Oscar Best Picture: Who’s the Odd Man Out?

Frost/Nixon, Revolutionary Road, The Dark Knight

Photo: Universal / Paramount Vantage / Warner Bros.

It seems pretty much all Oscar pundits are in agreement and there are really only six films to consider when it comes to Best Picture. Those films in alphabetical order are:

There are certain factors to consider based on each film on that list, but I don’t think I will get any arguments if I instantly say Button, Milk and Slumdog Millionaire are locks. That leaves us with Frost/Nixon, the superhero movie and Revolutionary Road. Personally I am beginning to think Frost/Nixon is dangerously close to that fourth spot on the list with The Dark Knight and Revolutionary Road ready to battle it out for the fifth and final spot.

Obviously if we were to have this argument at the beginning of the year many would laugh me out of the room if I were to say The Dark Knight had a better chance at the fifth spot than Revolutionary Road, but seeing how recent critic groups have snubbed the Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio flick as of late while The Dark Knight has managed to secure a few kudos here and there as well as being mentioned on several top ten lists already, even the AFI and National Board of Review lists, both of which do not include Revolutionary Road. As a matter of fact Revolutionary Road hasn’t received any mention on any of the lists I have compiled to this point, that is, outside the Golden Globe nominees. So is there really any room left for discussion?

Honestly, the only reason this still is a discussion is due to the fact The Dark Knight is a superhero movie and for it to be nominated for Best Picture would be akin to Disney’s Beauty and the Beast being nominated back in 1992. Who knows, maybe if The Dark Knight gets a nomination the Academy will go the same route it did with animated films and create a Best Comic Book Movie so the nerds and fanboys don’t disrupt the prestige of the Oscars ever again. WALL•E has already felt the effects of the Best Animated Film category as it was never considered for Best Picture by the pundits. “There’s a place for the kids films and it ain’t Best Picture,” I can hear grouchy old men grumbling.

Then again, depending on how closely you look at The Dark Knight just how good is it really? Personally I love the film despite its flaws, but if you get down to it as The Guardian did recently, isn’t it a little absurd?

Wait, so the Joker really orchestrated that big truck chase just so that he could get caught and go to prison, then he could kidnap that guard and grab his phone to make the call to set off the bomb he’d previously sewn inside the henchman in the next cell? That would kill the guy who stole the mobsters’ money, thus enabling him to … er, what? Heath Ledger’s Joker may have been a psychopath, but he had a nerdish capacity for forward planning.

I wouldn’t mind if someone did a similar dissection of the final moments of Frost/Nixon to tell you the truth:

So, you mean to tell me David Frost had a bust interview and decided to study really hard the night before the final interview and nailed Nixon to the wall ultimately becoming an overnight sensation, got the girl and finished it off with a conversation with Tricky Dick at the ninth tee?

Or, how about that Benjamin Button? You mean to tell me he was born as an old man? Yeah right! As The Guardian says, “Everything falls apart if you think about it too much.”

So who will be the odd man out? Personally I think The Dark Knight will make it in, but I still can’t quite come to grips with the idea of Frost/Nixon moving into the top five as I see the Oscars being the one place where Revolutionary Road will find its vindication.

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