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'The Dark Knight Rises' holds a giant Oscar I.O.U.

By Tom O'Neil
Jul 22 2012 14:55 pm
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"'The Dark Knight Rises' was terrific... but my gut feeling remains that it's not the sort of thing that will get a best picture nomination," tweeted Hollywood Reporter Oscar prophet Scott Feinberg on Saturday.

Oh, yeah? Batman is holding a giant Oscar I.O.U. and academy members are obliged to pay it off if it's widely agreed that this "Dark Knight" truly rises -- to worthiness. Clearly, it has, according to two key measures. At Rotten Tomatoes, its critics' score is 87% and its audience score is 94%.

The original "The Dark Knight" (2008) scored even higher – nabbing 94% from reviewers and 96% from movie-goers – but it didn't get its full Oscar due. It earned 8 noms and two wins (supporting actor Heath Ledger, sound editing), but it was shut out of the top races for Best Picture and Director.

Meantime, over at other awards, it made the American Film Institute's list of Top 10 films of the year and it won Favorite Picture at the People's Choice Awards. It earned top nominations from the producers', directors', writers' and other guilds, MTV Movie Awards and Critics Choice Awards. It came in second place in the voting for Best Picture at the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.

When Oscar nominations were unveiled and "The Dark Knight" failed to make the top list, cries of outrage were so deafening that the academy resorted to a desperate remedy. The voting rules were changed to expand the number of Best Picture nominations beyond five nominees. At first, the new rule specified 10 slots, then a fluid number between 6 and 10, which resulted in 9 nominees last year.

Now as the next derby approaches, there will be more room in the category than existed when "The Dark Knight" got snubbed. If "The Dark Knight Rises" fails to reap a bid, just imagine how loud new roars of outrage will be.

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