Friday, January 23, 2009

You People are Pompous Jerks: A Fair-minded Open Letter to the MPAA

Dear Academy,
How are you feeling today? Proud of yourselves, I hope. I'm glad you were able to almost entirely disregard The Dark Knight for any of the nominations it deserved. You passed over a great film for the best picture category, an outstanding director for his work and you gave an obligatory nomination to an exemplary actor not because of his talent, but because he died. And all this because you refuse to sully your arrogant waters with such comic book fare. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Titanic is the top grossing film of all time (right now) and received 11 Oscars. Interestingly enough, it is not on the iMDB top 250. The Dark Knight is #5 on this list, currently behind The Shawshank Redemption, The Godfather (1 & 2) and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. TDK received universally positive reviews, many of them lauding it as a great film, one representing a paradigm shift. It is one of the best movies ever made and is simply being fobbed off for having a man with a cape.
Memento is a great movie. So is The Prestige. So is Insomnia. Christopher Nolan directed all of these films, along with TDK's predecessor Batman Begins, which was nominated for cinematography. Nolan has proved himself an inventive storyteller, crafting films that strip characters down to their basic ambitions even while putting them in imaginative and often bizarre circumstances. His daring use of camera (including filming parts of TDK with IMAX cameras), his understanding of emotion and motivation and his ability to tell a rich, deep story should have garnered him a nomination. Unfortunately for him, the Academy looks down on someone who would dare make a movie about something as childish as comic books.
So if the rest of TDK has been shunned so, one would resonably assume its actors would be as well. I will be the first to admit Heath Ledger did a magnificent job as the Joker, but it seems Oscars are not being given out based on actual talent. This is a token nomination, which is a shame. It is a shame to diminish such talent by essentially nominating out of pity. I suppose I'll just have to wait and see who wins.
The passing-over of The Dark Knight is yet another example of movies being overlooked because they aren't up to the high brow standards of elitists and self-styled aristocrats. It's just a pity films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is getting lukewarm reviews, are so rewarded while movies like The Dark Knight are treated as little more than pulp. Which is saying something, because this is the same institution which gave the Oscar for best song to "It's Hard out here 4 a Pimp" from Hustle and Flow. This just makes me sick.

-The Renaissance Writer