If you want to spot the moment where the Oscars lost what little relevance they had, it was 2008, when The Dark Knight, part of a cadre of movies that got nominated for a whole bunch of awards, a movie that tapped heavily into America’s anxiety over 9/11 and the resulting political and practical fallout, a movie almost universally critically acclaimed, got shafted in favor of The Reader, a mocked also-ran that nobody even thought was in serious Oscar contention.
As it was, you could tell Heath Ledger’s nomination and win was a begrudging one: “Fine, he died, so he can have one, but screw the rest of you.” An attitude that seems to have climaxed with this year’s Oscars.
Before we get into the shafting, we just want to note here that the Transformers series has been nominated for seven Academy Awards. We also want to note that we weren’t expecting The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers or Dredd to get much in the way of respect, but generally good movies that aren’t “artistic” enough for the humorless types running the Academy get thrown a bone in categories like sound editing and visual effects.
Dredd getting nada was not surprising. But The Dark Knight Rises is completely absent, as far as we can tell. No nods for anything: Not costume design, not editing, not visual effects, not score, nothing. We know it’s well on its way to Temple of Doom status among critics and fans alike, but consider that The Dark Knight pulled eight nominations, won two of them, and the behind-the-scenes crew are largely the same people.
The Avengers, meanwhile, got one nod, for special visual effects.
Ouch. Apparently that’s what a billion dollars and lots of movie stars gets you. Meanwhile, The Hobbit managed to land three nominations, so we guess fake midgets are more appealing than superheroics in Hollywood. Oh, and Wreck-It Ralph got nominated for best Animated Feature.
Like we said, we weren’t expecting a comic book movie to take home Best Picture or anything, but the almost total absence of the movies that were, uh, pretty much the only pop cultural dent Hollywood made this year is surprising to say the least. Might want to look into that, guys.