As in any year, the omissions were almost as interesting as the contenders, and this year there’s a stellar list of no-shows, including Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood, Bruce Springsteen, Miley Cyrus — and Batman himself.
Though Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight” scored an impressive eight bids, it was left out of the best pic race — virtually guaranteeing that the fanboys will be igniting the Internet with their laments.
Though the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voters have nominated popcorn-blockbuster films in the past, such as “E.T.,” “Titanic” and “Gladiator,” some felt “Dark Knight” had an uphill struggle to become one of the anointed five. It’s a comicbook pic, and it’s a sequel in a franchise where the five earlier editions were not nominated.
But the film had a gravitas, dealing with the abuse of power and terrorism in a manner that touched upon audience fears and concerns. The serious themes were complemented by razzle-dazzle filmmaking and performances, which led the film’s supporters to believe that it could score with Oscar in the way the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy did. Nolan’s recognition by the DGA supported that theory.
The eight noms show widespread admiration for “The Dark Knight,” but only PricewaterhouseCoopers accountants know whether it came in sixth — or lower — for best pic.
Springsteen’s title tune for “The Wrestler” won a Golden Globe this month, and Cyrus was co-writer of “I Thought I Lost You” from “Bolt.”
Though Holocaust-WWII films have a reputation as being irresistible fodder for the Academy, “The Reader” was the only one to score, with also-ran status afforded to the year-end group of “Adam Resurrected,” “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” “Defiance,” “Good” and “Valkyrie.”
And the waning genre of Iraq-themed pics were shut out, including “Body of Lies” and “Stop-Loss.”
There is always a discrepancy between the year’s biggest hits and the Academy voting. But this year, there was less of a divide than usual. Of the year’s top 10 grossing films worldwide, four of them drew noms. The top grossers in order, with Oscar contenders in italics: “Dark Knight,” “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Hancock,” “Iron Man,” “Mamma Mia!” “Quantum of Solace,” “Wall-E,” “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.”
This year, there were also films that never gained traction with awards voters, including “The Yellow Handkerchief,” “Australia,” “Appaloosa,” “Cadillac Records,” “Che,” “Elegy,” “I’ve Loved You So Long,” “Last Chance Harvey,” “Nothing But the Truth,” “The Secret Life of Bees,” “Seven Pounds,” “Synecdoche, New York” and “W.”