Why So Serious?

It seems that all anyone can talk about, whether or not they’ve seen the film seems incidental, is how great Heath Ledger’s performance is as The Joker in The Dark Knight and how it is definitely an Oscar worthy performance, with anything less than Best Supporting Oscar come next February will be nothing but a tragedy. While we have no doubts that Ledger’s performance is most likely incendiary, and he was nothing short of a brilliant actor, is it fair to ask whether or not he will recieve the Oscar based on his performance alone, or based on the fact that its something of a tragedy that it will be award post-humously?

As much as Oscar loves indie-to-mainstream cross over darlings, such as 2008’s split-votes There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men, nothing gets their blood pumping like a big expensive epic. Ben-Hur back in its day and Titanic more recently have shown that you can go overboard on the spectacle and still have your eyes set on more than just Best Visual Effects. And a recent trend-bend has shown Oscar to be more acceptable to genres other than ‘Drama’, with Best Actor nods going to Johnny Depp (Pirates Of The Caribbean) and Amy Adams (Enchanted), not to mention the shock that a fantasy film is now tied at the top with most Oscars won. With The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King beating the likes of Lost In Translation, Seabiscuit and Mystic River, all of which up until that point would’ve been pure Oscar bait, it showed that the Academy was finally willing to open up to the possibility that any and all genres are “potential” winners. And while it’ll be a good while yet before we see anyone from a horror film reading out an acceptance speech, is it such a stretch to think that a “comic book movie” could be nominated for the big one on the big night?

Certainly all early word has it compared to The Godfather Part II and Heat, which is no bad thing, and on the back of the wave of Ledger’s performance, not to mention the “hush hush could it be even better?” performance from Aaron Eckhart, Nolan’s constantly improving directing abilities, as well as writing abilities with his brother. Bale, too, could be in with mention, as he is without doubt one of the greatest younger generation actors working today. It will be one of the two best films released this summer, and since WALL-E can’t possibly win since the Academy decided that Animated movies have their own catagorey, its not such a stretch to imagine it being shortlisted, is it?

Well, that depends. Even though they haven’t been released yet, so their quality can’t be entirely commented upon, but come award seasons, there will be a splurg of Oscar Baiting movies, like The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button, The Reader, The Changeling, Australia, Revolutionary Road, Che, Milk, Miracle At St. Anna, The Hurt Locker…… and thats just for starters, off the top of my head.

So, Batman, you’ve got your work for you, but lets try and put a smile on that face, Oscar.

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