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Making the Oscar Consideration Case: The Dark Knight

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While Slumdog Millionaire took home the Golden Globe for “Best Motion Picture – Drama” against The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and Revolutionary Road, one serious contender was snubbed, left off the list. Why did The Dark Knight not receive a nomination?

Perhaps the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) thought that “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role” nominee (and winner) Heath Ledger solely made the picture what it was. Or maybe the 84 HFPA active members believe that any film with a comic-book superhero as its protagonist cannot be taken seriously as award-worthy drama.

Regardless, The Dark Knight has every reason to not only garner a “Best Picture” nomination, but also win the category at the Academy Awards next month. The production is as big a sequel as The Godfather Part II and The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (both Best Picture winners). In addition, it’s a year-defining and perhaps decade-defining motion picture.

Additionally, considering that it is ranked number two in all-time U.S. box office sales (behind another Best Picture winner in Titanic) and could potentially reach number one with a re-release, voters should see the signs and at least place The Dark Knight in the top five of 2008. Not that box office numbers have ever packed enough punch to dictate the Oscars, but The Dark Knight’s financial success ($531 million to date) makes it obvious that the picture’s word-of-mouth was extraordinary and that viewers who enjoyed it extensively rewarded it with multiple viewings.

Think about it: The Dark Knight = Best Picture. Why not? Check the official Oscar website on January 22 (after 5:30am) to see if The Dark Knight is in the running — maybe alongside the likes of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire, or even WALL•E.

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About Brandon Valentine

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    I agree it’s certainly one of the best five this year, but “ranked number two in all-time U.S. box office sales” is meaningless, especially when not the dollars are not adjusted

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    why does that movie really deserve anything? It had a good supporting actor, that is all it should win. It is not a drama (notice you said drama), it is an action movie.

  • zingzing

    and a rather poor action movie at that. i enjoyed heath ledger, but was extremely disappointed at the end of the movie. it goes on far too long and the action is cheap. meh. i can see why it was so popular, but i’d have to say it’s no spiderman 2. now that’s a good comic book movie adaptation thing.

    seriously, this movie is just a fanboy’s wet dream.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Dramas can have action in them.

  • http://www.valentineonfilm.com Brandon Valentine

    Perhaps Mr. Barga votes for the Golden Globes under a pseudonym. His presumption that The Dark Knight is “an action movie” is precisely what kept it out of the running for the Golden Globes and what may very well keep it out of the running for the Academy Awards.

    There is an unspoken mindset that certain types of films just aren’t worthy of award attention while others are. For instance, superhero action, comedy, and horror are largely unqualified. While there haven’t been worthy entries in the past, The Dark Knight has positioned itself ready to leap out as the dark horse for the Oscars.

    While I agree with The Insect that the numbers are meaningless in the grand scheme of things, they do say something. By the way, The Dark Knight qualified as Best Drama not Best Comedy or Musical.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Speaking of horror, “Let The Right One In” is one of the best films I saw this year.

    Adjusted for inflation, TDK doesn’t crack the top 20. Still, it will be interesting to see if the re-release can push it over $1B

  • Cornelius

    Everyone ta;ks about “adjusting for inflation” but what about adjusting for other factors such as “recession” or the fact that going to the pictures isn’t nearly as commonplace a Saturday night’s entertainment as it used to be in years gone by?

    If people are using the grossing of a movie loosely to estimate how much of an impact it has had, then other factors concerning the greater social context are also important.

    The Dark Knight deserves a best picture nomination without a doubt. If it doesn’t get one then people will look back in twenty years time and wonder what the academy were thinking.

  • derelict

    i think slumdog has a legitimate claim to the win.. don’t start throwing rocks just yet

    Batman was good but it was held up solely by heath ledger and not because it was some exceptional concept or the storyline. In fact with such a massive budget it would have been nearly impossible to not do a decent job in the least. Slumdog on the other hand was inspired by a low budget a strong will and an new concept. A superhero film winning the Oscars would be a disgrace to true art and a winning sense of originality

  • shirley

    the dark knight for the win!

  • http://www.valentineonfilm.com Brandon Valentine

    “In fact with such a massive budget it would have been nearly impossible to not do a decent job in the least.”

    The Dark Knight possessed a budget of $150 million. That’s $3 million less than Pearl Harbor, $10 million less than Van Helsing, $20 million less than Wild Wild West, $25 million less than Evan Almighty, $35 million less than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Troy, $103 million less than Spider-Man 3, and the same as X-Men: The Last Stand, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Hancock. Get the point?

  • http://www.valentineonfilm.com Brandon Valentine

    “A superhero film winning the Oscars would be a disgrace to true art and a winning sense of originality.”

    The Dark Knight isn’t just any superhero film. It’s The Godfather of superhero films and – hands down – one of the most deserving films of the year.

    Since when does a low budget and strong will account for anything? I think we’ve already established that budget is a moot point. Even though Slumdog is the favorite after garnering more buzz than a bee and taking home the Globe, will isn’t enough to earn Oscars. Yes, Slumdog is one of the year’s best, but The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a broader sweeping epic and The Dark Knight impresses with a wow factor not found in any other 2008 feature.

  • http://www.ahimaaz.com/2008/09/mad-twist-to-madness.html ahimaz

    TDK is classic tragedy which SM is not however good a film it is. TCBB is flawed. Other contenders I do not know coz I haven’t seen them. The Wrestler is the next best film after TDK as far as I can say.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I wonder what The Godfather of Adam Sandler movies is…

  • http://www.valentineonfilm.com Brandon Valentine

    That’s a random thought.

    Here, “The Godfather of” is used to denote a genre-defining motion picture. It would be difficult to say that one specific actor/actress has a “Godfather of” in their filmography. If your asking what Sandler’s best is, I’m torn between his dramatic turn in Punch Drunk Love and his good ole’ crazy comedy in Happy Gilmore.

    Anyways, great point ahimaz. Like The Dark Knight, The Wrestler deserves more nominations than just one in an acting category.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “A superhero film winning the Oscars would be a disgrace to true art and a winning sense of originality.”

    ah, yes, because Godfather Part II, The Return of the King, and all the winners based on plays and musicals were so original.

    “I wonder what The Godfather of Adam Sandler movies is”

    A better question would be “what is the ‘Mobsters’ of Adam Sandler movies is?”

  • heysupalex

    Ah, people dissing The Dark Knight. People so snobby that they can’t see past their own pretentiousness to find that The Dark Knight is the most exquisite, smart action film of modern cinema.

    I wish people would quit downing TDK just to rile people up and pretend to be some cool, against-the-grain loser.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Is it not possible that some people honestly just don’t like the film?