2009 Oscar Nominations & The Dark Knight

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the dark knight oscars2 2009 Oscar Nominations & The Dark Knight

It’s Oscar Nominations 2009 Day!

The Oscar nominations were released this morning for the 81st Annual Academy Awards. Already, we’re seeing feedback and debates over this year’s picks, much of relating to the most popular movie of 2008: The Dark Knight.

The Dark Knight - the most talked about and hyped movie of the year… possibly even of the last decade – is noticeably absent from two important categories many felt it deserved being a part of. These are of course: Best Picture and Best Original Score. Also of note is that Christopher Nolan was not nominated for Best Director, but I never expected him to for this so we won’t discuss that.

Approaching the nominations seasons, Warner Brothers made a strong effort to market The Dark Knight for a big push at the Oscars – for 28 people in 15 different categories to be precise. While they were very successful in earning eight nominations, the heavy supporters and fans of the film are sure feeling the emptiness of not being awarded a Best Picture nomination.

And therein lays the question.

Does The Dark Knight deserve a Best Picture nod at this year’s Academy Awards?

This prestigious honor of the best picture nomination instead went to:

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • Frost/Nixon
  • Milk
  • The Reader
  • Slumdog Millionaire.

Browsing around the movie blogosphere, it seems the people are split on the question of The Dark Knight’s deservedness. Even behind the scenes here at Screen Rant we have a bit of a for-or-against discussion occurring and I hope we get a lot of discussion on this here as well.

Where do I stand on this? Well, I can go either way so the easiest answer would be that I am not upset that it was snubbed in this category but I do think it is a missed opportunity. For its purposes, The Dark Knight did not perfectly do what it was supposed to story-wise in my opinion (it still did it very well though). While it is one of my favorite movies of the year… one of my favorite movies ever – I did have some minor issues with it. The obvious counterpoint is that the argument can be used against the other nominees, but I’ve not seen some of them so it’s hard to say. But that is another argument for another day.

It would have been awesome to see a superhero/comic book film make it into the Best Picture category, especially nowadays with the ever-increasing popularity and success of these genre films. This year alone we had several amazing movies of the sort (Iron Man anyone?).

At the same time, many hold angst against the Academy for how it awards its prizes and see it as more of a personal lobbying type of popularity contest. It seems it is nearly impossible for the main categories to be loaded with movies everyone has seen – instead we see the tendency of the art-house type flicks of a more serious nature.

A big problem for me (and we see it here with the five nominees for Best Pic), is that no matter how good these films are, as soon as we see information about the movie or promotional materials, people and critics see it and can easily label it as “Oscar bait.” Right there is the problem: This sort of approaches pretty much “locks out” certain genres of ever having a real shot, or at least presents them with a very large uphill battle. For example: Comedies, Fantasy films, Sci-Fi movies and yes, even superhero films.

That tells you that the Academy is locked into this tradition and I think it prevents younger folks from caring about the biggest film awards event in the world. Movies are such a big part of so many people’s lives that it’s too bad for their sake that more mainsteam films are not recognized at this event. I guess that’s what the MTV Movie Awards are for.

It would have been a good year for the Academy to give more praise to the industry-leading mainstream films – in this case the most popular film, since they are trying so hard to increase ratings and popularity of the televised event. As I said earlier, I think this is a lost opportunity for them in regards to the Best Picture. They could have made the Oscars more mainsteam, and broke new ground having this type of movie in the running for that award. However, it’s very good to see Iron Man getting a few nods and better yet, to see Robert Downey Jr. getting nominated for his performance in Tropic Thunder.

The other category The Dark Knight was skipped over where it was arguably deserving was for Best Original Score. The funny thing about this snub is how originally, The Dark Knight was disqualified from this category because there were too many composers listed on the music cue sheet. This was a bit of a blow as many thought score of this film is pretty epic and helps create that feel of the movie right from the opening minute up till the end.

Strangely enough, a month later, that decision to disqualify The Dark Knight from this category was reversed and Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard were all of a sudden back into the running for Best Original Score. I bet when that happened, the other hopefuls were worried. Long story short, The Dark Knight didn’t even get nominated for this and all that controversy was for naught.

I wonder if that mess had anything to do with the voting in this category that ultimately ended with a snub for the beloved Batman and his background beats. I think this is one category most can agree on where The Dark Knight excels and is deserving – less debate there, I’m sure.

On the bright side, the nominations today for The Dark Knight are a huge improvement over the recognition it received at the Golden Globes – where is was awarded only one nomination. That nomination of course, was for Heath Ledger as Best Supporting Actor, where he easily won.

To make a push at gaining some Oscar attention, The Dark Knight is being re-released in many theaters tomorrow. For those of us who need to celebrate the nominations or get away from the rage of the snubs, you can spend that time watching Batman, Joker and Two-Face again on the big screen.

Enough talking, here are all the nominees:

oscar nominations 2009 Oscar Nominations & The Dark Knight

Best Picture
‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
‘Frost/Nixon’
‘Milk’
‘The Reader’
‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Best Director
Danny Boyle, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
Stephen Daldry, ‘The Reader’
David Fincher, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Ron Howard, ‘Frost/Nixon’
Gus Van Sant, ‘Milk’

Best Actor
Richard Jenkins, ‘The Visitor’
Frank Langella, ‘Frost/Nixon’
Sean Penn, ‘Milk’
Brad Pitt, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Mickey Rourke, ‘The Wrestler’

Best Actress
Anne Hathaway, ‘Rachel Getting Married’
Angelina Jolie, ‘Changeling’
Melissa Leo, ‘Frozen River’
Meryl Streep, ‘Doubt’
Kate Winslet, ‘The Reader’

Best Supporting Actor
Josh Brolin, ‘Milk’
Robert Downey Jr., ‘Tropic Thunder’
Philip Seymour Hoffman, ‘Doubt’
Heath Ledger, ‘The Dark Knight’
Michael Shannon, ‘ Revolutionary Road’

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, ‘Doubt’
Penelope Cruz, ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’
Viola Davis, ‘Doubt’
Taraji P. Henson, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Marisa Tomei, ‘The Wrestler’

Best Animated Feature Film
‘Bolt’
‘Kung Fu Panda’
‘Wall-E’

Best Foreign Film
‘The Baader Meinhof Complex’ (Germany)
‘The class’ (France)
‘Departures’(Japan)
‘Revanche’ (Austria)
‘Waltz With Bashir’ (Israel)

Best Original Screenplay
Dustin Lance Black, ‘Milk’
Courtney Hunt, ‘Frozen River’
Mike Leigh, ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’
Martin McDonagh, ‘In Bruges’
Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter, ‘WALL-E’

Best Adapted Screenplay
Eric Roth, Robin Swicord, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
John Patrick Shanley, ‘Doubt’
Peter Morgan, ‘Frost/Nixon’
David Hare, ‘The Reader’
Simon Beaufoy, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Best Documentary Feature
‘The Betrayal’
‘Encounters at the End of the World’
‘The Garden’
‘Man on Wire’
‘Trouble the Water’

Best Original Score
‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
‘Defiance’
‘Milk’
‘Slumdog Millionaire’
‘WALL-E’

Best Original Song
‘Down to Earth,’ WALL-E
‘Jai Ho,’ ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
‘O Saya,’ ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Best Film Editing
Kirk Baxter, Angus Wall, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Lee Smith, ‘The Dark Knight’
Mike Hill, Dan Hanley, ‘Frost/Nixon’
Elliot Graham, ‘Milk’
Chris Dickens, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Best Documentary – Short Subject
‘The Conscience of Nhem En,’ Steven Okazaki
‘The Final Inch,’ Irene Taylor Brodsky, Tom Grant
‘Smile Pinki,’ Megan Mylan
‘The Witness – From the Balcony of Room 306,’ Adam Pertofsky, Margaret Hyde

Best Cinematography
Tom Stern, ‘Changeling’
Claudio Miranda, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Wally Pfister, ‘The Dark Knight’
Chris Menges, Roger Deakins, ‘The Reader’
Anthony Dod Mantle, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Best Costume Design
Catherine Martin, ‘Australia’
Jacqueline West, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Michael O’Connor, ‘The Duchess’
Danny Glicker, ‘Milk’
Albert Wolsky, ‘Revolutionary Road’

Best Sound Mixing
David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, Mark Weingarten, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick, ‘The Dark Knight’
Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
Tom Myers, Michael Semanick, Ben Burtt, ‘WALL-E’
Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño, Petr Forejt, ‘Wanted’

Best Sound Editing
Richard King, ‘The Dark Knight’
Frank Eulner, Christopher Boyes, ‘Iron Man’
Tom Sayers, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’
Ben Burtt, Matthew Wood, ‘WALL-E’
Wylie Stateman, ‘Wanted’

Best Live Action Short Film
‘Auf der Strecke (On the Line),’ Reto Caffi
‘Manon on the Asphalt,’ Elizabeth Marre, Olivier Pont
‘New Boy,’ Steph Green, Tamara Anghie
‘The Pig,’ Tivi Magnusson, Dorte Høgh
‘Spielzeugland (Toyland),’ Jochen Alexander Freydank

Best Animated Short Film
‘La Maison de Petits Cubes,’ Kunio Kato
‘Lavatory – Lovestory,’ Konstantin Bronzit
‘Oktapodi,’ Emud Mokhberi, Thierry Marchand
‘Presto,’ Doug Sweetland
‘This Way Up,’ Alan Smith, Adam Foulkes

Best Makeup
Greg Cannom, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
John Caglione, Jr., Conor O’Sullivan, ‘The Dark Knight’
Mike Elizalde, Thom Flout, ‘Hellboy II: The Golden Army’

Best Art Direction
James J. Murakami, Gary Fettis, ‘Changeling’
Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Nathan Crowley, Peter Lando, ‘The Dark Knight’
Michael Carlin, Rebecca Alleway, ‘The Duchess’
Kristi Zea, Debra Schutt, ‘Revolutionary Road’

Best Visual Effects
Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron, ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’
Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber, Paul Franklin, ‘The Dark Knight’
John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick, Shane Mahan, ‘Iron Man’

There you have it. What do you think of the nominations and The Dark Knight‘s faring?

The Dark Knight returns to the big screen tomorrow, January 23, 2009 and The Academy Awards presentation airs February 22nd, 2009.

Source: The Oscars

TAGS: iron man, the curious case of benjamin button, the dark knight

48 Comments

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  1. @SK47,

    It was me who mentioned the popularity contest aspect of the oscars in the article, not Vic :) I got that notion from listening to Kevin Smith talk about how it works as he’s part of the academy.

    @ Kahless,

    Vic mentioned the same thing about the absence of Gran Torino but I’m glad it’s not in there personally.

    I watched that last week and thought it was very ordinary. Most of the other actors and the dialogue was horrid. Ya the redemption thing was cool, but how the film played out was not special in any way I thought and all of the stereotypes were so blatant and overplayed (made worse by the bad dialogue and acting).

    Not to overly bash it, but the song at the end was rediculous too IMO.

  2. And that’s why I tend to want to do all the reviews here at Screen Rant myself. 8-)

    Vic

  3. Now that I’ve had some time to gather myself, (I was shattered after this announcement) I’ve prepared an argument for why it should’ve been nominated.

    When the “For Your Consideration” campaign launched last November, it was vying for 15 different nominations. Below are the one’s it missed out on (*), with the noms it did receive.

    *Best Picture
    *Best Director
    *Best Adapted Screenplay
    *Best Actor
    Best Supporting Actor
    *Best Supporting Actress
    Best Cinematography
    Best Art Direction
    Best Film Editing
    *Best Original Score
    *Best Costume Design
    Best Makeup
    Best Sound Mixing
    Best Sound Editing
    Best Visual Effects

    [I'd like to note the "Best Picture" nominations are the same as the "Best Director" nominations. Not a rare occurrence, seeing how the Academy did this in 2005. And went 4 "Best Director" noms of 5 "Best Picture" noms in 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, 1998. I stopped at 10 year mark, because it was getting obscene.]

    Reason said it wouldn’t receive all of the nominations, but not out of the question was the top award for directors. After recognition at DGA, chances at an Oscar for Nolan became very real. He orchestrated a note-worthy, layered film but also a blockbuster at the box office–a rare achievement only done twice before, by Peter Jackson (ROTK) and James Cameron (Titanic), respectively.

    He piece wasn’t an unlikely tale like ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ or escapism as in ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.’ Nor was it a story of bringing elected officials to justice or seeing past people’s personal preference. It was more than that.

    Unlike any of films that were nominated, ‘The Dark Knight’ played on the fears of terrorism that plagued its widespread audience. With a chilling antagonist, whose agenda was to “watch the world burn,” moviegoers witnessed the corruption of “decent men in an indecent time.” Civilized citizens selfishly chose to sink a boat of human beings–although criminal–to save their own lives, and a newly elected district attorney became the villain he vowed to fight. And finally, it was about a masked vigilante defeating an “unstoppable force” without “burn[ing] the forest down.” And the hero’s reward, becoming the villain, the citizens now hunt.

    As exemplified by the 8 given, tied for third in highest number of nominations, it’s clear the Academy loved every aspect of this film. But they hesitated when it came to handing out the “Best Picture” and “Best Director” nomination.

  4. @Rob, my apologies!
    BUT, Gran Torino SHOULD have been in there!

  5. @ STeven

    Dude you are clearly in the vast minority with regards to your opinion on the LOTR trilogy..The source material Jackson and company had to use for the films were three books and appendices that totalled over 1500 pages..trying to get that into three films let alone one was a very daunting task for the screenplay writers (Jackson, Walsh, & Boyens)..truth be told they probably could have made it into four or five movies with the amount of material they cut out..I loved the books and the movies as well and although I was not completely impressed by some of the changes they made to Tolkien’s story (the biggest for me was how they changed the Faromir storyline..he was the only man in the trilogy to truly resist the call of the ring)..I thought that Jackson did a great job of allowing the story to flow through the three films and they were really thought of as one big epic masterpiece of film making..It was not overrated and nor was TDK and these films will stand the test of time and in 20-30 years if talk surfaces of remaking them there will be a lot of discussion on why? WHy remake something that was timeless and almost perfect in it’s scope and story..But hey my opinion may be overrated but a vast majority of comments clearly think LOTR was a great piece of cinematic art..

    Again to reiterate my points:

    1. The trilogy was nominated for 30 Academy Awards.

    2. It won 17 Academy Awards

    3. ROTK won 11 Awards and won in every category it was nominated in..

    4. FOTR & ROTK won BAFTA’s for best picture.

    5. Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation categories..

    It made almost 3 billion dollars in worldwide box office for just three movies..

    LOTR was a lighter story huh?

    Did you see the death of Boromir?

    The appearance of the Orcs and Uruk-Hai was very creepy?

    Gollum was a very dark and pitiful aspect of the story arc…

    A dark lord wanting to dominate all life in Middle Earth..

    Shelob…

    The Ring Wraiths..

    THe battle for Minas Tirith in ROTK..

    Frodo’s battle for his life and will to destroy the ring..

    Yeah it wasn’t a very dark or complex story at all.

  6. @ STeven

    Dude you are clearly in the vast minority with regards to your opinion on the LOTR trilogy..The source material Jackson and company had to use for the films were three books and appendices that totalled over 1500 pages..trying to get that into three films let alone one was a very daunting task for the screenplay writers (Jackson, Walsh, & Boyens)..truth be told they probably could have made it into four or five movies with the amount of material they cut out..I loved the books and the movies as well and although I was not completely impressed by some of the changes they made to Tolkien’s story (the biggest for me was how they changed the Faromir storyline..he was the only man in the trilogy to truly resist the call of the ring)..I thought that Jackson did a great job of allowing the story to flow through the three films and they were really thought of as one big epic masterpiece of film making..It was not overrated and nor was TDK and these films will stand the test of time and in 20-30 years if talk surfaces of remaking them there will be a lot of discussion on why? WHy remake something that was timeless and almost perfect in it’s scope and story..But hey my opinion may be overrated but a vast majority of comments clearly think LOTR was a great piece of cinematic art..

    Again to reiterate my points:

    The trilogy was nominated for 30 Academy Awards.

    It won 17 Academy Awards

    ROTK won 11 Awards and won in every category it was nominated in..

    FOTR & ROTK won BAFTA’s for best picture.

    Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation categories..

    LOTR was a lighter story huh?

    Did you see the death of Boromir?

    The appearance of the Orcs and Uruk-Hai was very creepy?

    Gollum was a very dark and pitiful aspect of the story arc…

    A dark lord wanting to dominate all life in Middle Earth..

    Shelob…

    The Ring Wraiths..

    THe battle for Minas Tirith in ROTK..

    Frodo’s battle for his life and will to destroy the ring..

    Yeah it wasn’t a very dark or complex story at all.

  7. While I thought TDK was an awesome movie, I would not put it above LOTR. To be honest, I would not put TDK on my top 10 list of greatest films. But for the movies of 2008, TDK and IM are my number 1 & 2. Of course, I haven’t seen any of the films nominated, so that may change; I would like to see this Slumdog movie because of the praise I’m seeing here.

  8. Does anyone outside of show business really care about the Oscars matters anymore? I don’t even watch it anymore. They always give the Best Actor first to make sure at least SOME people watched the show but other than that it’s all about who the best at doing whatever it took to convince someone to nominate their particular piece of artsy-fartsy crap. Every once in a while it’s exiting when people or pictures you liked but never though would get nominated actually do. Beyond that? Arthouse, arthouse, arthouse.

    The most exciting thing about the Oscars this year is that Brad and Angelina are both up for an Oscar and how cute their little Oscar babies will be if at least Brad wins.

    Actually, I think that Brad is a great actor. Don’t be hatin’. Just because he’s beautiful doesn’t mean he can’t act. He was terrific in Meet Joe Black and Interview with the Vampire so it’d be cool if he’d win.

    But other than that? I think the Oscars credibility is crap and I’m waiting for the obligatory expose movie by Michael Moore talking about how the Oscars are fixed. Oh wait, didn’t he win one? Never mind.

    I just don’t think the Oscars represents what other actors really like. Just what they think they SHOULD be voting for and that’s any movie where an actor gets to show his “craft”.

    I’ll take the Reader’s Digest version the day after. Who won the main catagories? Eh, I knew it. Glad I didn’t watch.

  9. @jerseycajun

    My comment was intended to point out the differences of what we ‘would’ be discussing had he not died vs. what we are discussing now that he is gone.

    I agree with you on the quality of his performance. It was exceptional and mezmorizing to say the least.

  10. What crap! The second best film of the year in my opinion Gran Torino didn’t even get nominated. I loved that movie as well, I thought for sure Clint Eastwood would at the very least get a best actor nomination.

    Planned to watch the oscars this year for the first time in years along with a number of friends, but now none of them want to see it and nither do I.

    I’ve seen all the movies nominated except for Milk, which I plan on seeing soon and while I liked Slumdog Millionare and even Frost/Nixon, the other two are just soooooo BORING! Seriously Benjamin Button is way to long and WAY to boring. One of the main accomplishments of a movie is to hold the people watching in their seats and entertian them even if it’s heavy fare. Movies I’ve loved like JFK in example have done that, but Benjamin Button is a snore fest. The Reader is actually pretty bad, and I’m a huge Ralph Finnes fan but god that movie was terrible and once again boring. Seems like you put nazis in the movie and you get an instant nomination no matter how boring the movie is…unless Tom Cruise in the movie. Movies can artful and compelling without putting everyone to sleep.

    Even without the Dark knight not getting best picture and director nod how could that haunting score not get nominated? That is one of the greatest scores ever in my opinion. Also hope Wally Pfister finally wins one, all his movies are always so beautiful…it’s about time, but then again it’s also time for Chris Nolan to get some respect, but of course that didn’t happen.

  11. And to everyone saying LOTR is above TDK…thats fine it’s your opinion, but none of the LOTR movies are as good as TDK in my opinion. TDK is one of my top movies of all time now and all the LOTR may…MAY make my top 50. TDK is there with my all time faves like The Godfather 1 & 2, Apocalypse Now, A Clock Work Orange, Momento, A Fist Full of Dollars, In the Heat of the Night, The Prestige, Star Wars, Raiders of The Lost Ark and a few others. A master piece imo, flaws and all (all the movies I mentioned have flaws, so don’t point to TDK flaws as the reason it can’t be considered a masterpiece, they all have flaws).

  12. Go back and look at which movies win best picture and very rarely does the actual best picture of the year in most critics and fans minds win the award. If you go to Rotten Tamatoes the two highest reviewed movies of the year are TDK and Slumdog Millionare

  13. So in your opinion ROnnie TDK makes your top 11 of the eleven(can’t pick a favorite movie for the ages?) you listed…I view LOTR trilogy as one massive film and in my opinion it is tops on my list..I don’t have any other films I would place up there with LOTR..there are plenty of other films I love but not nearly as much as LOTR..opinions are just opinions and TDK while a great film is not one of the greatest of all time IMO..It is one of the greatest for 2008 along with Iron Man but not of all time….

  14. The Academy Awards learned their lesson after Beauty & the Beast, and Crouching Tiger / Hidden Dragon were nominated for best picture. Furthermore if Brokeback Mountain couldn’t win best picture, there’s even less chance Dark Knight would be nominated.

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