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Oscar nominations

Sigh... I like "important" movies and I like "popcorn" movies. I understand the award-bestowing powers that be feel there is a large divide between the two. Popcorn movies try to rake in big box office numbers. important movies strive to collect critical acclaim. It's rare for a film to fall fittingly into both categories. This year we had one. I left The Dark Knight not only thinking, "Heath Ledger should win an Oscar for this." I was convinced it was a Best Picture contender. I saw it three times in the theater and my thoughts intensified with each viewing (it probably helped that last time was in IMAX). It ended up being on of the most critically acclaimed films of the year, and not just because it made a bunch of money and not just because of Ledger's performance. That's why so many were disappointed this morning when The Dark Knight wasn't on the list of nominees for Best Director or Best Picture. The Internets are all abuzz today with arguments against TDK: It was too long and dragged in spots (the same can be said about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button); It made too much money (but Titanic did well for itself); it's only good because of Heath (the airplane escape in Hong Kong, Bruce Wayne grabbing a gun and tearing it apart as he walked along, Gary Oldman's speech at the end of the film, were they not watching?); and my favorite argument--it can't be taken seriously because it's about BATMAN. Now I admit I'm probably more of a Batman fan than the average moviegoer, but I think many would agree that TDK is a lot more than just the best film ever made about Batman. When Johnny Depp was nominated for the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, I was ecstatic. But did I expect him to win? Heck no. In my eyes it was, for lack of a better way to put it, just an honor for him just to be recognized for great work in a film many saw as merely decent fluff. Had The Dark Knight been nominated, I wouldn't have gotten my hopes up. I wouldn't have huffed and puffed about how it was robbed. But The Dark Knight was one of the best films of the year and it deserved to be on that list. Argh. There's plenty more to discuss about these nominations; I'll get over my grump and discuss the good stuff tomorrow.