Of course, Warner Bros. would like us all to believe that "The Dark Knight" is a shoo-in for best-picture and director noms, but those may be a bit of a s-t-r-e-t-c-h, even for mighty Batman. However, director/co-writer Christopher Nolan might be nominated along with his brother Jonathan for crafting such words as these growled by the Joker (Heath Ledger) to Batman (Christian Bale): "You're just a freak . . . like me!"
Popcorn pix like "The Dark Knight" aren't often appreciated by the academy for writing, but sometimes voters nominate the screenplays of animated pix ("Ratatouille," "The Incredibles," "Finding Nemo"), blockbusters ("Gladiator"), comedies ("Big"), even fantasies ("Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" won).
Besides, the Nolans are past nominees for best screenplay — for "Memento." Sadly, they got robbed by the overrated script to "Gosford Park," so the academy owes 'em. That's how I look at it.
And considering the Oscar pedigree of many other members of its creative team, "The Dark Knight" could be a major player in many top races.
ART DIRECTION —Nathan Crowley scored a bid for "The Prestige."
CINEMATOGRAPHY — Wally Pfister was nominated for "The Prestige" and "Batman Begins."
COSTUMES — Lindy Hemming won for "Topsy-Turvy."
EDITING — Lee Smith was nommed for "Master and Commander."
MAKEUP — Messing up the gook on Heath Ledger's face like that was brilliant. This Joker looks crazier than ever . . . and he IS, natch. The academy may want to thank Peter Robb-King, who was nommed for "Legend."
MUSIC — James Newton Howard (seven nominations, including "Michael Clayton," "My Best Friend's Wedding," "The Prince of Tides") and Hans Zimmer (seven noms; he won for "The Lion King").
SOUND EDITING — Richard King won for "Master and Commander" and was nominated for "War of the Worlds."
SOUND MIXING —Ed Novick was up for "Spider-Man."
VISUAL EFFECTS — Ian Hunter is long overdue for Oscar recognition, having three previous noms from the Visual Effects Society for socko work on the likes of "Spider-Man 3" and "Live Free or Die Hard."
But what about Heath Ledger's shot at an Oscar in the acting categories? First, the studio must decide if he should compete in lead or supporting — READ MORE about that hot debate.
Many Oscarologists believe that Heath Ledger's ghost holds an I.O.U. after having lost the best-actor award for for "Brokeback Mountain" — CLICK HERE to read more! Other Oscar gurus believe Heath Ledger is doomed and can't win — READ MORE, CLICK HERE!
Has Christian Bale nixed his future Oscar hopes because of his recent clash with his family? At the Oscars, bad boys pay a high price for their off-screen antics: READ MORE