Does 'The Dark Knight Rises' Deserve Any Oscar Nominations?

Does 'The Dark Knight Rises' Deserve Any Oscar Nominations?

Aug 08, 2012

Now that it's really Oscar season -- I go by when Toronto announces its main attractions and DocuWeeks begins its annual awards-qualifying showcase -- many are heavily speculating on the chances for The Dark Knight Rises. And it's not just about baiting the fanboys for traffic and comments. The previous film in the series, The Dark Knight, picked up eight nominations and two wins back in 2009, and the complaints about its exclusion from the Best Picture race is thought to be one reason the Academy later opened up that category to more nominees. 

But is the follow-up as worthy? Certainly some people think it's as good or even better than TDK and Batman Begins, which picked up only one nod, for Wally Pfister's cinematography. It's a good bet that Pfister at least will go three for three on the trilogy, but I wouldn't say it's a lock, especially since he won the honor with Inception and it might be time to give some other guys a shot. As for Best Picture, a nomination could be recognition for the whole trilogy, but if a comic book movie is to crack the category, don't most of you agree that The Avengers should be the one to do so?

Our own president has highlighted Anne Hathaway as the best thing about the movie, and I'd be inclined to agree. I actually believe it's her greatest performance after Rachel Getting Married, for which she was nominated in the past. However, it can't really compare to Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning act in the last film, nor can the supporting efforts from Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman or Michael Caine. It will keep the legacy of Ledger's achievement higher if the Academy lets that performance stand alone. 

How about Christopher Nolan for Best Director? I'd love to give him credit for having improved tremendously in his ability to direct action sequences, but is that enough for him to get his first nod in the category? I also think the consistency of great performances in his Batman films is more than just that he casts talented actors. Still, this might not be the most proper film for such an honor. Plus, Pfister's comments in a Side by Side outtake about Nolan's complexity being in his scripts rather than his directing aren't helping his case right now.

So, as with any blockbuster, the tech categories remain TDKR's safest considerations. Deserving them or not, the movie will likely pick up nominations in the sound categories. What about editing? Visual effects? Original Score? Art Direction? It will be hard to make the case for most of these when the year is through.

But let's hear what you think at this point in time. Does The Dark Knight Rises deserve any Oscar nominations?

Twitter poll responses:

No. - @prewarcinema

No. But it still might get some. - @misterpatches (see his full analysis at

Hell no. Though I enjoyed the music, it was still 2nd retread. Bane deserves some applause, however. He did give me much joy this year. This has been a terrific year with more good stuff en route. No need to go reaching. - @JHoffman6

Anyone with a brain wouldn't nominated rises at all - @Creasy

It's not Oscar-worthy but then again lot of films nominated for Oscars aren't. - @sridhar1396

If Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is Oscar-worthy then anything is - @Emerald1234S

I think it's Oscar-worthy. Not as impressive as TDK, but definitely one of the best of the year. - @mousterpiece

Yes - if TLOTR ROTK was anything to go by. - @johnneyred

Best Picture, Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume, Editing, Score, Sound Mixing & Editing. I'm a Nolan fan and I say no to Best Director. Done better work. Pity the academy didn't think do. - @Count3D

I loved Rises, but it's his weakest movie out of the last 4, and the year is PACKED with amazing stuff. No room for it. - @TheTrueBrendanF

For that film he's never deserved it less. Looking forward to seeing what he does post-Batman. World is his oyster now. - @JoeMcDonaghFilm

I'm not a die hard, but I think it's a lock for tech categories. Not sure about Nolan/Best Pic; tough year to crack. - @chrisjrosen

I would say I'm diehard Nolan. I loved Dark Knight Rises but not sure if it's 'Best Picture' worthy. Still too much to come. - @movie_knight

At least nomination for best cinematography category - @rianoup

Great movie. But outside of tech nods (M-A-Y-B-E Caine for Supporting Actor), it won't get dick. Score and Cinematography feels like the ones I'd bank on. Maybe Sound/Sound Design? I will start a grass-roots campaign to get Hathaway's ass nominated though. - @filmnerdjamie

Score, sound design/editing, cinematography and supporting actor for Oldman. The Academy could do worse than giving the film a few tech awards. The sound and score WERE great. - @joshbrunsting

Maybe...but certainly NOT for sound mixing, because that is one of the worst-mixed soundtracks I've ever heard in a film. - @kenjfuj

Do they give Oscars for easiest way to bait readers into fighting amongst themselves? then yes. - @EDouglasWW


Bonus question for the diehard Nolanites: would you prefer a nomination for Best Picture or Best Director (Nolan has never been nominated in the latter category)? 

I'd rather see Nolan get the nod. - @firstshowing

Best Director of course ;)   - @lucies_choice

For the elements juggled Id say Director, the film itself, as good as it is, could be worked out better. I think. - @Alx_th

Director IMO. Not likely TDKR would get BP nom (especially as its "not as good as TDK"), but Nolan deserves it for the trilogy - @antovolk

I doubt he will get it, he should though! - @TheSimondo

Noland deserves a nod for Inception, not for Dark Knight Rises. He will do better films. - @tomtesch

If he didn't get a director nod for Dark Knight or Inception, I can't see him swinging one for this. Picture is a possibility. (But only in a field of 10.) - @millerunc

I’d prefer director. He should have gotten it for Inception though. - @andreascliment

I'd prefer best director. But best cinematography is where it should really win. - @DanKrokos

Best Picture. isn't that by extension Best Director too? plus all of the cast & crew. - @pandadeer

How about giving him both? He deserves it!! - @Milindkher

BOTH - @selah1914



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