The Dark Knight vs. The Academy

This week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 81st Academy Awards. While Heath Ledger was nominated as Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (a category he won posthumously at the recent Golden Globes) for his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, the film itself did not make the cut for Best Picture nominees, Best Director, or Best Adapted Screenplay efforts. The Dark Knight did snag nominations for technical and artistic awards for the categories of Cinematography, Art Direction, Film Editing, Makeup, Sound (both Editing and Mixing), and Visual Effects.  

Today’s question: Is that enough positive attention for this year’s biggest box office draw and the film that many view as the best and brightest comic book adaptation ever produced?

What say ye, iFanstaff?


Obviously this film was worthy of a Best Film nomination, at the very least. In the past the Oscars have rarely acknowledged the films that I enjoy, so as a measurement of quality they’re not really relevant to me. I don’t see the Oscars as a litmus test of quality, more a test of marketing budget, timing, and popularity. To be honest, I never even paid much attention to them until I moved to the States, it was just one more ostentatious and tasteless display of wealth. Now that I’m part of this whole crazy culture, it’s fun to observe, but I still am not surprised when this organization doesn’t speak to my taste.

The Dark Knight‘s direction, script, plot, and art direction was masterful, the casting was brilliant, and the actors were all superlative, but why would the Oscar’s notice? Now The Dark Knight joins many of my favorite films in not being nominated for an award for best film. I’m really not surprised, at least a few of the films that they did nominate aren’t all that bad either. The modern American mythology that is superheroes is increasingly an acceptable part of our culture, but there are still caveats. One of these is clearly that it doesn’t qualify for a major award.

Sonia Harris

The Dark Knight is easily one of the year’s best films, and just as easily one of the best superhero movies on the books. I’d name it the top of its own category, those darker comic book films (with Iron Man as the pinnacle of lighter, action-adventure fair.)  2008 was a great year for movies, especially towards the end there. And I’ve had the opportunity to see the majority of the films named in this batch of nominations. If I were asked this question of The Dark Knight‘s merits for Best Picture back in November, I’d have named it in my top five. It deserved that Oscar nod. 

Then December happened.

For me, it’s not a question of anything being wrong with The Dark Knight, but a question of  how the other contenders slip past it for my affections. I have plans to see The Reader tomorrow, so I can’t vouch for that one quite yet. As for the other nominees, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, and Frost/Nixon are ridiculously good films. If there’s a weak link in this group, it’s Benjamin Button, a film that I adored, but not without reservations. And if I were to take Benjamin Button out of the running, I’d have to replace it with The Wrestler or Doubt, which rank at the very, very top of my list. If I’m bitter about any slight by the Academy, it’s the exclusion of those two films from the Best Picture nominations and not The Dark Knight‘s. As Oscar night draws near you’ll be able to read my thoughts on the  nominated films at our sister site Murmur, but for now, let’s just focus on The Dark Knight and this controversy.

People are up in arms about this supposed slight, and while I agree that it’s frustrating that the movie didn’t get this accolade, I don’t think we should take it as a major offense on the part of the Academy. In another year, I think The Dark Knight could have stood a chance, but there was some really fierce competition during Oscar season. The nominated films aren’t stuffy in the least, and I urge you to go out and see them. The Dark Knight was a major triumph and raised the bar for comic book adaptations, action films, and even crime dramas. There’s no taking away its intense level of quality or our enjoyment. Awards offer a level of prestige, but they’re not the last word in terms of a film’s success. The numbers speak for themselves. This film isn’t hurting for attention, and for better or for worse, filmmakers will be using it as a model in the years ahead. This is an unmitigated success story.

Paul Montgomery


There is a notion that has gone through some segments of Hollywood and through the entertainment media in the last few years, which has gained momentum as the television audience for the annual Academy Awards ceremony dwindles, that the Academy should start nominating and giving out awards to higher profile movies. This notion claims that the Academy Awards are losing touch with the people who go to the movies.
I vehemently reject this notion. The Academy Awards are not The People’s Choice Awards, and the opinions of the audience have no bearing on industry awards that reward excellence in artistry.

That having been said The Dark Knight and director Christopher Nolan in particular got the royal screw job from the Academy.

I’ve seen talk on the internet from people dismissing The Dark Knight as “a great action movie, but still just an action movie” an observation I find hilariously ironic coming from comic book fans who are always proclaiming that comic books don’t belong in a ghetto and are just as valid a form of entertainment as anything else.

When exactly did Best Picture become Best Dramatic Picture? Are films that feature action somehow disqualified from being one of the best pictures of the year? Someone should tell Peter Jackson to return his Oscars. Speaking of which, I don’t think many would deny that The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King deserved its Best Picture and Best Director Oscars, and that film was much more of a straight-up action-adventure picture than The Dark Knight, a film that is really much more of a crime thriller than an action movie. I think all three of those Rings deserved the Best Picture Oscar.

(It was said at the time that the reason why the first two Rings pictures didn’t win the Best Picture Oscar was because the Academy was waiting until the last film to “recognize” the trilogy, which kind of shows you how ridiculous this all is anyway. Imagine if the Academy had waited for the third Godfather film. But I digress)

I love small intimate pictures that tear your heart out, or reveal hidden nuances of the human condition, or make your spirit soar as much as any film nerd. But there’s a reason why The Dark Knight is so special, why it blew everyone away. It’s a rarity that someone makes a big budget film that ambitious in scope and does it with such near-flawless precision. Is anyone surprised that Frost/Nixon is fantastic? Or The Reader? Or Slumdog Millionaire? I’m not. That is not to say that it’s easy to make fantastic small dramas, but it’s certainly expected and there are probably 20 of them that could make it on to the Best Picture nomination list this year. And you know what else? The Dark Knight did tear my heart out, it did reveal hidden nuances about the human condition, and it did make my spirit sour. It’s just that it did all three of them and that it was hidden beneath the veneer of a crime thriller featuring Batman, The Joker, and Two-Face.

I’m actually less annoyed by The Dark Knight being shut out of Best Picture than I am of Christopher Nolan not getting a Best Director nomination.

In my opinion The Dark Knight was a tour de force directorial feat. Nolan took a film with immense size and scope and he made it feel like a small, intimate drama. He fashioned an unrelenting look at modern fears of anarchy and terror in a world beyond our control. Watching The Dark Knight felt like Nolan reached through my chest and slowly squeezed my heart over the course of two hours. Nolan oversaw one performance for the ages and quite a few others that are equally up to the task but are overshadowed by Heath Ledger. This is a film full of powerhouse acting.

Are these not all skills that make a great director? The Directors Guild of America seemed to think so when they nominated him for Best Director for The Dark Knight, and I’d think that they know what one is.

Conor Kilpatrick

There is no question that The Dark Knight was the best movie I saw in 2008, but I feel like that opinion would have a lot more weight if I’d seen another movie in 2008.

That’s an exaggeration, but not much of one. My Netflix queue has both length and girth, but when it came to paying ten bucks to sit with strangers and their cell phones last year, I think I left the house about five times, mostly to see things that were adapted from other things I already had in my house. Although I will see all of the Best Picture nominees (24 hours) before the Oscars are handed out, as of now I can’t say any of them are undeserving of their accolades because I haven’t laid eyes on a one of them.

Isn’t that the basic function of the Oscars now, though? Bringing attention to good movies that may not have gotten it otherwise? Why else hold the releases of so many of these films until the last 45 minutes of December? You’ll have your occasional hobbit Oscar or Titanic Oscar, but generally speaking E.T. loses to Gandhi (when’s the last time you popped in that three-day masterpiece?) and Star Wars loses to… wait a minute, really? Annie Hall??

How much should you even worry about an award that regards Star Wars and Annie Hall as basically the same thing?

Good news, though: it doesn’t matter. Do you really need the Academy to validate for you whether or not this was a good movie? Are you really worried that The Dark Knight did not receive its fair share of recognition in 2008? In the span of the last six or seven months, it has become one of the biggest box office successes of all time. This movie made more money last year than the nation of East Timor. (Look it up!) Your grandma has seen it a couple of times. Everyone has had a chance to weigh in, and other than my friend Ken’s blog, I don’t think I’ve seen a flatly negative review of it anywhere. There is nobody left who needs to be told that they made a good Batman movie this year. They did, however, just make the difference for me between seeing Slumdog Millionaire and skipping it. It all depends on what you really think the Oscars should be for, I guess.

Jim Mroczkowski

More importantly, what say ye, iFanbase? 



  1. You know how a video game comes out with a comic book license, and it isn’t very good, and because of the license some comic finds can think it’s great while the uninitiated see a bad game?

    That principle applies here in movies. Sorry kiddos, but TDK wasn’t that great. It netted what it deserved and no more. Maybe you could argue a director nod, but I’d think you’re nuts and would say it has no chance. Best Picture? What the hell are you on?

    The film is almost all set pieces. Effective set pieces, but just an endless string of them nonetheless. It goes on for so long at a pace that feels excessive. TDK is like the film equivelant of 24: fun, but come on, not high art. I enjoyed it. I wondered if Ledger would get an Oscar from the grave, but I didn’t expect much more than that and sure as hell didn’t think it was one of the year’s best.

    Don’t blame the academy for your bad taste or lack of experience in film.

  2. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I think Conor raises a really good point about Nolan and the Best Director category.  I wasn’t really looking at this on an individual basis in terms of effort.  Nolan certainly had a harder job than many of the directors this year, at least a more complicated job on a grander scale in terms of production.  And you could certainly say the finished product is remarkably well directed, but do we look at it on the basis of how much work it was or just how cohesive the film is on its own scale?  Should bigger films like DK be graded differently than more intimate films like Doubt? 

  3. Haha!  We already have a winner! No one needs to post any further comments.

  4. More importantly, for some reason, the word nod bugs me when used in the context of awarrd nominations or references to something. "Directorial nod"? Really?

  5. Well, if you want it less callous: I agree with Paul. =b

  6. I’m just gonna ignore kthx.


  7. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    "Nod" comes from the Hyperborean term "Charrl K’nod" which refers to a celebratory wreath of wildflowers and snake pelts awarded to warrior chieftans with great organizational skills.  Each spring. 

  8. @Kthyk: That’s fine, I have no problem with you aagreeig with Paul.  Your comment gave me my first big laugh of the day, though, so for that I thank you.

  9. 1,000,000,000 George Washingtons and Euro’s can’t be wrong. In ten years no one is going to remember Button or Frost/Nixon. TDK will be shown to your children’s children. Nuff’ Said

  10. I don’t think I was as bothered by the Academy snubbing Dark Knight after December rolled around (though I will say Gran Torino got the shaft) as much as I was annoyed of them saying "Oh, we don’t consider action films" as the reason.  Which is crap.  You’ve nominated/given Best Picture, in the past to Return of the King, Gladiator, The Fugitive, Braveheart, and a bunch of others that are just as action-heavy as The Dark Knight.  In 1981, they gave a nod to Raiders of the Lost Ark, an out and out, dyed in the wool popcorn action flick.  In 1998, they gave a record number of Oscars to a totally safe popcorn flick Titanic, which you know was on the basis that it was the most popular movie of all time.  So, if they want to say that it was a tough year with a lot of good movies, okay, but don’t give me this "We don’t include action movies" when you totally have in the most recent past.

    And, yeah, Nolan should’ve got Best Director.

  11. Seeing this film not nominated for Best Picture really pissed me off. I posted on the forums on how ridiculous that films like Slumdog Millionare and The Reader gets nominations when obviously the most talked about film gets thrown in the trash.

    Then the film nerd in me comes in and violently kills the comic nerd in me….and I accept that it isnt up for best picture. The Oscars isnt about giving awards to box office greats or to give it to the film that most people liked……Well except for that year with Titanic….anyways my point is that the Academy gives out award for artistic talent and achievements in film. The Dark Knight proved how incredible comic book films can be, but really for the most part it’s a generic action film. That’s not to discredit TDK, it is one of the best films of 2008. But when you take out all of the Joker scenes and the very emotional ending, this is basically a basic Batman story.

    Frost/Nixon took a great historical view on one of the greatest interviews ever given. Benjamin Button was a great peice on human emotions and had some great acting in it as well. Slumdog Millionare was an inside look at the lives of poor people in India and gave us a different take on a romance film. Milk and The Reader, although I havent seen yet, must’ve done also some artistic styles in order to get noticed by the academy. What was TDK essentially? Just another Batman film with some great special effects and the only big difference was that the script, the directing, and the villain was miles better from all superhero films.

    That’s what I’m more pissed off about, and conor said it perfectly. Christopher Nolan did a marvelous job directing TDK and the script by Chris and Johnathan Nolan was excellent. The Joker’s monologue’s alone should’ve gotten them the award for screenplay. So who got robbed in this snub? The Nolan brothers for directing and writing; not for the best picture.

  12. The Acedemy has a history of ignoring films with any element of the fantastic, and even though Nolan’s Batman is grounded in reality, its comic book roots did it in. Which is a shame! Still, Peter Jackson won for the third LOTR, so maybe on the next outing? Not like Nolan needs any more pressure than he’s already under…

    Personally, I haven’t watched the Oscars in years. I always enter a contest or two, and enjoy seeing the lists of nominees and then winners, but the show itself…meh. 

    My top three films of the year (in no particular order): Slumdog Millionaire, TDK, and the The Vistor. Sadly, I haven’t seen any of the Best Picture nominees other than Slumdog, so I can’t say anything regarding them yet. I need to get on that…

  13. For the record, I enjoyed Dark Knight.  That being said, it’s going to be interesting to see how well it holds up 20 years from now.  I remember when Batman came out in ’89 and people thought it was amazing.  Watch it now though, and it’s not nearly as good as I remembered it being.  You look at the movies that won best picture in ’88, ’89 and ’90 and you have Rain Main, Driving miss daisy and dances with wolves.  Those movies held up fairly well.  In 20 years, I’ll be curious if I look back at Dark Knight with the same feelings I have for it now.

  14. I like Annie Hall a good deal more than Star Wars. And I like Star Wars. It’s maybe a tiny bit better than Empire Strikes Back as well. It’s a fabulous movie.

  15. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    When criticizing the Academy for not nominating a film with fantastical elements, remember that Benjamin Button is all over those lists.  And if that’s not fantastical…

  16. While I’ll was pulling for TDK for Best Pic, I’m definietly in the Best Director Nom for Nolan camp.  @ Paul: I don’t think larger scale films should be graded differently in regards to directing or the film itself.  While TDK certainly had a larger production than most of the nominated films, if a director and a film can convey to an audience what they intended, and do it intelligently and well, the playing field should be even.

  17. @kthx – No offense, but you might want to read this article ( and the attached discussion before posting again…on any website….ever.

  18. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @hbkhumanity – To be clear, I agree with you.  I just think it’s an interesting question. 

  19. I agree with Jim in that we really don’t need the Oscars to tell us it was an awesome movie, still I can’t help but feel dissapointed.  Let’s face it, they give Oscars to mainstream movies.  Despite Heath Ledger giving an amazing performance, I can’t help but feel that it’s a sympathy vote that’s got him the nomination.  He would never have got it if he were still alive, because they don’t give oscars to comic book movies, no matter how good they are.  I really thought they were changing their ways after Return of the King’s clean sweep, but I guess it’s more important to stroke the ego’s of the talentless hacks of Hollywood than the people who really deserve them

  20. @Paul: What other fantasy element then aging from old to young did you see in Benjamin Button? If you think that is what all Benjamin Button is about then you must’ve not watched it at all. It was a coming of age tale and what one man would do to get the love of his life.

    While Dark Knight had a film with a man dress in latex, using NASA like technology, a villain dressed up in clown make-up, another villain who has half of his face burnt, some characters falling off buildings or getting into crashes and surviving…..So yes even though Nolan wrote/directed the film to feel more realistic; TDK is much more fantasy then Benjamin Button will ever be.

  21. @Paul: That’s what I figured, I was just "weighing in."  In regards to fantastical films, it’s only more dissapointing that is wasn’t nominated when such films (some already mentioned here) like Jaws, CE3K, Star Wars, Raiders, ET were.  Maybe academy members had more of an imagination in the late 70’s early 80’s.

  22. @TheNextChampion That just proves they only see what’s on the surface of a film.  But that’s the bane of comic book/sci-fi/fantasy films, is that they have great stories, but you have to look past a dude dressed as a bat to see it, and that’s not something they do very well at all

  23. @VampiraJen: I gotta disagree with one of your point.  Ledger was going to get nominated (and probably win) even if he had lived.  He was geteting Oscar buzz even before his untimely death.  There is no overlooking that performance.

  24. @Vampira: Well no I think TDK is more then just a fantasy/action film. But again, other then the Joker’s monologues and the fantastic Gordon speech at the end…..What else in the film felt like it was more then just a comic book film?

    Again I dont think TDK is simple by any means. But if Paul thinks Benjamin Button is fantasy then he A) didnt watch the film and B) thought TDK is equal to The Godfather.

  25. @Paul Button is based on "serious" literature, not "comic books." I disagree, but that distinction helps the Academy sleep at night.

  26. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @TNC – ………

    It’s either fantastical or it isn’t.  It’s not a question of degrees.  I’ve heard a lot of people complain that the Academy is snubbing films with a fantasy element.  Benjamin Button is a fantasy film.  That’s not a limiting term.  I enjoyed it quite a bit, and your suggesting that I only saw it for it’s fantasy elements is sort of insulting.  I’m not weighing one against the other.  Just stating a fact.  It’s a movie with fantasy elements.  Therefore, the Academy isn’t snubbing Dark Knight for that reason.   

  27. @TDK: I’d say the entirety of THE DARK KNIGHT (besides the names and costumes) elevated the film above it being "just a comic book film".  This was a serious crime thriller that happens to feature super heroes.

  28. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @androidmoser – Benjamin Button might be based on the work of a literary powerhouse, but it’s actually not that highly regarded a work.  It’s a scrappy little genre piece as well written for a magazine.  If you read the story (you can find it free online) it isn’t all that impressive.  And the film is very, very looseley based on that source. 

    Again though, I’d remove Button from the running and add The Wrestler.  And that still leaves Doubt hanging.  It’s absurd that a movie with nods for script, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and two Best Supporting Actresses is not also up for Best Picture.  That’s the real craziness in all of this.

  29. I don’t want to continue to stir the pot (he said as he commenced doing so anyway), but just in response to a comment made by VampiraJen about "…they don’t give oscars to comic book movies, no matter how good they are."

    Can you really think of another comic book film (and I assume we’re talking about superhero films as opposed to things like American Splendor, Road to Perdition or A History of Violence, all of which have garnered nominations) that deserved a nomination?

    I mean, besides the Dolph Lungren Punisher, which in retrospect after the other two films is nearly Shakespearean in its execution?

  30. I tend not to care what large bodies of very wealthy snobs think about art.

    Citizen Kane didn’t win best picture. But a lot of forgetable films have.

    Neither James Joyce nor Marcel Proust, the greatest Modernist authors, received Nobel Prizes in Literature. And neither did Shakespeare, for that matter.

    The masses always decide what contemporary works of art are successful, financially speaking. And the critics and critical-minded readers decide what works of the past are worth bringing up again and again. All the Academy does is inject a last burst of HYPE into movies, and not all people are succeptible to hype. This year some people succeptible to HYPE will decide to see whichever movie wins best picture simply BECAUSE that movie won best picture. And that’s fine. That movie will probably be pretty good. But no one cares any more that The English Patient won best picture a dozen years ago; the accolade doesn’t mean much, and what it does mean (HYPE) doesn’t last for very long.

    The Dark Knight was the best movie I saw last year, but I saw very few movies. I don’t care if it wins or not. It doesn’t need any more hype. I don’t need to turn on the tv and see it hyped anymore. 

    I care infinitely more about finding movies that I can get something out of than I do about having my own opinions about art mirrored or contradicted by an academy. And more than that, I care about things like Diamond and DC cutting their work force, which I just heard about. And even more than that, I care about the reasons why this (very real) Financial Crisis is happening. Worrying about whether a dead actor gets an award or not is almost meaningless to me.

  31. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    For the record, I care about the Financial Crisis too. 

    Just discussin’. 

  32. So why did you just write several paragraphs about something you don’t care about?  It’s a comic book site.  We’re not trying to change the world.  Sheesh.

  33. We’re not trying to change the world?

    *Quickly goes back to edit mission statement*

  34. I’m undecided about whether TDK should have been nominated — I haven’t seen all the nominated films, nor have I seen a lot of others that I’ve heard good things about –but it’s interesting to see everybody’s perspective.

    I think Jimski really nails it when he says that this conversation changes depending on what you think the Oscars are for.  In some perspectives they are FOR exactly what we are doing here — getting people to argue about the merits of various movies, and what standards we should use to evaluate them.  I’m more of the school that I like to see as many good and interesting movies get exposure as possible.  "Slumdog Millionaire" wouldn’t be playing in all the theaters it’s in now if it weren’t for the awards it’s won.  Should that be a criteria for voting?  Probably not, but fortunately I don’t have to decide who to vote for, I can just enjoy the results. 

    If I was going to regret anybody being excluded from nominations, it would be Robert Downey Jr. for his role in ‘Iron Man.’  I think he absolutely carried that film in a way I’ve rarely seen.  But I think the film is seen as too ‘lightweight’ to merit a best lead actor nomination (while it’s ok to be nominated for best supporting actor for a comedy like Tropic Thunder; it’s not as big an award, which is why the nominees are more diverse, including Ledger’s performance as the Joker).

  35. It is not surprising that The Dark Knight didn’t get the nods.  While it was certainly good and exceeded expectations, it was not without its serious flaws.  And at least one of those flaws is from the thing that ties it to the action movie ghetto.  I mean, the cellphone sonar vision?  That was completely unnecessary.  I get it.  Batman is better than George W. Bush because he’s going to give up the surveillance power when he no longer needs it and we should let the Patriot Act expire, or something.  The script is already a little meandering.  Do we really need one more ethical lesson?

    Here’s why it shouldn’t be nominated for Best Director especially and Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture as well: The ending completely undermines the thematic notions of the whole movie.  I’ve said it before, probably in the comments section of this very website.  But let’s do it again.  Julia Roberts’ brother says, "You won’t kill me, because it’s the one line you won’t cross."  And he’s right.  Bats just breaks his leg.  Then he goes out of his way to save insane super-genius mastermind The Joker from falling to his death during their dangerous highrise fight.  And the Joker laughs and says, "Oh, you won’t even kill me? That’s the line you won’t cross.  We’re going to dance forever, putting so many people at risk of death because you won’t cross that line.  Aren’t you an ethical being."  Then, he confronts Two-face, a guy who has killed one or two criminals and corrupt cops because he’s essentially having a really bad day and has kind of lost it.  And bam, he dies in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY THAT THE JOKER DOESN’T.  So, either their point was that The Joker wins and evil is way better than good, or the director and the writers couldn’t shepherd that basic character element through the last ten minutes of their epic masterpiece.

    I like the movie.  It’s good.  But it didn’t get snubbed.  I think it rightfully got edged out by better movies.  The Oscars are not the People’s Choice Awards.  Their the filmmaking community voting on what they think are the best examples of their artforms.  We’ve let marketing make these things as important as they are, more important than the Golden Globes, which is an international collection of critics voting and arguably should be more prestigious by that criteria

  36. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Who deserves more of a nod?  RDJ in Iron Man (Best Actor) or Aaron Eckhart in DK(Supporting Actor)?

    Or maybe Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, or Morgan Freeman?  

    I like Mickey Rourke or Penn for Best Actor and Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Best Supporting.  For me, none of the Iron Man or DK performances even come close.  And they’re still wonderful, wonderful performances.  

  37. Funny thing is, the two pre-eminent comic book movies of 2008 — TDK and Iron Man — were sort of allegorical of the state of our United States, economically, politically, and internationally, living in a post-fear reality. Sure, Iron Man was more technicolor than Nolan’s grey vision, but they both encapsulated a good amount of zeitgeisty themes… just as many as Frost/Nixon, the Reader, Slumdog, etc, tackled. The supposed reasons to disqualify TDK from a nomination — "it’s a dumb action movie" — seem to me to melt under that scrutiny.

  38. @dshramek: Considering the open secret in Hollywood that the Golden Globes voters are routinely paid off for their votes it will never have the stature that the Academy Awards has.  Nor should it.

  39. @conor: I don’t think it should have any more stature, I’m just saying that it, on the surface, has just as much claim to that legitmacy.  The point really is that it’s filmmakers voting on what they think is the most exemplary work in their field.  Either we buy it or we don’t.

  40. I’m too worried about this issue personally.

  41. Not!

  42. Can we agree on one thing this week?  How about this?

    I really want to throw my Dark Knight disc in the player right now.  Who’s with me?

  43. @Josh: I’ll be watching on the ferry soon.

  44. Christopher Nolan deserves a directorial nomination. The script POSSIBLY deserves a nomination. Still, as much as I don’t think the 5 nominated Best Picture films all deserve to be on the ballot, I don’t think The Dark Knight should be the one to replace any of them. It did a great thing in making comic movies more accessible and awesome, but I don’t think it was one of the 5 best movies this year.

  45. The oscar nominations this year were really fucking dissapointing.  First off, my two favotite films were not nominated for any of the three catagories that they deserved.  Gran Torino and the dark knight.  Instead, shit like benjerman button and mediocre films like the reader stole their slots.  Also, the fact that by far the best three directorial jobs, aronofski, eastwood and nolan, were not nominated.  I loved Milk, but lets be honest; what gus van sant did was point the camera and press the on button. 


    However, the screenplay of in Bruge was nominated…..thats good. 

  46. ::sighs.:: I will repeat what I said on other messages boards. It just doesn’t deserve awards, I’m sorry. Disagree, call me an ass, whatever, but it doesn’t. Ledger and Eckhart deliver solid performances, but everyone else phones it in or has strep throat.

    Good film? Yes. Award winning film masterpiece? No. It’s a far cry from Ben-Hur or Lawrence of Arabia. Sorry to spoil that. 😉 

  47. The Academy Awards have the worst taste when it comes to their BP noms. Middlebrow fare such as Frost/Nixon, Slumdog and The Reader are such obvious and lazy picks. Not even remotely deserving of being among the best of the year.

    I still wouldn’t consider TDK as top tier for 2008, but it was certainly better than pap such as Slumdog./eye roll

  48. I don’t have a huge problem with it not being nominated, nor would I have had a huge problem with it being nominated.  

  49. I would never say the Dark Knight is on par with Lawrence of Arabia or Ben-Hur because it just isn’t true.  However, I would say that neither Titanic nor Return of the King are either on par from them either.  And would I say that Titanic is a better movie than the Dark Knight?  Yea– no.

  50. I think Wall-E more deserved a nomination for BP than Button, or TDK for that matter, and probably over The Reader as well although I haven’t seen it.  The Best Picture win should go to Slumdog anyway though.

  51. Slumdog Millionaire was a fanastiscally loveable film, but the critical dialogue surrounding it is obscene.

    I don’t put too much stock into the Oscars, so that’s all I wanted to. 

  52. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Maudy – I don’t think I understand.  "Obscene?"  Not sure what you mean.  

  53. Me, I no longer take these awards personally. Now, in 1982, when I was twelve, I was highly pissed off that Raiders of the Lost Ark didn’t win. Highly. Pissed. Off. I got over it. Remember, this is the same group of people who thought Dances With Wolves was better than Goodfellas.

    I’m more upset – which is to say "gee, I’m only mildly piqued" – that a mediocre film – The Reader  -recieved a nomination. It’s just not very good. Not bad, just not good. Doubt, Gran Torino, WALL-E and yes, TDK, were all clearly superior efforts and will be remembered as such. Unless The Reader wins, no one outside of cast and crew family members will ever know it existed ten years down the line. It will sit gathering dust in the Holocaust drama section of the movie store, along side other mediocre (yet award winning) fare such as The Pianist and Life is Beautiful. 

    But no, I’m not surprised neither Dark Knight nor Nolan got a nod. It doesn’t make the movie any less fricken cool now, does it?

  54. You either have the lauding of exaltive puffery the movie is receiving from critics that want to attribute to false notion that it is "the film world’s first globalized masterpiece", a kind of world-reaching cosmopolitan film. Or you have those who fastidiously decry it as somehow exploitative of true Bollywood filmmaking or insensitive towards the impoverished of the Indian metropolis. :-/

  55. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Maudy – Am I allowed to just like it though?  For being good? 

  56. @Paul  Only if Grant Morrison wrote it.

  57. Okay, this is the filmmaker wannabe/nerd part of me, but I was watching the Dark Knight the other day and realized that there is not one frame of that movie that wasn’t necessary.  The scenes started exactly where they should.  Even when they are just showing off scenery, there is something important going on audio wise.  This is how to make an emotional action movie.

  58. I don’t see why everyone has to bitch about how bad the other movies supposedly are, or at least how average they are, I suppose.  As Paul said, can’t I just like a bunch of things?

  59. I..uhm…started…reading the comments and then…kind of stopped…halfway through so…maybe I won’t really post anything that hasn’t already been said, but I’ll weigh in anyway.

    While TDK brought the thrills and chills, I connected more emotionally with other films in 2008 and so would look elsewhere for my nod on Best Picture (whoopdedoo).

    I think from last year, my favorite movie was probably Tarsem’s The Fall (sure it was in the can 2006, but it was finally released last year). Was Dark Knight probably the better movie technically? It’s a close call, but I’ll give it a "yes." The Fall ending up connecting with me on an emotional level though; given the Academy’s list of nominees maybe the same is true for their list of Best Picture? I see an awful lot of character-driven tear-jerkers, is all I’m saying.

    I think the real crime was the snub Nolan’s work behind the camera got, or how the score or script was ignored. Regardles of how the other movies made you feel, or what they did, or however they spoke to you, Nolan tore your eyes out and made them his love-slave.  The Dark Knight was next to flawless for it’s parts, if not the sum itself.

    I’m with Sonia though, the Academy usually picks on (not up) my favorites of the year, 2008 was no different.

  60. @Otto – Is opting not to nominate a favorite film really "picking on" it?  If anything it’s just a sin of ommission. 

    It’s not a blacklisting, I don’t think.  Just that they’re more attentive to and appreciative of other films.  

    I hadn’t heard of The Fall.  I’ll have to check it out.  

  61. @Paul – Being ignored, one sometimes projects malicious intent where none ever existed. 🙂

    I think by and large, you’re right, it’s omission pure and simple, and probably not malicious. Honestly though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Dark Knight wasn’t picked because it was too successful in the unwashed plebian sort of way. Maybe I’m being silly, but sometimes the Academy’s seem to be handed out more on Statements then Merit. *shrugs* But again, maybe I’m just being silly.

    Also: The Fall is bloody brilliant.

    …after watching the trailer, I’m probably going to go watch it again tonight.

  62. Who cares? We all know that "Best Picture" does not, in fact, mean it was the best picture. For example, L.A. Confidential AND The Full Monty were both better than Titanic in 1997 and I defy anyone to tell me that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon wasn’t a better than Gladiator in 2000.

    So fuck the Academy. Hell, the really great movies often don’t even get nominated, like Almost Famous in 2000 and Far From Heaven in 2002.

    Personally, I’m just glad Ledger got nominated. I hope he wins, ’cause he deserves it more than the rest of the group. (Hoffman should have won in 1999 for Flawless.)


  63. Technically he’s right.  Best Picture is actually the Irving Thalberg Award, and it’s really a producer’s award.

  64. @Diabhol: You arguement is quickly ignored when you say Crouching Tiger is better then Gladiator 🙂

    Some people already mentioned it but I’m surprised there is no uproar for Iron Man not having any big nominations at all. Robert Downey Jr. was funny in Tropic Thunder; but he deserves more kudos for Iron Man for taking on a serious role for a huge blockbuster action film. There’s something else that flabbergasts me as a film nerd….Tropic Thunder got an oscar nomination? Wha!?

  65. Just my two cents, but I was fine with the lack of nominations for TDK.  I don’t think that Benjamin Button deserved 13 (or even a Best Picture nomination over something like Gran Torino), but I just didn’t find it compelling.  In fact, for my money I felt almost as frustrated walking out at the end of TDK as i did at Indiana Jones — the more you think about it the more the plot falls apart (or you just have to believe that the citizens of Gotham are complete idiots!).  Iron Man was my favourite movie of the year, but I can understand it not getting a nomination.

    As for the Tropic Thunder nomination, I actually remember thinking that Downey’s performance was a lot like Ledger’s — lots of makeup, very different from what you would expect of them, and very immersive, but I don’t know that there was anything subtle about either of them, or that either showed any character development — which are things I would associate with being a "best" actor.

  66. Yeah, The Dark Knight was great, but we all know the movie that really got screwed here is The Wrestler.  Actually, nothing from my top five is nominated, but no one expected Iron Man or Wall•E to be anywhere near the best picture list.  Most years I’d be surprised Gran Torino didn’t get nominated… or was that too late?  Of the stuff on the list, I’m rooting for Frost Nixon but I’d be okay with Milk, too.

  67. @Teddet, I think it’s more about enhancing the story and giving the movie weight than quite developing the character forward.  Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men might be a good example.

  68. @JackBurton – I’d call social service if you don’t also get them a copy of Bambi.

    As for the usual "it’s comicbooks so it got screwed" – stop whining.

    And if we can’t change the world, Obama is a liar! 

  69. Just because comic book movies are "cool" right now & they’re making bank, don’t kid yourself into thinking the general public or the Academy has any type of respect for comic books, or movies about them. To most people, comics are still seen as "kids stuff" or strictly for geeks (see, The Big Bang Theory for the non-comic reading populations view of us) so it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that Dark Knight has been snubbed.

  70. I’m just here to say Annie Hall won over Star Wars because it’s flat out a better movie. Love them both though. 

  71. I have to admit, this years oscar list looked real political to me.  You know?  The politics of Hollywood.  The power people (couples?) simply continuing to pat each other on the back, and the non-power players simply wanting to stroke egos to get in the good books.

    Anyways, it’s just a feeling, I have no evidence.

    That said, Goodfellas got screwed.

    THAT said, go Slumdog Millionaire!

  72. @CAM: Dances with Wolves was a much better film, and it was more artistic then Goodfellas. So I dont think it got screwed there.

    What got screwed was Maltese Falcon and Citizen Kane. They lost to How Green is My Valley! Now ‘How Green’ was a great non-western by John Ford…..but Citizen Kane was the lesser of those three films? No way!


    ….I’m sure 90% of the people on this site have no idea now what those three films are.

  73. I’m with @kthx 100%. Did we, the comic book readers and moviegoing nerds enjoy TDK more than any other movie we’ve ever seen? Sure, some of us did. Did TDK make more money than any film since Titanic? If not, it came pretty damn close. Was TDK the best picture of the year? Definitely not. Not even close. Not even in the top 10. There were better action movies this year and, in my opinion, there were better comic based movies this year too. No complaints with the performances of the principal cast (unless you count Maggie Gylenhall in that group), no complaints with the story, or the camera work, but something about it just screamed "average film-making". It didn’t blow me away the way Atonement did last year, or The Departed the year before, or Crash in 2005.

    Most of the time, films are nominated and awarded best picture based on some kind of achievement in film-making. What did TDK achieve?

    Now, I’m not saying that the Academy Awards aren’t political at times, but just because a movie is popular, doesn’t mean it deserves the Best Picture Award. Remember, this is the same nation that elected George W. Bush to the office of president. We don’t always make the best decisions en masse.

  74. Easy on the politics there. No need to start arguing about something else.

  75. i always find it funny when people get upset about this like this. it just an award. it matters less than a nonbinding resolution. if you think the movie should be awarded a best picture award then start an award show and give it one. really, i am not kidding. that is how the oscars got started.

    it seems to me that people try to turn art in to sports with it comes to these award shows. in sports it is very easy to find a winner, the best team of the year if you will. the team that scores the most points wins the game. the team that wins the most games wins the championship. all teams play by the same rules and all teams are playing for the same goal. art isn’t like that at all.

    in movies for example some movies intend to just make you laugh, some intend to make you laugh and also learn a leason about life while others intend to make you laugh and also expose an important social problem.  all are comendies but they are not playing by the same rules and they do not have the same goals. that makes it very judge which is the best comendy much less comparing them to other genres.

    i really don’t see how people do it. just some food for thought.

  76. Sorry Josh, just making a point. Didn’t mean to bring politics into it.

    @comhcinc – Personally, I go by which film affected me the most, or had me still thinking about it the longest after the credits rolled. Sometimes thats a comedy, sometimes its an action movie, but mostly its a drama with lots of dialogue since those just tend to get me thinking the most.

  77. @geekmonkey

    Superman?  Christopher Reeve for best actor, Marlon Brando for best supporting, Richard Donner for director, John Williams for the score, hell, it should have been awarded Best Film.  And lest we not forget the major technical breakthrough it was in making you believe a man could fly.  

  78. I blame Bale’s Batman voice.

    "Then you’ll love me!"

    its his fault

  79. I’m in the Paul/Conor camps on this one, I think. Though, I will say I believe The Wrestler(maybe my favorite of the year) was snubbed more than TDK by the Academy. I’ll give credit and say a directorial nom should go to Nolan. I’m on the fence about the screenplay, even though Nolan says that his actor’s perform it to a t and that’s why there are not really any deleted scenes lying around the cutting room floor. Still, I agree that this isn’t the People’s Choice awards, but they do need to get their act together. Benjamin Button was even top form and seemed like a Forrest Gump rehash(same writers?). I love this trailer for Button that shows it’s Gump-ness.

  80. I meant to say that Benjamin Button wasn’t in top form, as compared to the movies it’s nominated with. Though, I will give that movie credit in the effects department on Benjamin, himself.

  81. I liked Dark Knight alot, but it doesn’t bother me that it didn’t get the nom.  I just hope it goes to Slumdog.  That is easily in my top 5 movies of all time.  Just saw it again last night. What a great flick.  I don’t quite understand why TDK is up for best Make-Up.  Two-Face was CGI and the Joker design was cool… but that’s about it.  Can’t hold a candle to some of the stuff in Hellboy 2.  Also think that effects should go to Iron Man because of how well the Practical and Special Effects were worked together. I am a bit surprised that Nolan got the shaft on this one.  I know I had some nitpicky problems with some choice, but he still did a damn good job.

    No matter what, awards don’t make the movie.  It can still be your fave of the year even if the academy doesn’t recognize it.  

    I’m just bummed that Waltz with Bashir still hasn’t been released here.  That movie looks amazing.

  82. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Just saw Revolutionary Road and The Reader.  At this point I can confirm that I’d be happier if Doubt and The Wrestler had received Best Picture nominations in place of Benjamin Button and The Reader. 

    As an interesting side note, Michael Shannon, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Revolutionary Road, would, in my opinion, make an ideal replacement Joker if they chose to recast the character for a future Batman film.  His performance is eerily similar to Ledger’s (Shannon plays a loose cannon, mentally ill character who has undergone shock therapy). 



  83. @Paul   Oh, I like that casting a lot.  Michael Shannon did a tremendous job. 

  84. Okay, I’m going to try again from a new perspective: TDK aspires to be more than a comic book film, but it isn’t. It’s greatest strengths rely on the viewer having comic (or at least general Batman) experience to enjoy it. The Joker never having the same origin twice? If you’re not a comic book fan, will you even get the nudging behind that? Probably not.

    The biggest message of TDK is rooted in Baman’s "just a guy" origins and fans’ fantasy that in the right circumstances, a real-life person could be That Guy. The moral of the film is that the money and effort required to make a Batman is bordering on the edges of reality, but a Joker could be done in real life very easily. Joker’s interests (bombs, guns, etc) are very easy to get. It’s sort of scary, especially since Joker is usually one of the least grounded in reality rogues there are (well, Mr. Freeze is even more fantasy, but bear with me…)

    The film itself suffers at the end with that Brother Eye twist coming out of nowhere to save the day, a fight scene in the skyscraper that often left me not knowing what the heck was going on, a Joker who said he didn’t have a plan but often seemed to (the ferries, swapping the locations of Dent and Rachel, etc), and Two-Face judging his own execution before Gordon’s (whaaa?) The first few hours were great, the next 30 minutes were eh, and the last 30 minutes it nearly fell on it’s face but it was so exciting that you forgave it.

  85. BTW, big ups to @psyguy411. The Wrestler deserved more.

  86. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @ohcaroline – That first time he laughed it just struck me.  It’s the quality of his performance where he’s…thinking out loud.  The way he asks questions.  If you instert the trademark Joker lipsmacking, it’s right on.  I thought he was brilliant, and I certainly see why he was nominated.  He steals every scene he’s in. 

  87. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @kthx – Hey, I was singing the praises of The Wrestler (and Doubt) up top! 

    Attention must be paid!  😉

  88. kthx – They foreshadowed the Brother Eye thing twice.

     – The fight scene in the tower was hectic, but it was shot that way to show desperation

    – The Joker lies, he always has a plan, it’s part of his nature

    – The swapping of the locations was to kill the thing that Batman cared about most, in order to break him also.

    – Two-Face judged himself first in part too show his desperation and in part to have a way out of something he didn’t want to do, but felt he had too, he was a slave to how his psychosis broke out. 

     I’ve seen every movie but slumdog millionaire. They are all great movies. Every movie that has ever been nominated is. I would replace easily Benjamin Button without hesitation with Dark Knight. Maybe it wouldn’t get best movie but it is one of the best movies of the year and for me my best movie. 

     What bothers me is that, automatically if you’re not Dramatic, you’re not considered, I think the Exorcist was the only horror movie ever nominated for an Oscar, there are horror films like Psycho or Vertigo that were superior movies then what got nominated in those years. Same with comedies and actions I like the Oscars and spent years tracking down nominations to watch them all from the get go and you can see that the Oscars truly missed fairly often.

    I Also think if Heath Ledger had survived, we’d be debating his snub as well, but his death added credence. I do believe he does deserve a win and transcended the mainstream belief on comic book movies.

     Oh and I forget who said this but 1989 Batman is a great movie, even now. 

  89. You know, I think there’s some validity to pointing out plot holes in "Dark Knight," but I can pretty much guarantee it makes more sense than "The Departed" did.  I’m not slamming that film; it wasn’t for me, but I’m sure there were a lot of good reasons to like it.  But I’m pretty sure it demonstrates that having a flawless plot with no holes is not really a standard the Academy goes by when evaluating movies.  I suppose you could also argue that "The Departed" was too much of a genre movie itself to win the Oscar, if it hadn’t happened to be directed by Scorsese.  There’s a lot that goes into the nominations beyond what’s on screen.

  90. One other thing, I wish they had never done best movie and had done instead best Dramatic Best Comedic Best of the Rest(or some better title). So that these movies could be differentiate. 

     I also made a mistake saying every movie that had ever been nominated was great, "Crash" was hackneyed and uninspired, the acting was weak, the dialogue was weak and their were great actors, just not good performances. It felt forced and wasn’t even as critically acclaimed as Dark Knight, despite Dark Knight not being nominated. Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Good Night and Good Luck and Munich were all superior to it by far.

  91. @Crucio  – Yeah, that was Brokeback’s year.  Crash doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence as Brokeback.  

  92. I dont know why people hate on Crash. It was a great peice on racism and how it still effects us in today’s culture.

    Was it as emotional and depressing as Brokeback? No. But it still deserved a nomination even if I dont agree with it winning overall.

    Everyone also says that there isnt diversity in their nominations. Well just because A film had great action or funny material in it doesnt make it oscar worthy. The last two years Juno and Little Miss Sunshine got nominated for Best Picture and they offered more to the audience then just laughs. Plus everyone says Lord of the Rings got shafted till the third film; well I defy you to tell me Chicago and A Beautiful Mind were worst pictures then the first two LOTR films. Cause they werent, they were 1,000 times better.

    You got to remember again that the academy (for the most part, I cant say 100%) doesnt go for fan favorites or box office blockbusters to win awards. They look at each film carefully and see how much artistically and how different each stands out from the rest. If they went to the other way and let the public decide what films should be nominated….we’d have a clusterfuck of bad films or medicore films get nominations and that would not be right.

  93. I have to say, I also thought "Crash" was really well done; I never got around to seeing ‘Brokeback’ or ‘Munich,’ and I probably would have given the nod to ‘Good Night and Good Luck,’ but ‘Crash’ didn’t strike me as deficient or unworthy.

  94. I HATED Crash.  I get that a lot of people thought it was touching and all, but I lived in Los Angeles at the time it came out, and it was supposed to be this revelatory thing that there was some hidden undercurrent of racism around, and honestly….no shit.  Of course there’s racism everywhere.  It was a well made and acted film, but what was the point. If you didn’t realize there was racism running rampant in LA and everywhere, you’re not paying attention.

    For the record, I also really didn’t like A Beautiful Mind, and I LOVE Russell Crowe.

     Finally, you know you can state your opinions as fact all you want, but there’s not much point in trying to objectively rate films, as it’s completely subjective.  That being said, Punisher War Zone is still the worst film ever made, bar none.  Napoleon Dynamite coming in second.

  95. Every time somebody mentions, I still immediately think of the 1995 movie with James Spader and Holly Hunter.  That movie scarred me.


     All these years living as a pariah among my friends.

     I agree that there is alot of opinion involved when rating a movie but I ask this question.

    Picture: "PLATOON", "Children of a Lesser God", "Hannah and Her Sisters", "The Mission", "A Room with a View" all from 1986….as good as these movies were…are any of them better then the actual greatest movie of 1986….Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?

    Trick question they’re not. 

  97. I totally wish the Cronenberg car-sex "Crash" was the one that won best picture.  Every time I think about somebody accidentally renting the wrong movie with that title, it makes me laugh.

  98. The Toronto Star has actually commented on the Dark Knight thing, thought some might be interested.

    Basically declaring this the worst Oscars for snubs and solidifying the irrelevancy of the whole thing. Starts off on Dark Knight and touches on a whole bunch of other things that I agree on. Like Gran Torino and The Wrestler.

  99. I find it funny that I googled Academy Awards and the news tab flashes a poster of Batman and he got snubbed.  Heh.

  100. Entertainment Weekly also has a feature running right now on the worst Oscar snubs in history:,,20178653,00.html

    Among other things, they contend that Bill Murray should have gotten something for Groundhog Day, and Alan Rickman should have been recognized for Die Hard. Sadly, they don’t list who got nominated instead.

  101. Also, have I mentioned that Whoopi Goldberg has an Oscar?

    Whoopi Goldberg has an Oscar.

    For Ghost.

    Which has another Oscar, for Best Screenplay.

    So… that’s how seriously you take the Oscars.

  102. @Jimski: To be fair, none of the other films had any better scripts then Ghost. So overall it was a weak category that year.

    In fact it was a weak year overall for films. Dances With Wolves, Misery (probably the best Stephen King adaptation right next to The Shining), and Goodfellas are really the only standouts from that year. There are some other nice films and some cult classics too (like Kindergarden Cop) but overall it wasnt a great year for filmmaking.

    Yes Whoopi has an Oscar, but she deserved it. Her role in Ghost was probably the only thing outstanding about the film and it’s really the only thing I ever liked that she was in. So in today’s time her having an Oscar seems absurd, but back then she was the best in 1990.

    If Ledger wins this year, what will people say in 20-30 years about it? That a guy dressed up as a clown and was a psycho won an oscar? WTF?

  103. Avatar photo Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @Josh – Agreed on every single point in that post.  

  104. Boys of the City – that’s the best film ever made. The only black character there resembles Shaggy from Scooby-Doo and it adds a racial undertone to a children’s cartoon which no other film can beat.

    The slightest chance that that cartoon was partly based or influenced by the "East Side Kids" series of movies is mind blowing.

    I love me some racist depictions. 

  105. I can’t let this one go:

    "Dances with Wolves was a much better film, and it was more artistic then Goodfellas. So I dont think it got screwed there."

    No. Dances With Wolves is watchable. Once. But it doesn’t hold up. Goodfellas does. It’s Martin Scorcese’s best work, better than Mean Streets and Raging Bull and The Departed. It’s in the AFI top 100 for a reason, while DWW dropped off the 2007 revision. Dances won the Oscar because it hit two of the Academy’s big three hot buttons: political correctness and actor/directors.

    On the first point, DWW does a fine job of showing just how awful the White European Male was to the Noble Indigenous People. I know I left the theater in 1990 pretty mad at my Scots-Irish heritage, even though my family never ventured west of Athens Ohio. But it does it using cliched, central casting bad guys and ham fisted narrative. And lots of pretty pictures of the American west. Lots of those. See also: Kramer v. Kramer, Ordinary People, Ganhdi, The Last Emperor and, yes, Crash.

    Point two, Costner wrote and directed and AMPAS looooves that. Whenever an actor displays any skill at all s/he can expect at least a nomination. Woody Allen, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Costner, Mel-Fraking-Gibson. Heck, Christine Lahti won one for a short film she did. 

    Anyway, glad you like Dances With Wolves and have the intestinal fortitute to opine it’s better than Goodfellas. I just have to disagree.  

  106. The one thing I learned from watching Crash was that pretty much all white people are racist.

  107. Oh I learned that all people are racist.

  108. @PaulMontgomery – Michael Shannon was the best thing about "Revolutionary Road", hands down.

     And "Shakespeare in Love"… best "Best Picture" winner ever! 

  109. Anytime some one mentions Shakespeare in Love, I start going "BAAAW!!" like Unicron. 

  110. I liked ‘Crash’ for the individual character moments.  I didn’t actually realize it was supposed to be some big thing about racism until people kept telling me it was, but I’m kind of notorious for not paying to themes.

    Also, I wrote a column about how John Cusack should have won Best Actor for "Grosse Pointe Blank" in 1997, so I’m either awesome or have no credibility, but clearly I don’t spend a lot of time expecting other people to agree with me.  Big world, lots of opinions, that’s what makes it fun.

  111. @RobAbsten – Finding Nemo and Shrek beat The Iron Giant… AFI is really the benchmark you want to rely on with your argument?

    There are so many other nominations that are much better than those two winners…

  112. my 2 cents?

    that’s too bad but i’m not going to lose any sleep over this. i don’t hold the academy awards in high esteem

  113. @ottobot …. I just watched the fall a few nights ago and LOVED it, I don’t know why I didn’t hear more about it???

     As far as DK, I loved it, I think it could have gotten more nominations but I’m not too surprised it didn’t.  It annoys me to think that people might think ledger is nominated (or wins) because he’s deat.  That was by far one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen in a movie… and I was biased against him because ‘how could anyone live up to Nicholson’s performance?’….

  114. The Wrestler was more deserving than The Reader or Ben Button imho. Atleast Mickey Rourke got a Best Actor Nominee, hopefuly he wins!

  115. Tottally off topic, but…

    All this talk about the AFI top 100 and people rebuking it reminds me of Rolling Stone’s recent "100 Greatest Signer’s of all time" list. Now THAT was a BS list. Sinatra didn’t appear on it at all, and Bob Dylan was in the top 10. Say what you want about Dylan, but he was not a good singer. Great lyrics, great songwriting, but crappy singer.

  116. One thing I’ve noticed is that when someone is involved, for a living, in judging, viewing, or making something, they tend to view it differently.  I watch a lot of movies, but I usually think movie critics are, for lack of a better term, "wrong".  But they do it for a living, and they’ve seen many more permutations of moviemaking used and re-used than I have.  If the Academy doesn’t vote up Dark Knight, it could be for any number of reasons.  Maybe they’ve seen other movies that used the same tropes (even in years past) and don’t consider it very new or groundbreaking in any way, maybe they just judged it differently and it wasn’t very/as good to them. 

    I’m sure many of you have friends that are the same way about comics.  If they only read two books a month, they might really like both of them; you read the same two books but also 50 more, and they’re ok but are near the bottom of your stack each month.  I know it doesn’t always work out, but that’s the way it seems to me.  I don’t watch many new movies, so it’s hard for me to judge Dark Knight against the other contenders.  But coming from a lifetime of loving bad movies (ones I know are bad) along with the good ones, I can safely say I don’t think DK was snubbed per se, only that the Academy once again has tastes that don’t run concurrently with mine.  As per usual.

  117. I watched DK again this weekend and all I could think about was the Dent/Obama parallel.  An amazing film, and while a best picture nod would have been nice, I can’t really comment on it because I’m too big of a Batman fan and I haven’t seen all of the nominated pictures.

  118. You gys are all on crazy pills.  Deecmber is the month when all the good movies are released, in order to get a nice push for The Oscars and Golden Globes.  And, clearly, the best movie of this year was released during December: Punisher: War Zone.  The fact that "The Academy" overlooked such a touching, tour-de-force of emotional metaphor shows that they just aren’t in touch with we, the common rabble.


    Now, if you’ll excuse me, Labor and I need to go out and discuss the merits of Seaguy over a nice frosty mug of Pickle Frappuccino..


    Make mine Liefeld ’95.

  119. I’m going to commit one of the major sins on this website and say that Goodfellas, while good, is overrated. 🙂


  120. @Diabhol: Is it more of a sin if I agree with you?

  121. While I don’t disagree that TDK should have been recognized in some way, a lot of people are not as "in the know" as others about films.  Movies like The Reader, Doubt, Slumdog Millionaire might have never even received an audience without the recognition that the award shows offer.  I went and saw The Wrestler on a Sunday at 1:30 and the place was packed.  I don’t think that happens without the recognition it has received from various Best of’s and awards show.

    Just throwing my two cents in.