Tuesday, February 24, 2009

OPINION: The Real Reason Why The Dark Knight Didn't A Best Picture Nod...

****This is all opinion. Facts are given, but my conclusion is in no way a fact, just my own personal opinion, with facts to support it****

Sure, today is Tuesday, two days after the Academy Awards. However, people are still buzzing about what they thought was right and wrong with the show, and more importantly, the nominations.

As I was on my way home from class on Monday, I began to think about why certain things weren't nominated (like Springsteen for Best Original Song), and came to a rather interesting conclusion. The monster of '08 that was The Dark Knight, did not receive a Best Picture nomination, not because of the films quality, but the content.

Here are two major facts:

-The Dark Knight has now grossed over 1 billion dollars world wide, and is only the fifth film in history to do so
-It currently has a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, compared to the lowest Best Picture nominee, The Reader, with a 60% rating (They garnered a 9 and a 7.5 from yours truly)

Now, these two things should lead to a Best Picture nomination, right? Wrong.

To me, The Dark Knight is a brilliant film, that sort of falls apart in the final 20-30 minutes. The pacing is off a little bit, it should be more staccato, where as in the film it's far to legato, but it's largely due to the films massive ambition, which is 100% forgivable. However, what many people don't talk about, is the films political leanings in this flawed final 30 minutes.

Take the Joker character for example. In the Dark Knight, the Joker is a human embodiment for terrorism. Terrorism as defined by Wikipedia is as follows...

Terrorism is the systematic use of terror (imposing fear), especially as a means of coercion

He is the personification of what this world has been attempting to take down since 9/11. Within this attempt to rid the world of evil, some peoples civil liberties have been kicked to the curb, with things like The Patriot Act. The surveillance of civilians in an attempt to hinder terrorist activities, wait, that sounds a lot like the ending of The Dark Knight.

You have Christian Bale as Batman, basically playing the superhero version of the Bush Administration, maybe a Dick Cheney character. He sets up this surveillance system, and uses the thought of impending terrorist attacks to coerce the only person who can run it, Lucious Fox (Former President Bush), to do so.

Then at the end, you have Batman running off, as the police are hunting him down, for all that he has done. Hell, you even have Harvey Dent's famous line, saying "You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain." After 9/11, Bush had extremely high approval ratings, and had the support of the strongest nation in the world behind him. However, 7 years later, it couldn't have been more the opposite, just like the arch of the caped crusader, in TDK.

Now, look at what DID get nominated. First, there's the Reader, which is a film about the Holocaust, which is a guaranteed nomination. Then you have Ben Button, which is a version of Forrest Gump, just not sucky. Next, Milk, which, with Prop 8 being passed, and the insane liberal tilt in Hollywood (it's why I want to live there), it was a sure fire lock for one of the 5 spots. Finally, the most obvious nominations, Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon.

With Slumdog, you not only have a great, if overrated film, with a great love story, but it's about getting yourself out of poverty, and in the economic world we live in, this is one that really worked for EVERYONE, except yours truly. I liked it, but honestly, as Spout so brilliant said, The Wrestler is a better film about getting up out of poverty, mainly due to the fact that Slumdog revolves around a game show, that .00001% of the population is able to play, or have played. But this is about TDK, so moving on.

Finally, Frost/Nixon is the exact opposite of The Dark Knight. It's about a set of interviews between journalist David Frost, and Richard Nixon. The film is about corrupt politicians getting their court days in the court of public opinion. Need I say more.

That's about all I can say, as I'm sitting in my Journalism History class getting dirty looks from my teacher. So, I hope you all enjoy this piece, and I hope it starts up some conversation. I know it's not really the best written piece, but I just wanted to get my thoughts down, so I hope you all enjoy! What are YOUR thoughts?

Go see something good!


  1. I can't say I totally agree with your interpretation of The Dark Knight as an allegory for 9/11 and the Bush administration. I don't think the Joker represents terrorism - he represents chaos. Terrorism is committed to further some end, oftentimes a political or cultural one.

    Terrorism isn't the same as senseless violence. You're right in that the Joker's actions aren't totally directionless - but I think he represents the sort of irrational desperation that leads people to commit crime without any valid reason. As Alfred puts it, there are some people who just want to watch the world burn, for no other reason than their own amusement...the Joker is one of them.

  2. Two me, the Joker wants two things near the end of that film. One being the identity of Batman reveled, and two, the society of Gotham city to fall back into the chaos that it was in before Batman, and uses fear to try to get these things, fitting that definition of terrorism, at least to me.

    Also, the main thing I was trying to get at, was more than just the Joker being a terrorist, it was the fact that Nolan portrayed Batman taking away the citizens of Gotham's right to privacy, in order to stop this mad man, and condoned the use as a one time only type of thing. Sure, it's a bit of a stretch, and I may not necessarily believe all of it, but I think it's there.


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