—Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth from The Dark Knight, 2008
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August 7, 2012
Should Any Oscars Really Be Considered for Dark Knight Rises?
— Posted by Kenny Miles
As the summer season wraps up in a few weeks, its safe to say the only real big Oscar contender is Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Rises.” How refreshing that THE most anticipated film of 2012 was this exceptional and deserves Oscar nominations! It was jaw dropping spectacular, action packed, and a briskly paced 2 hours and 36 minutes of film. What makes “The Dark Knight Rises” sensational is how it transcends beyond the comic book genre into a true sense of the word EPIC.
And what makes this drama familiar to Academy tastes is the drama of it all. This film unfolded not superficially, but contained genuine human emotions laced with chaotic turbulence. It comes to life as a solid adaptation on its own. And on its own merit, “The Dark Knight Rises” was a stunning, entertaining, & emotionally dramatic achievement deserving to be recognized by the industry during award season.
However, can achievement translate to Oscar? Just because a film DESERVES award consideration doesn’t mean it will receive them. There could be some factors, which could determine if “The Dark Knight Rises” will be an Oscar contender.
Factors to Consider:
Christopher Nolan is Long Overdue: With “The Dark Knight Rises,” Christopher Nolan confirms his status as THE top notch, masterful cinematic wizard working in Hollywood today. Anything short of an Oscar nomination is a disgrace from the talented body of filmmakers. The opening sequence involving the dismantling of a plane will probably be one of the most iconic moments of Nolan’s film career. Someone give this guy a James Bond picture to direct. He will command fresh energy into an aging franchise. Though structurally imperfect with minor issues, most can be forgiven Nolan delivers.
The Superhero Hindrance: The Academy that awarded a Best Picture Oscar to “The Kings Speech” over “The Social Network” might not be up to task awarding nominations to a Batman movie. Besides, there are moments in the film where the viewer have to suspend their disbelief involving police officers and atomic bombs, just to name a few. Also, I personally feel like “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” could make a stronger showing in the major categories then “The Dark Knight Rises.” Are there a large enough percentage of Academy voters that are comic book fans? No.
Vital Media/Critic Support: In late December, we will get a clear picture regarding awards from critic circles and Top Ten list standings. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times movie critic Kenneth Turan, gave the following rave: “The impressive success of “The Dark Knight Rises” pleasantly confounds our notions as to where great filmmaking is to be found in today’s world. To have a director this gifted turning his ability and attention to such an unapologetically commercial project is beyond heartening in an age in which the promise of film as a popular art is tarnished almost beyond recognition. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which snubbed the trilogy’s first two films in the best picture race, finally got the message?”
Political/Culturally Relevance: Filled with allegorical zeitgeist, “The Dark Knight Rises” features thematic subtext of terrorism and economic inequality that was haunting and relevant though never preachy. And in an era of partisan politics which seems to present itself as both scapegoat and savior to these issues, “Dark Knight Rises” rather presents those realities of a broken world and nothing more. And it focuses on how one man who wears a Bat suit tries to make that cruel world a better place. The Academy wants to look relevant and hip with the times.
Warner Brother’s Other Oscar Bait: Warner Brothers must to believe in this product to campaign for it. And like Inception, they will go all out for Christopher Nolan again. Though a more traditional Oscar films are slated to open like Ben Affleck’s “Argo” or even Clint Eastwood’s “Trouble with the Curb,” they still will support the conclusion to the Batman series. The release date switch of the Great Gatsby’s from an Oscar friendly Christmas date to the summer season. If “Argo” is underwhelming or the Eastwood film under-delivers, Warner Brothers has the option to run a robust campaign for “The Dark Knight Rises.”
The Aurora Shooting: I don’t want to bring this issue up, but it is the elephant in the room, which could effect its overall perception. Will giving nominations to this movie be considered a tribute to the victims or another sign of Hollywood glorifying violence? This is an unpredictable factor for its Oscar chances.
All these factors can come into play regarding the possibility of “The Dark Knight Rises” receiving Oscar nominations. Likely nominations for “The Dark Knight Rises” include the technical categories including sound, visual effects, and possibly editing. Whatever happens, no one knows anything until the nominations are announced next year.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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