Warner Bros. is officially launching their awards season campaign for The Dark Knight Rises, and it is not out of the question that Christopher Nolan's concluding chapter to the Dark Knight Trilogy could be in the race for the biggest award, the Oscar.
The question is: does the movie deserve to win? We look back on the merits (and deficiencies) of Nolan's final Batman opus - but if you've already made up your own mind, feel free to hop on down to our poll at the bottom and cast your vote.
In our own Dark Knight Rises review, we gave the film a 4 out of 5 star score, based on the level of technique in Nolan's directing, as well as cinematographer Wally Pfister's excellent shot composition. Add to that standout performances from franchise star Christian Bale, and strong debuts from franchise newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy as Bane - perhaps the most parodied film character of 2012.
Then again, time does have a habit of changing things: looking back now, it's clear that while Dark Knight Rises is still a great film, and one of the better Batman stories ever told, compared to the rest of the Nolan Bat-films it is arguably (key word: "arguably") the weakest entry in a very strong trilogy. (As discussed in depth (and infamy) on our Dark Knight Rises podcast.)
Then again, by now a lot of us know how Academy mentality works: Peter Jackson had to wait three years after the release of the first Lord of the Rings film to snag his Oscars, which were piled on in honor of the concluding chapter, Return of the King - which some people will say is arguably (arguably) the weakest film in that trilogy. Could Nolan be due for a simliar late reward after being snubbed (air quotes)for both The Dark Knight and Inception?
Considering the changes to the Best Picture category (which has seen an increase of potential nominees in the last few years), there is plenty of room for Dark Knight Rises to fit into the race; however, the competition is far from a lock. This is year in which awards-magnet director Steven Spielberg unites with awards-magnet leading man Daniel Day-Lewis in the awards-magnet genre of historical drama (Lincoln - read our review), so all this Batman Oscars talk could turn out to be a moot point. Given the level of critical acclaim and public interest, Honest Abe sweeping the Oscars would surprise no one.
The Dark Knight Rises will hit DVD/Blu-ray on December 4, 2012 - just in time for the holidays!