ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR
And the winner for Best Picture at the Academy Awards goes to…”Guardians of the Galaxy”? If it sounds far-fetched, it is. In fact, the idea of any superhero blockbuster ever being considered for film’s highest honor is nothing short of taboo. Those movies have their place and it is solely at the top of the summer box office earnings list. Why should such films ever expect to even enter the Oscar conversation?
This unfortunately is the ridiculous dichotomy that exists in the film industry. There is Blockbuster season and Oscar season. Entering into November, we are officially on Oscar watch and this week is no exception with the release of Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated “Interstellar.” The film is being touted as one of the most visually spectacular and innovative movies to date. Yet rather than focusing on its hype, I want to talk about another Nolan film that was famously snubbed of a Best Picture nomination in 2008: “The Dark Knight.”
After seeing it for the first time, I remember two popular opinions that began to circulate. The first was that it was one of the best films people had ever seen. The second was that Heath Ledger deserved to win an Oscar. The Academy agreed with one of those two.
Seeing movies like “The Reader” receive the Best Picture nod over “The Dark Knight” was not only perplexing, but simply incorrect and unwarranted. Then I started to break down the facts. All five Best Picture nominees were released in the late fall or winter. “The Dark Knight” came out in July. This meant that it was not fresh in the voters’ minds for the February awards. The other five films were also all stereotypical dramas, depicting realistic situations with limited special effects. In a sense, “The Dark Knight” was doomed before it even was released.
So what does that mean for this past summer’s unexpected success, “Guardians of the Galaxy”? I mean, even Al Pacino acknowledged its greatness, saying that, “It was amazing. I did find it the most entertaining, inventive, beautiful film.” If the Godfather himself is not a trusted source of quality film, than I don’t know who is. The fact of the matter is that film is film. If it is successful in bringing together a phenomenal cast to perform a brilliant script on a screen that is beautifully shot, then the genre should not matter.
At this moment, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the best picture of 2014. And when it fails to get nominated, I will not shed any tears over the injustice. I will simply shake my head, turn on the TV and watch “The Dark Knight.”