If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Few directors have garnered as much praise in the last decade as Christopher Nolan has. Said praise has come from impressive box office numbers -almost $1.2 billion domestically-, many appearances in critics' end of the year top 10 lists and awards from pretty much every award ceremony in the Anglophone world. Except for one, the grand daddy of them all: the Academy Awards. With only three nominations under his belt, none of which are for Best Director, the golden statuette continues to elude him.
Two of those nominations, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, came last night for his blockbuster for the thinking man: Inception. The former was a long-shot because of stiff competition and seemed to be a toss up between The King's Speech and The Social Network, with Black Swan slightly lagging behind. Had it won it would have marked a before and an after for science fiction come award season, the same way Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King did for the fantasy genre.
On the other hand, the second nomination was much closer for him to grasp. HIs imaginative and original script, with its ending left wide open for discussion made it by far the most talked about film of the year. It spawned hundreds of articles that tried to explain the beautifully contrived plot and many internet message board users debated it frame by frame. But the dream fell apart when Josh Brolin announced the night's big winner, The King's Speech, took home yet another award. The whole situation paralleled what had happened 9 years earlier when another Christopher Nolan original script, Memento, with its innovative storytelling process lost to Gosford Park, another British film set during the Interwar period. If I had my way all British period piece screeners sent to the Academy members would begin with Admiral Ackbar yelling the phrase he is most remembered for today: It's a trap!.
But the bigger question remains: Will Nolan ever receive an Oscar?
His next project, the sequel to The Dark Knight, named The Dark Knight Rises is to be released July 2012. It is unlikely the flim gets nominated for Best Screenplay as the Academy isn't likely to think very highly of a superhero movie's screenplay. The two other categories Nolan would be eligible for are Best Picture and Best Director. It wouldn't, under normal circumstances and assuming the film isn't significantly worse than its predecessors, be far fetched for him to grab both nominations especially since the Best Picture category has been expanded to include 10 films. But the Academy doesn't seem to be ready to be able to give a comic book movie Best Picture so it seems Best Director is Nolan's closest shot.
But things get interesting when we consider Nolan's supposed next project: a biopic on eccentric film producer and aviator (if combining both wasn't eccentric enough) Howard Hughes set for a 2014 release. Biopics are known for being Oscar-bait and considering Nolan's track record, it wouldn't seem too far fetched to place it on our early 2015 Oscar predictions as the front runner by default.
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