For years, I’ve felt that the academy should find a way to recognize the “super powered” summer blockbusters. You know, those movies that appeal to the kid in all of us. They are just plain fun. Oh sure, I know they are not “life changing.” There may not be anything special about them. Many of these movies follow the same generic formula. Hell, most of them aren’t even very good. But they consistently make money, so obviously there is a group of people across the country with a particular affinity for popcorn movies, right? I know what you are thinking. Trust me when I say that I feel like most hero movies to date have simply been fun popcorn movies. Nothing more, nothing less. And certainly not worthy of any awards. But there must be something there. Audiences love these movies, and they keep going with the burning desire to ultimately see a really good hero flick.
This year, things changed. This summer, audiences were treated to a film that technically falls into that category, but is in every way possible, different. “The Dark Knight” proved to the world that a hero movie could be made that not only achieved box office success, but also scored critical acclaim for it’s realistic themes, compelling plot points and terrific acting. This movie is being called the best comic book hero film ever, by both fans and critics. “The Dark Knight” broke all kinds of box office records. For a while, it was even in the running to dethrone “Titanic” as the highest grossing film of all time. Ultimately though, it fell short of that goal ($527,441,809, behind “Titanic” with $600,788,188.) It’s current worldwide total gross stands at $991,347,433, and is the fourth highest grossing film of all time. This film was special. I feel that it will go down in history as the movie that forever changed the hero genre. And this year, we may finally see a hero movie nominated for an Oscar!
There are some big changes in store for the Oscars this year. It seems as though the program is going for a decidedly more “pop” vibe. They do plan on some format changes and time constraints in an effort to bring in a wider audience and increase ratings. There are also rumors of a plan to pay tribute to the box office smashes of 2008, without actually giving out awards in relation to these films. A video homage, perhaps? I must admit that it is a nice thought. This is a great way to honor popular films of the year that may not be award worthy. This is exactly what I would like to see when I watch the awards ceremonies.
But wait, there’s more! According to a story in “Entertainment Weekly,” there could be a slot open in the best picture category! They cite the rescheduling of release dates for expected Oscar nominees “The Soloist” starring Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx, and “The Road” starring Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, to early 2009 as reasons for a possible slot in the best pic category. They go on to say that many of the films of ’08 that had Oscar expectations fell far short of their expectations. This could open the door for “The Dark Knight”, one of the biggest crowd pleasers and certainly the highest grossing film of the year.
Personally, I must agree that “The Dark Knight” deserves multiple nominations. And I think that just the thought of Heath Ledger not posthumously receiving a nod for his portrayal of the Joker is heresy. I see multiple nominations ahead for “The Dark Knight.” I will certainly be watching with my fingers crossed, hoping that this ground breaking, game changing, record setting movie gets the honors that it deserves. Regardless of its genre.
What do you think? Should the Oscar’s pay homage to summer blockbusters? What about “The Dark Knight”; Should it be nominated? Why? Sound off and make your voice heard!
Thanks to Entertainment Weekly for information cited in this post.