Sunday, February 22, 2009

Slumming on a Dark Knight

It’s a good thing I didn’t have a blog when the Oscar nominations were announced because I would have had an expletive laden post. It’s outrageous that The Dark Knight was not nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Christopher Nolan for Best Director. Before anyone accuses me of channeling my inner Fanboy, the film and Nolan were nominated in those categories by their respective guilds for the guild awards. In other words, the Director’s Guild nominated Nolan for its award, the Producer’s Guild nominated the film for best picture for its award, and so forth. The cast, however, was not nominated by the Screen Actors Guild for Best Ensemble, which indicates who’s responsible for this travesty.

Yes, the actors. These same actors who catapulted Crash to Best Picture over the exponentially better film, Brokeback Mountain. But I’m not here to bash the actors (really I’m not). It was an oversight which has happened many times in the past. Fantasy and Science Fiction films have long been overlooked by the Academy, so it’s easy to see a “comic book film” suffer the same fate. But The Dark Knight was much more than a “comic book film.” It could be viewed as a physiological thriller, or crime drama, two categories well represented in Best Picture nominations over the years. I’m partial to transcendent films, films that are remarkably well made which transcend the medium and change film forever. The Dark Knight did that, the Lord of the Rings trilogy did that, Brokeback Mountain did that, and other great films we all know of before them.

Luckily (for me at least), there is actually one transcendent film nominated for Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire. It has its fair share of critics, but it is both familiar and something we’ve never seen before. I absolutely loved the movie and felt better about The Dark Knight’s slight (just a little bit) after seeing it. It’s superior to the other entries and deserves the award. It is better than The Dark Knight, but the other four nominated films are not. They really are just recycled versions of previous movies while only The Dark Knight and Slumdog are new and fresh. In two decades from now these are the two films we’ll be talking about from this year. It’s unfortunate that one was overlooked by the Academy, but at least the Academy can right itself by rewarding the other.

So here are my major category picks (I’m not sure if it’s what “will” win or what “should” win, but here goes):

Best Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Director: Danny Boyle for Slumdog

Best Actor: Mickey Rourke

Best Actress: Kate Winslet

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

Best Original Screenplay: Wall-E

Best Adapted Screenplay: Slumdog


  1. i didn't watch it. i'm surprised by slumdog winning best film. i enjoyed it, but didn't LOVE IT like everyone else seemed to?

  2. Congratulations, you got 5 out of 8 right! The original screenplay award was a shocker.

  3. I still haven't seen Slumdog but my gut tells me to hate it... probably because everyone else loved it so much which always pisses me off.