go, I dont know if it can get both. I think it's one or the other.

NATHANIEL R said...

sjimen and antichrist and others --where are y'all getting this notion about the ACADEMY? I've heard so many people say it but isn't this a media driven notion only and not anything else?

If the Academy really wanted to nominate blockbusters instead of midrange one leg in multiplex and one leg in arthouse dramas WOULDN'T THEY?

why would they change course just to suit numbers this year when their numbers have been sliding for literally years.

i think it's a valid question and I'm curious as to why everyone thinks AMPAS believes the same as the media here. Or do they just vote opposite of their true feelings? is that what's being suggested?

rubi-kun said...

Make-up, cinematography, and Supporting Actor are locks for The Dark Knight. Maybe throw in the sound awards and either Screenplay or Director. Possibly Picture and Editing if they really go crazy for it, but really, the editing was the worst part of the movie.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Nothing is ever a lock in July.

Especially the makeup branch, which year in year out try and make the Academy look like fools.

Anonymous said...

Why wouldn't the Academy start to change their tune about nominating a blockbuster like "The Dark Knight" now? Do you think they were going to do it for Harry Potter? Or Pirates of the Caribbean? Spider-Man? The Bourne series? No. The choice would still have to be something respectable with a strong critical cachet attached to it. That's what happened with Lord of the Rings, and that's what happening now with "The Dark Knight" in spades. This is the only film I can think of that the Academy would actually get over their superhero genre bias toward, and it's one of those silly trends where "something doesn't happen until it happens". Why not this year then? Especially with it looking at being the #2 film OF ALL TIME! A ratings spike for that dreary telecast is just gravy, and that would affect ABC more than the voters anyway.

NATHANIEL R said...

anon --if you read the whole post you'd see that I am in complete agreement with you.

What I question though is the notion that they'd ever do anything for ratings (as so many people seem to believe). They haven't shown that they care about that. More power to them actually... the people who aren't watching the Oscars now don't care about the Oscars so what's the point in winning them over? They won't be a loyal audience anyway.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I'm not surprised to see that most posters here believe that the late Heath Ledger should get a posthumous Oscar nomination and possibly an award. But you have to have to be kidding me---SUPPORTING?

The only members of The Dark Knight who might get a Best Supporting Actor nomination are Aaron Eckhart, Sir Michael Caine, and possibly Gary Oldman.

Heath Ledger will receive a Best LEADING Actor nomination. Mark my words on it.

He has much more screen time in this film than Marlon Brando did in The Godfather, Peter Finch did in Network, and Anthony Hopkins did in The Silence of the Lambs. All those actors won for Best Leading Actor. Ledger's presence is also felt in scenes where he is not present.

The only reason to nominate him for Supporting Actor is that Warner Brothers believes another actor in the leading category will give a better performance more likely to win, or that Academy voters will be unwilling to give the more prestigious award to a comic book character.

The latter may well be the case because I don't think the former will be true at all.

Edward J. Cunningham
Rockville, MD

P.S. If the Academy really noticed Christopher Nolan's work before now, Memento should have received multiple nominations in 2001 rather than just the screenplay nomination which it unfairly lost.

Anonymous said...

What I question though is the notion that they'd ever do anything for ratings (as so many people seem to believe). They haven't shown that they care about that. More power to them actually... the people who aren't watching the Oscars now don't care about the Oscars so what's the point in winning them over? They won't be a loyal audience anyway.

That fickle audience would watch if there was something there to appeal to them. Where is that 55 million that watched as "Titanic" won best picture? That audience is still there to be had. I do think that voters want their choices to be validated by the public, but what can they do when the "blockbuster" in their lineup is "Juno"? You deal with what you're given. And this year, they have that with the "legitimate" film "The Dark Knight" as opposed to "Harry Potter" or "Pirates of the Caribbean" to nominate into best picture. I think voters are going to give it a BP nod, and viewers and ABC will be extremely happy in the process.

Heath Ledger will receive a Best LEADING Actor nomination. Mark my words on it.

Okay, so marked. But he's winning best supporting actor.

Wee said...

Ledger should get an Oscar for sure...
Oldman might get some consideration, but who knows.

MILK looks to be pretty good as well

Anonymous said...

The Dark Knight is an amusing illustration of the difference in outlook between two competing groups. In one corner there are the massed ranks of fanboys & 20-something Oscar bloggers (Nat, Tapley, etc), all of whom are convinced TDK the greatest movie they've ever seen in their short lives.

In the other corner there's AMPAS, most of whose members are over 60, & regard TDK as as having a ridiculous, nonsensical plot, confusingly shot fight scenes, shallow themes & ideas (just because it's dark doesn't mean it's deep) as well as being sadistic & exploitative.

A possible nomination for Heath's performance as the Joker - maybe. We'll see if there's still a frenzy over this come December or if attention has shifted to other performances. But that's the only real possibility. Anything else other than minor tech noms, forget it. The best thing for its supporters is to hope that it'll do well at the MTV awards or the Golden Globes!

NATHANIEL R said...

anon it may help you to read more carefully before making claims.

I am not...

1. a fanboy of The Dark Knight. I think it's good. No more no less.

2. a 20something

3. someone who thinks the dark knight is even CLOSE to the best movie i've seen in my short life. It won't even be in my top ten of 2008.

and p.s.... I agree with most of your complaints about the Dark Knight but I'm not a 60something Oscar voter.

so i'm in neither of your reductive groups ;) I do however believe that you will try not to remember this comment when Teh Dark Knight gets Oscar nominations. Yes, they're all iffy (outside Ledger) but even if the film doesn't get anywhere close to a BP nom it still has a decent shot at multiple nods, being a behemoth and all. Behemoth films that are ALSO lauded by critics tend to get at least a few compensatory nods.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of YOUR age, nathaniel - this is - as I have described - essentially a battle of wills between between two different age groups. The whiny adolescent fanboy/Oscar bloggers convinced that the darkness of Nolan's movie means that it's deep (it isn't) - & the members of AMPAS, the vast majority of whom are far too old to fall for that shit.

"and p.s.... I'm not a 60something Oscar voter."

Yes, but you ARE an ignorant cunt, nathaniel (if you'll pardon my English)!

Anonymous said...

The whiny adolescent fanboy/Oscar bloggers convinced that the darkness of Nolan's movie means that it's deep (it isn't) - & the members of AMPAS, the vast majority of whom are far too old to fall for that shit.

So any young supporters of the film are automatically "whiny adolescent fanboys" that can't discern depth, quality, and relevance just b/c you didn't like the film and find it to be overhyped. Wow, that's a special kind of assholishness right there.

NATHANIEL R said...

ah oscar season. You can smell it coming whenever people start getting nasty.

shall i pardon your english, anon 7:07? Nah! calling people names --whether its me or anyone else commenting -- is the quickest way to not be taken seriously.

in other words: if you can't play nice, please leave my sandbox. I like the debates to be spirited but not disrespectful

mwah

NATHANIEL R said...

and also: i find it odd that we're convinced that the ACADEMY's age means they don't fall for shit...

how do you explain SO many bad nominations over the years ;)

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Okay, so marked. But he's winning best supporting actor.

It's not a supporting role. Anthony Hopkins had far less screen time in The Silence of the Lambs and Ledger's performance is as dominating. I believe the only reason the Academy would nominate him in a supporting role is the belief that a comic book character is too demeaning to deserve a leading actor award.

Along these same lines, I also want to say that I think Robert Downey, Jr.'s performance in Iron Man is worth consideration for Best Actor as well. Is it anywhere near as good as Ledger's? No, but it's pretty damn good. I'm also not saying that Iron Man itself should be up for Best Picture---but Downey made that film and I don't think his performance should be forgotten.

Edward J. Cunningham
Rockville, MD

JFCR said...

Well... I do believe the main concern for a BP nomination for Batman: The Dark Knight would be the release date of the film. It is a film full of potential but Warner Bros. never really appear to take the film seriously, deciding to release it in the summer (it is in fact a summer blockbuster) instead of saving it for the end of the year when it would probably be considered a serious Oscar contendant.

In this way, I believe Ledger should have his nomination, as well as Make-Up, Score, Screenplay, Cinematography and Directing. Picture is hard, very hard, but I believe that there's no other film that will please so many people this year. Nolan and Ledger will probably win (although Nolan has to look out for Eastwood), Screenplay has a scarce chance, as well as Make-Up and Score. Cinematography I don't see it happening, «Begins» deserved it more and it didn't happen so we shouldn't expect any miracles here. Editing no way, terrible in the film. Sound Editing maybe.

So I'll go for 6/7 nominations.

For Best Picture I'll bet:

- Doubt
- Challenging
- Milk
- Australia
- The Dark Knight

But we never know... The Academy is often crazy xD

Gave last year's BP award to a stupid film in my opinion. I almost fell asleep... :) And 'Juno'? Please! Last year Juno should have been replaced by «American Gangster» and «Ultimatum» should have been more present in the nominations.

Let's at least hope for a third Nolan Batman.

Lucatero said...

I'm predicting Ledger's backlash and Eckhart's awards-love... Just a hunch

Anonymous said...

anyone noticed that DK is the only in the top 15 least beside potter films for WB

Anonymous said...

intrade, a site on which you can bet on competitions such as the one for "Best picture", gives Batman: the dark knight a 30 percent chance to win the oscar for best picture. Do you think it there is a 30 percent chance that batman will win?

Anonymous said...

It was said that if one of the movies which was supposed to be nominated for best film (even though they didn't come out at the time!) turned out to be terrible then "The Dark Knight" would be GUARANTEED a nomination. Guess what? Australia SUCKED!

Critics, fans, and moviegoers worldwide have praised "The Dark Knight" and all agree that it is more then deserving for Best Picture. The amount of money that it has managed to make in the Box Office speaks for itself.

It is unarguable that "The Dark Knight" should win for the following:

Best Picture
Best Supporting Actor (RIP Heath)
Best Cinematography
Best Sound/Sound Editing
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Director

"The Dark Knight" is by far the best film that has come out since "The Return of the King". The Academy was against it from the start because its a "superhero film". So what? It's not only got everything that a film needs to become the Best Picture of the year but also is the main reason why so many people are actually paying attention to the Oscars this year. If the Academy is smart they will recognize "The Dark Knight" for what it really is: An unforgettable masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

"The Dark Knight" has the support of pretty much anyone who has seen it regardless of whether the individual showed previous interest in Batman or not. Even critics worldwide agree that this movie should win Best Picture let alone be nominated.

To add more, "The Dark Knight" is one of those movies that will be vividly remembered and highly praised 20 years from now. We can't say the same for any of the other movies that have been released in 2008.

If the Academy can nominate a musical like "Chicago" for best picture and let it walk away with the Oscar then I don't see why they will have trouble giving the Oscar to "The Dark Knight", a movie that has truly earned it.

Anonymous said...

Remember when "Little Miss Sunshine"(a DRAMA) won best comedy just because the Academy didn't want to give the award to "Borat"? A movie that had the majority in tears of laughter from start to end?

Remember when "Juno" got nominated for Best Picture? Remember when "Chicago" not only won but also beat "LOTR" for Best Picture?

The Academy has a tendency of giving out Oscars to films that don't deserve it. This is why I don't care for The Oscars.

"The Dark Knight" is by far the BEST movie of 2008. I'm here to say don't get your hopes up because I'm certain that the Academy will give the Oscar to that "Slumdog" movie which is good BUT completely over-rated, hard to follow at times, and which contains the most unnecessary of endings (I refer of course to the musical sequence).