The Huffpo Gets into the Oscar Game – Swings and Misses

In a recent article on the Oscar race by Christopher Rosen an attempt was made to figure out which actors have the best shot at an Oscar nod in The Dark Knight Rises. There is only one. And her name is Anne Hathaway. Spirited, beautiful, liked by Academy members and the only performer singled out for her work in the film. She comes in at number two on Rosen’s list but don’t believe the hype. If there is going to be one, it will most likely be her. True, everyone thinks Les Miz will be her big Oscar grab and it probably will be but — that doesn’t take away the fact that she’s still the film’s best shot at an acting nod.

It would be lovely if Michael Caine or Christian Bale or Morgan Freeman has a shot here. But the way these things go, they usually don’t.

84 Comments on this Post

  1. Meredith Leigh

    But it’s Michael Caine…Michael Caine! They love him and he always gives fabulous speeches. They gave him supporting actor once when it was deserved (although I have a very warm soft spot for Tom Berenger) and once when not deserved (Tom Cruise should have an Oscar no matter how goofy he is). And never have given him actor (should have one for Educating Rita in my opinion.) I really think there is a slot for him. Don’t get me wrong, I love Anne in all things and would only be happy if she were recognized for this (can’t imagine Christian Bale was able to keep his winky under control when she was prancing about in that costume) but Michael Caine weeps for chrissakes!

  2. Anne Hathaway was the only thing I enjoyed about this film. By far the best performance of any actor in it. Michael Caine should be embarrassed if he gets nominated for this.

  3. Hathaway, Gordon-Levitt, and Caine gave the best performances in that movie. Hathaway and Gordon-Levitt are the only people who deserve Oscar nominations for this because they do so much with their roles. My mom, who had not been impressed with Hathaway outside of Rachel Getting Married, thought she was great in this. Gordon-Levitt adds a lot to a bland character. Caine is fine but is relegated to the sidelines. Bale is Bale. Poor Morgan Freeman and Marion Cotillard barely get anything to do. Hardy is fine but is obscured underneath that mask (could they not find a better character for him to play?). Hathaway will probably end up getting her nomination for Les Mis anyway, but I would not be surprised to see critics groups cite her for both performances.

  4. I can see their point. Michael Caine is the only character bringing real emotion for the viewer. He was the heart of the film, you could relate to him. I rank the performances as:

    1) Christian Bale
    2) Joseph Gordon-Levitt
    3) Michael Caine
    4) Anne Hathaway
    6) Tom Hardy
    7) Gary Oldman
    8) Morgan Freeman

  5. As much as I was surprised that Anne did a good job (still think she doesnt compares to Pfeiffers brilliance, no matter how different the characters are written) I honestly dont see the ampas nominating her for this. She was in no way or form superior to Ledger, and while her reviews were stellar, they were not on par with the greatness that Ledger was reviewed in. She wont get nominated for this. I love the film, and I truly did love her performance in it, but this is not going to happen no matter how much the fanboys or studio push her. She is winning for Les Miserables.

  6. moviewatcher

    The only way there will be any awards for Anne Hathaway for TDKR is in the Critics Group Awards. When they award the Supp. Actress prize, they give it for both Les Miserables and TDKR (a la Jessica Chastain last year). SAG, Golden Globes and Oscar nominations will be for Les Miserables.

    There is only one way she gets in for TDKR… and that is Les Miserables flopping. But I just don’t see that happening. Unless the voices of the actors are terrible, it will get nominated. The songs are just too good. of course the script could be bad or worse… the directing could ruin the movie!! In musicals, directing is paramount. In Tom Hooper we trust.

  7. She was in no way or form superior to Ledger

    Irrelevant. The only performance that was aiming to be superior to Ledger was Hardy, who was obscured beneath a mask. Hathaway gave the best reviewed performance in the movie and that (among other things) will help her earn a nom (or at least help her come close).

  8. Yes! I wrote this in my review of The Dark Knight Rises

    Anne Hathaway – she gave out the best performance in the entire film, and that’s saying a lot given the woefully short, if well-utilized, screentime that she was allotted in the grand scheme of things in Nolan’s really big finale . She spends most of that time as the sultry and sexy Catwoman, who deals with purred honeyed words and quick, fluid violence dispensed with help from her dagger-like heels. But Hathaway’s role becomes a fully-fleshed character, not a caricature and mere eye-candy addition to the cast, when she plays the vulnerable woman under the mask, the small-time thief Selina Kyle. Why is Selina morally ambiguous, which translates to Catwoman not having any set allegiance to neither Batman nor Bane? Simple answer. She is merely afraid, afraid of Bane and everything that he brings with him on his terrible conquest to bring Gotham to its knees. Alone, she is powerless to do anything to stop him and also maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t want to either. Hathaway’s Selina Kyle is just a little scared girl lost in a big, bad world, confused like everyone else and pretending not to be. She’s absolutely not glorified or objectified by Nolan, which is refreshing to say the least.

  9. rufussondheim

    There wasn’t anything genuine or sincere about Caine here. His scene was Acting 101, any actor can do that scene.

    The problem was that the dialogue he was given it was so wooden. And he just stood there.

  10. julian the emperor

    Completely agree with you, Rufus, on Caine. And to even suggest Freeman? For what? Appearing here and there saying some rubbish about nuclear reactors?

    About Hathaway (the only one with a credible shot): The humor of the part seemed fresh for about five minutes (the whole of that first scene where she appears). Everything after that initial excitement seemed like an already tired gag. Not impressed with the scripting of that part, is what I’m saying, but Anne does a commendable job with what she’s offered. That in itself does not merit an Oscar nomination, though. Far from it. But stranger things have happened in the past. If, say, Les Mis misses out on Oscar recognition (because the execution is as bloated as the idea of making it in the first place), Anne’s part in this one could get a boost, who knows? I highly doubt it.

  11. Hathaway’s Selina Kyle is just a little scared girl lost in a big, bad world,

    omg.

  12. Definitely the best thing about the film. I only wish there was more of her. In the 2nd half I kept thinking “Where’s Anne?”

    She’s strong, sexy, and funny. I’m not sure why so many were against her casting in the first place. Kyle has a sense of humor and Hathaway more often than not is rather good with comedy. I feel like Hathaway as an actress is very much a throwback movie star to certain actresses of the 40s and 50s. Also anyone who says she isn’t sexy or hot apparently hasn’t seen Love and Other Drugs.

  13. Hardy does not get near enough praise for what he did with his voice. It was a brilliant creative choice making Bane sound like a posh old British man versus what you typically think of when you see a character like him.

  14. Completely agree, Sasha. Although Hathaway’s getting in and probably winning for Les Misérables, she’s The Dark Knight Rises‘ best bet at an acting nod. Plus, as has been pointed out, she might win for both films with the major critics groups since they like to (unofficially) hand out “body of work” wins.

    Have no clue why people are giving credence to the idea that Michael Caine is an Oscar contender, as he wasn’t even particularly amazing in the film. Fine and good with his part, but there’s not much going on with his performance

    I know contending for an Oscar and giving an amazing performance don’t always go together like they should, but still, it’s genuinely mind-boggling

  15. @Mel – yes, I nailed it right on the head, didn’t I?

  16. She gives a good performance, but she was not the best. Hardy and Gordon Levitt were better than her.
    Tom Hardy deserves more love. I’m not talking about Oscar, but he deserves more recognition.

  17. I think it’s right to say if anyone has a shot at getting an acting nod in TDK, it is Anne — but this is not happening, either. She’s fine in the role, but the only thing that is strech-y about it is her costume. Come November, we’ll all be talking about at least five other supporting roles that are stronger. The bigger problem is the movie itself. It was only OK on first viewing, and it gets worse the more you think about it. (The script … oh, goodness, what a mess.) I feel bad for Nolan, because he deserves more recognition. When it doesn’t happen in February, it won’t be solely because people can’t warm up to the idea of honoring comic books.

  18. this is ridiculous. Nobody else in the cast came as close as to the performance and the character created by Tom Hardy.

  19. Tero Heikkinen

    None of the actors in TDKR will be nominated.

  20. Aaron B

    Hathaway gives the best performance in the film by a pretty large margin in my mind. Still, like others have said, she’ll probably get the nom for Les Mis instead.

  21. Chris138

    I don’t think the movie will getting any acting nods at the Oscars. The entire ensemble was good, but nothing that stood out like Ledger for the Academy to nominate an individual performance. My two personal favorite performances in the film were by Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I thought Anne Hathaway was pretty good as well but I expected there to be more of her. Christian Bale was also pretty good but I still think his best work as the character(s) is in Batman Begins. Gary Oldman’s shining moment as Commissioner Gordon, to me at least, is in The Dark Knight.

  22. Chris138

    Also glad to see some more recognition for Hardy’s performance in these comments. I thought he held the screen incredibly well every time he was on it, and I found him to be genuinely menacing/creepy most of the time.

  23. Tom Hardy gave the most memorable performances in the movie. In fact, I had more fun watching James Bond villain Bane than I ever did Joker.

    “Ah you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, by then it was nothing to me but blinding!”

    gold

  24. I agree with Meredith and Jerry, as well as the HP odds. I think Caine stands the best chance.

  25. @Mel – yes, I nailed it right on the head, didn’t I?

    Not particularly. I was omg’ing how cliche that statement was. She is more than that, dude. She is a strong, self-assured woman. The only thing she may be scared of is that she cares about Bruce Wayne.

  26. Winston

    Oh HUSH!! There will be no Oscar nomination here for Anne Hathaway in a role that still is synonymous with Michelle Pfeiffer’s legendary performance!!

    Nooooooooooo!!! HeLL noooooooo!!

  27. Anne Hathaway was brilliant! I was so amazed by how much, how perfect she fit the role. And let’s just clear out one thing- she didn’t play “Catwoman” she played Selina Kyle. Her performance can’t be compared to Michelle Pfeiffer- who was great as well. I loved every scene she was in, she stole the spotlight! When the movie was over, I immediately noticed everyone in the theater talking about her. “She’s such a good actress,” or “Wow I wasn’t expecting her to be that good” was just some of what I heard. Oscar nomination for TDKR or not- 2013 is her Oscar year!

  28. REFORM THE ACADEMY

    I think all the disagreement here just goes to show how strong the entire cast is; many agree Hathaway was best but others say Levitt or Bale or Caine or Hardy or…

  29. Craig Z

    This whole argument is pointless. Nobody in that movie is getting close to a nomination.

  30. Tye-Grr

    IMHO, the only two even worthy of the consideration are Hathaway and Gordon-Levitt. That said, both have much more Oscar friendly films and roles coming up later in the year (Hathaway in ‘Les Misérables’, and Gordon-Levitt in ‘Lincoln’).

  31. Anne was fantastic but she isn`t getting the kind of hype Heath did. Which makes sense cause The Joker was much more involved in the plot than Catwoman. She was the best thing about the movie but she was also still very much left on the margins and the movie forgets about her for a good chunk of it. Shame.

    Anyway, Selina nom = no win, Fantine nom = win. You know it`s true. Selina praise can only help cement the Fantine win.

    I don`t get Oscar talk for JGL. he`s a great actor and he did well in TDKR but John Blake was, eh, whatever. Not very interesting. Not his fault, he did fine./ It`s just that the character wasn`t all that engaging and that we-orphans-are-soul-mates speech was awful. Not awfully delivered but just awfully written.

  32. murtaza

    anne hathaway was in no way oscar material, this is absurd. nothing in the movie was oscar material because it was MAJOR LETDOWN.

  33. Not particularly. I was omg’ing how cliche that statement was. She is more than that, dude. She is a strong, self-assured woman. The only thing she may be scared of is that she cares about Bruce Wayne.

    “You should be as afraid of him as I am.” Sure, Selina is oftentimes strong and self-assured at first look, but what makes her a brilliant character underneath, where it counts, is because Nolan and Hathaway didn’t shy away from making her a vulnerable, scared girl. She is insecure and unsure of where she stands, dominated by her fear of Bane and what he unleashed in the dirty world of The Dark Knight Rises until she finally overcomes it.

  34. Alfredo

    For those of you who are saying that Hathaway has no shot in hell I think you are just as bad as those who say she is a shoo-in for a nomination.

    Let’s go back a few years to when The Dark Knight came out and some were talking about Heath Ledger’s amazing performance as the Joker. Many at this time were saying there is no way in hell the academy will give him a nomination much less give him the award.

    So let’s keep an open mind to the possibility that if all the other performances coming down the pipe are big turds than she has a very strong chance to get a nomination. She is well liked by the Academy.

    Another thing, EW online is reporting that President Obama gave high praise to Hathaway saying that she is “the best thing about the film”. So maybe this gives her a bump in that people will look at her differently now.

  35. Agree. I really liked Caine’s work, but Hathaway pushed this film to a whole new level. A December DVD/Blu release could help with a nomination depending how Les Mis goes.

    I could see Bale nominated in a year with a weaker field, but he just won. I’d like to see Caine nominated though, based on the supporting actors so far this year (but Paul Giamatti is still tops for Cosmopolis).

  36. I honestly don’t see The Dark Knight Rises scoring outside of techs.

    In 2008 The Dark Knight was a phenomenon that everyone was talking about. Yet AMPAS snubbed it out of nominations for Picture, Director, and Screenplay. TDKR is well liked by critics and doing respectable box office, but it is not a phenomenon. It’s hard to see AMPAS going out of their way to recognize TDKR when they had such a hard time embracing the previous film.

    If anyone gets in I think it would be Caine. He’s an academy favorite gicing his best performance since The Quiet American. He also has the added benefit of having given memorable performances in the first two Nolan Batmans.

  37. What`s wrong with being scared? Everyone is scared. One can`t have courage without being scared. So-called fearless characters are unbelievable, unrelatable and boring because eevrything comes easy for them, there are no stakes. That selina helped bruce later despite her fear of Bane shows she`s a strong character. if she helped because she doesn`t fear anything,eh, zzzzzzzz.

    That said, I agree with Murtaza. It was a letdown. I`m kinda baffled that Sasha is pushing for TDKR on the basis of strong female characters as if that was the point of the movie. Cotillard one was terrible in every way and you-know-what scene is righfully lampooned all over the Internet. Plus despite nice addition to interesting female character gallery, Selina was still largely playing second fiddle to John Blake, bruce and Bane. Boys Club all around despite showstealing turn by a girl. So I`d like Sasha to elaborate more about her hate for Avatar although it`s a big, real girl power movie if there was ever one, and support of TDKR as perceived promoter of strong female characters. Really weird.

  38. Craig Z

    Alfredo, nobody with a brain or nobody without a crazy bias was saying that Ledger would not be nominated. He was in as soon as the reviews started rolling in. Hathaway isn’t happening. That is a silly comparison.

  39. Reform the Academy

    I watched Dog Day Afternoon last night and it’s done nothing to raise my opinion of 70’s films. Love the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 80’s and beyond, but 70’s I could easily do without…

  40. Aaron B

    I don’t get people saying the character of Selina Kyle is some sort of after-thought or left on the sidelines. To me she almost to be the heart of the story. If there’s anyone who goes through any sort of change and that we are supposed to connect with it’s her.

  41. i think you’re right sasha… i don’t think anyone from the film has a shot (nolan has a better shot than any actor i think) but hathaway has the greatest chance… she is great and supporting actress doesn’t usually have a ton of depth/competition.

    also- when is someone gonna make a judy garland biopic starring hathaway? she is a dead-ringer for garland, and she can sing. if i were hathaway i’d have bought the rights years ago and fund the film myself.

  42. Ryan Adams

    All The Holiday Movies of 2012 need to be postponed until Summer 2013 in order for enough slots to open up for any actor in The Dark Knight Rises to be nominated.

    Michael Caine already has two Oscars. No half-minute weepy scene is going to get him a nomination. Alfred is not Gandalf. Alfred is not Dumbledore.

    Anne Hathaway and Tom Hardy are guaranteed to be future Oscar winners. But not this way. Not this movie. Hathaway and Hardy enhanced the movie immensely, and TDKR gave them roles meaty enough to score career points. That’s great, That’s useful. And that’s all.

  43. Chris138

    “Another thing, EW online is reporting that President Obama gave high praise to Hathaway saying that she is “the best thing about the film”. So maybe this gives her a bump in that people will look at her differently now.”

    Not to be the cynical asshole here, but she was sitting in the audience at his fundraiser when he said that.

  44. “Another thing, EW online is reporting that President Obama gave high praise to Hathaway saying that she is “the best thing about the film”. So maybe this gives her a bump in that people will look at her differently now.”
    Not to be the cynical asshole here, but she was sitting in the audience at his fundraiser when he said that.

    I though Hathaway was hosting the event too.

  45. Alfredo

    Craig, I wish I had the time and patience to go into the archives but I distinctly remember there still being doubt as to whether or not Ledger would get a nomination. It wasn’t until September rolled around that people gave in to the idea that he would be nominated which of course led to the debate as to whether or not he would win.

  46. the scary part is that people dont recognize just how brilliant Hardy’s performance was. If you compare him to the nominees of the supporting category from the past years he is easily better than many of them, even better than many of the winners.

    His Bane was better than Bardem’s Anton Chigurh, so he should be nominated. At this point, he should be the pick to win.

  47. I think the audience, has a large inability to disconnect writing of the character and the actor’s performance. You can consider the character’s arc when considering the performance. That’s the writer’s job, not the actors. The story of the character is written by the writer. But the characterization and performance is brought by the actor. You can’t say things like “she/he is the heart of the film” when judging performances. That’s an irrelevant argument. The character that was written as the heart of the film, WILL ALWAYS be the heart of the film. That has nothing to do with the acting, but the story.

    But what did the actor do with the character? How did they characterize their physicality? Their movement and rhythm? Their voice? Their thought pattern? Their feelings? Their will? Their mannerisms? These are the elements of the performance.

    When you consider all these elements, What Tom Hardy did was not only on the same level as Heath Ledger, but arguably better….

    so I ask this question…How could they NOT nominate Tom Hardy? It would be preposterous.

  48. Ryan Adams

    Alfredo, there were doubters even past September. Conventional wisdom said that the Academy very rarely bestows a posthumous Oscar. There were plenty of dubious people all year long.

    It’s easy for me to search the archive from the dashboard panel. All I remember for certain is that I had no doubt as early as July 28, 2008. I made a lengthy argument, pleading the case that Heath Ledger was a special circumstance and to hell with Oscar precedents.

    It’s fitting that “Nobody knows anything” got dropped as a banner slogan around here,* because this year everybody knows at least one thing: Heath Ledger will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Done deal. Fait accompli.

    In a season when we’ll be stressing over all kinds of votes, one race is a virtual certainty. The same as last year when we began chanting that Cate Blanchett was guaranteed to be nominated (twice). The same way we knew that Javier Bardem would be nominated, and the strength of that role gave us solid confidence to say he’d ride the crest of that early acclaim all the way to Kodak stage. We only needed to see that performance once to know it would be next to impossible to top. It hardly mattered what movies or roles were yet to come, because there was simply no doubt. We said it last summer and stuck to our guns (and our only regret was not betting tons of money on it).

    It’s time to stop waffling and step up with the same confidence this year. It’s pretty amazing to me that there are holdouts who still have reservations and misgivings about Heath Ledger even being nominated. I’m ready to take a stand and say he’s not only sure to be Oscar-nominated — he’ll win it.

    But you’re right — equally strong reasons against him winning were being argued too. Or else I wouldn’t have felt the need to go on a rant to fight about it.

    I don’t get to be right very often so I know exactly where to look to find the rare examples when I was.

    :)

    *(that year the site slogan changed from “Nobody knows anything.” to “If you dream, dream big.” — from The Bad and the Beautiful, 1952. Since then we know that we do know some things. But we got burned too bad to dream big. So now we’re back to “The Trick is Not Minding.”)

  49. Ryan Adams

    VVS, I hope you don’t mind if I borrow and print your thoughts on Bane from an email you sent me:

    Tom Hardy is no stranger to playing the female archetype in his roles. He recently explained that in Lawless he approached his role as if he was playing a maternal figure in the brothers’ lives.

    Writing out the events that shape Bane’s life, we can quickly figure out what his archetype is.

    1. Talia’s mother is killed in prison

    2. Bane steps in to protect Talia and essentially becomes her mother.

    We are never given the reason for why Ra’s deems Bane a monster other than he loves her. Is another man taking on the role of a mother in Talia’s life on a primative level something that would perhaps disturb Ra’s? I would think so.

    Throughout the film, Bane’s physicality is in accordance to this theory. Whether he has his hands on his waist, on his vest, or clasped in front of him…all these gestures evoke the image of a mother holding a child.

    That’s all kinds of brilliant. I already thought the performance was powerful, but you’ve helped me gain even greater appreciation for what Hardy was up to.

  50. @Ryan. I expanded even more on that theory here:

    Excuse the grammar and syntax as I was rushing to write my ideas down.

    “I think a lot of people out there are misunderstanding the relationship between Bane and Talia….it’s not that of lovers, it’s that of a parent/child. But more specifically, that of a mother and a daughter.

    Here’s the evidence

    It starts with the actor analyzing the dramatic text.

    when the character is introduced in such a way, where we are told that a girl’s mother is killed, and then this man comes into the girl’s life and replaces the mother, this is a huge clue to the ACTOR about what the WRITER’s SUBCONSCIOUS is saying about this character. Since the character replaces the mother, he actually is driven by the archetype of a “mother.”

    Now let’s look at the evidence within the film that supports this theory that Tom used the archetype of a mother for his performance.

    1) Talia tells Bruce that Ra’s thought of Bane as a monster, because he reminded him of the hell that her mother went to. Bane, literally, reminds Ra’s of Talia’s mother because he cares for Talia in the same way that a mother would and this disturbs him.

    2) Michael Caine’s dialogue about the pit. Paraphrasing here but he says something to the effect of “Many go into the pit and never return. But sometimes, the pit spits something back.” This is a metaphor for Talia’s mother going into the pit, and coming out as Bane.

    3) When Tom Hardy delivers the speech written by Gordon, listen to how distraught he is when he reads the words ” I praised the madman who tried to murder MY OWN CHILD.” This clearly brings him to the thought of Talia and how he views her.

    4) Look at Tom Hardy’s physical choices. Hands on waist, Hands on vest, Hands clasped in front of him. He walks like a gorilla but he always has his hands/arms in some variation of these 3 positions….what do they all look like? A person holding a child in their arms. Bane’s subconscious is so preoccupied with protecting this child, that it manifests in his body.

    5) Confirmation from Nolan that the character has a female archetype: As many know the story is based on A Tale of Two Cities, where the french peasantry led by MADAME DEFARGE punish the aristocrats. In the story, Madam Defarge knits as a symbol of plotting revenge against those who have wronged her and her kind. Look at what Bane does in the court room scene. It looks a lot like knitting, not sure if it is, but it certainly sparks that visual connection. So clearly, Nolan, too based the character on a female archetype.”

    But that’s just the psychology of Bane. What about the external characteristics?

    Like the voice for example. Strip the words down to pure sound and its a thin growl of pain. EXACTLY how a man of his size and brutality would express pain. Every syllable pronounced by the character expresses this pain.

    I’m not saying Hathaway wasn’t incredible. She was great. I loved the layers of her character and how she switched between them. But Hardy was simply on another level. Gary Oldman was second best.

    Somebody needs to bring this up to the Academy, cause I swear they are too blind to notice it on their own.

  51. julian the emperor

    I think Tom Hardy gives – yet another – fine performance, but having a mask hiding 60% of your face for the entire duration of the movie, doesn’t exactly help me realize that (it only obscures it).

    Yes, he is physically imposing and ultimately kind of vulnerable (which his eyes reveal tellingly in his final scene), but to me, the whole Bane figure just isn’t on a par with the Joker, but never mind. In and of itself, it isn’t a terribly well-executed figure. His motivation is pure evil, ok. Yes, we get a good glimpse of his “background” (born in the dark and all that jazz), but does that account for anything? Does it account for the tediousness of having to wait five months before blowing up the city, if you are evil and not-caring? The physical scenes (when he breaks Batman’s back and the fist fight in the end) are curiously lacking in drama and tension (something that the Joker scenes had in spades).
    Even Hardy cannot fully bring a masked avenger like Bane to life, apparently, and when Nolan and bro don’t manage to on paper, of course, it is an even more daunting task (even though I liked Bane’s way with the Wall Street-type: “Why are you here, then?” or something along those lines).
    I think Bane is a credible villain for about twenty minutes, but from the minute we start getting to know what this figure is all about, the mystery fades and the retaliation he is instigating becomes oddly tiresome, redundant almost by default.

    Bottom line: Hardy is good, I just don’t think Bane as a figure is all that much. He is furthermore undone by the script, which is where he should have been brought truly to life.

  52. julian the emperor

    VVS: What I don’t get is that you insist on the “layers” of the characters. Why try to look for something that just isn’t there. If anything is truly – and consistently – missing in Nolan’s work it is characters with “layers”. Admittedly, he does a hell of a lot of an effort to hide that inescapable fact, but it remains. There is nothing underneath that preposterous sheen of messy structure, thematic confusion, one-dimensional portrayals and LOUD spectacle.

    The Dickens reference: Oh, come on. Nolan would come up with stuff like that, wouldn’t he? You really think he uses Dickens as anything other than a way to parade his cleverness for very one to behold? If he was so smitten by Dickens, he should do some better WRITING. Because as a screen writer he is sorely lacking.

  53. Alfredo

    Julian, can you please elaborate as to why you say the film has a messy structure? I’m not trying to be a dick or pick a fight – I’m really curious as to your opinion.

  54. Liked them all …. But Tom hardy was my favorite

  55. rufussondheim

    I don’t know what he means by “messy structure” but I will say that the whole script is careless. But here are some things that others have said that make complete sense to me…

    This was from Andrew

    For starters, here’s a couple of bullet points off the top of my head regarding the villains’ plot/s:

    – The entire point of Bane’s seige was to “give the city back to the people.” This was a ruse, of course, as Bane and Talia were planning to blow the city up anyway. The idea being that you cannot have true despair without hope. Bane wanted to fill the people of Gotham with false hope in order to poison their souls.

    First of all, anybody who comes wandering into a crowded football stadium with gun-wielding mercenaries and a nuclear bomb is not going to win over the people – especially when he proceeds to blow up the field (killing dozens) and then snapping a man’s neck. And while I understand the internal logic of the scene, releasing a prison full of people (who probably deserved to be there) isn’t exactly a hope-booster.

    So what was this “hope” that Bane was instilling the people of Gotham with? They were under the perpetual threat of a nuclear detonation, criminals were running free, people were being ripped from their homes, people were condemned to “death or exile” by the whims of a madman, and government officials were hanged from bridges. You had Bane’s men constantly storming into shelter areas blasting their guns off. I’m not seeing the “hope” that Bane supposedly wanted to poison their souls with. And this is made all the more irrelevant by the fact that Bane was just planning to blow them all up anyway. People can’t despair when they’re dead, and those that survived? Hell, they’ve been living under the threat of death for five months. They’ll still be traumatized, and they’ll still despair – but not because they had been given hope by a tyrant.

    For that, Bane’s plot made absolutely no sense to me, and was a 5-month waste of time. He was already planning to kill millions of people. Why give Batman and the police five months to plan a course of action? Why go through all of that preparation, work, and maintanance when the end result was always going to be the same? Especially when the character did the furthest thing from “building hope” than he could possibly get?

    – Bane and Talia wanted to fulfill Ra’s al Ghul’s destiny by destroying Gotham.

    Hold on. Ra’s al Ghul wanted to destroy Gotham because it was crippled by crime, corruption, and injustice. But by the time of TDKR, Gotham was peaceful and prospering. Criminals associated with organized crime were denied parole (a measure that Ra’s al Ghul would not have objected to). Crime was at all all-time low.

    So… For an organization that wanted to rid the world of crime and injustice, what was the League of Shadows’ reasoning for wanting to destroy Gotham in such a state as it was in? Hell, Bane didn’t even know about the cover-up until he confiscated Gordon’s speech. It was sheer luck that he even found out that Gotham’s peacetime was based on a lie. And even then, taking the fall for another man’s crimes in order to keep hope alive (and thus deliver a crushing blow to criminality) is a far less extreme measure than, say, mass-murder. So poisoning an entire city is okay, but Batman taking the fall for Dent’s crimes is going too far? Especially when the latter succeeded at doing what the LoS wanted?

    Either Bane and Talia completely ignored Ra’s al Ghul’s philosophy (and thus tarnishing his legacy by threatening to destroy a peaceful and prospering city), or they hid behind the LoS as an excuse for a much simpler plot: revenge. Either way, it left a lot to be desired in execution.

    I think that sums up much of it for me.

    What Andrew doesn’t point out is that there were so many “nick of time” moments that one character had to come out of nowhere to save another character.

    For me everything was so carelessly plotted. Nothing seemed to grow from the scene before, there was not a natural flow from one scene to the next. And the talking, so much exposition by the characters to explain their motives to other characters. I know that’s a common thing in comic books and these action movies, but egads, they are the worst part of comic books and action movies.

  56. @rufus

    you missed a large portion of the plan. The idea is to destroy Gotham to influence the rest of the world to be better. Did you forget that this is the purpose of the League of Shadows? They don’t destroy a city because they are evil…they are doing a necessary evil to better the world. They are radicals.

    If Bane and Talia came to Gotham and just blew up the city, people would mourn the deaths and call them terrorists…..

    HOW WOULD THIS INCITE CHANGE AROUND THE WORLD??

    IT WOULDNT

    But by creating the illusion that Bane gives the city back to the Gotham Citizens, and they destroy it on their own accord would show to the rest of the world that there is something really wrong with society’s structure….

    THIS WOULD INCITE CHANGE

  57. @Julian…How are the layers not there, when Hardy is different in every scene? Every scene with Bane reveals a new element to his character, all the way up until the end, when it is revealed that he is psychologically driven by the MOTHER archetype ….Totally unpredictable. How can you even say that Nolan’s characters do not have depth when his terrorist is a matriarch figure in the story. Most films dont come close to having characters with such depth. Only PT Anderson or Tarantino play at this level.

  58. rufussondheim

    Yes, you are right, the movie is unequalled brilliance. It’s a shame I got bored 30 minutes in and I somehow missed it all. I am a filmgoing neophyte. I will stick to the Dumb and Dumber franchise where I can at least be the third smartest person in the mix.

  59. julian the emperor

    VVS: I am talking about characters that I can invest something in, be moved by, amazed by, or shaken by. In Nolan’s universe I see, first and foremost, a lot of imperceptible plot holes and plot lines that stir a lot of unnecessary confusion rather than create compelling characters that I can relate to. I have a genre bias here, probably, but I still find TDKR below-par when it comes to the aspect of creating vibrant characters and a credible narrative (as opposed to merely plots-within-plots).
    To me, the “truth behind” Bane isn’t all that interesting. Bane has to work within the context of the narrative and the script should be in service of this. The “mother archetype”, that you refer to, is hardly original, and to me it seems to work more as a necessary device to make yet another plot twist go down, than to be a thoroughly integrated part of a narrative (that is undermined in so many ways in this film by the very carelessness (that’s the right term, andrew) and bloated nature of Nolan’s creation).

    Alfredo: I think the extract from rufus by Andrew hints at some of the things I find messy and unfulfilling in the script. But I would add the lack of emphasis on character (as opposed to plot devices) and the rather careless (oh, there it was again) way that Nolan always makes ends meet in his films (or rather, instills confusion masquerading as cleverness). One of his most enduring traits is the unintelligible way his characters always tend to meet or get to a destination whenever it is necessary. It is a minor gripe in the larger frame of the movies, but it is annoying, nonetheless (probably because it leaves the viewer frustrated and powerless to recognize probabilities as apart from improbabilities). Nolan doesn’t care about these things, which is a bit arrogant.

    A major gripe, though, would be his exploitation of thematics, in which his inconsistency is startling. His movies are dark, sure, very dark and they suit our times, many say. I would argue that not only is his thematics extremely superficial, they also become a hindrance for telling a proper story in a proper way. This is where his pretentiousness becomes a problem. Nolan tries so hard to be zeitgeist-y, without really trying to say anything meaningful. In that sense, The Avengers, is a much more “honest” film to me. It is a movie I can watch and enjoy for what it is, fun entertainment. TDKR (in its own creators’ vision) is so much more than that, I just don’t see the clever writing or the thematic consistency to back it up. Therefore it fails to impress me on so many levels.
    Hardy is good, Hathaway is fine (even though I tired of her “funny lines” even in the second scene, and as a character Nolan doesn’t integrate her seamlessly or satisfactorily into the whole).

    This is just a lot of words, unedited. Take it for what it is. I respect everyone’s view of the movie, I just wanted to give you some answer. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, I am not saying you are less entitled to yours than I am to mine or anything. As I said, I admit to having a genre bias and I admit to having a dislike for most anything Nolan has ever done (Memento being a very notable exception).

    When I go to see The Master in a few months’ time I will probably be very inclined to like it a LOT, because PTA is the pinnacle of contemporary American filmmaking to me. I fully respect that others feel that way about Nolan.

  60. rufussondheim

    well said, julian

  61. @Julian…then it comes down to a matter of opinion, because many people WERE moved by, amazed by, or shaken by many of these characters, including me.

    Re: Mother archetype…You said it’s not original. Well, duh. THAT’s WHY ITS AN ARCHETYPE. An archetype is a universal truth…every human being knows what “mother” means…it’s not supposed to be original alone on its own. It’s when and how the actor chooses to use it that’s brilliant, and in this case it was. We haven’t seen a terrorist figure, let alone a movie villain characterized as a “mother” yet in cinema. At least, I cannot think of another example.

    I find arguments like yours to be frustrating, because most of the complaints I can easily argue against using the film itself. And if I can argue against them with things that ARE in the film, that means that these things are there and are simply being overlooked by those who do not perceive them.

  62. @Julian

    also you are forgetting that Nolan’s films are stylized. They are not meant to be the “real world,” hence characters CAN wind up being at the right place at the right time. It’s a cinematic world akin to those that existed in the 1940s/1950s.

    The Dark Knight Rises is Nolan’s ode to the Romantic Grand Scale Epic stories of the 1940s and the 1950s….So the world operates in that same exact way.

    Just like with GREAT THEATRE, unless you REALIZE THE STYLIZATION the playwright and the director are working within, YOU WILL FOREVER BE BLIND TO THE THEMES AND MOTIFS OF THE PLAY

  63. Craig Z

    Alfredo, you are talking about a very small minority. Every performance has doubters if you take in account the opinions of the very stupid.

  64. julian the emperor

    Granted, VVS, the archetype/originality-confusion was a minor mishap in an unedited stream of words. You are, of course, right that an archetype doesn’t have to be original. Wrong choice of words, indeed.
    That doesn’t mean, though, that ANY use of an archetype is per definition clever or inspired. No?

    I don’t buy the stylization-thing, either. Sure, every movie is a stylization to some extent. But this one purports to be something more than just a superhero-flick, for one (otherwise you probably would not get so worked up about the “brilliance” of it). I don’t believe you when you claim that Nolan reverts to imitate “romantic grand scale epics from the 40s and 50s”, that in itself would not allow for him to make imperceptible scripts full of plot holes. Or is he allowed to make bad scripts, just BECAUSE he tries to imitate/stylize?
    I don’t know. I just think he lost grip of the story line. This narrative is so muddled and bloated, that I can readily agree that it would take a higher intelligence to sort it out.

    Or, this is my angle, to refrain from sorting it out altogether.

    Yeah, sure, this discussion is in a lot of ways pointless (so pointless that it makes even Craig Z participate).
    Of course, it IS indeed a question of whether you are able to be amazed or shaken by what appears on screen. That is the way of the movies, and that is why it is often referred to by the very term, “magic”.

    But my version of what constitutes “magic” is what it is. I see loud, one-dimensional and bloated when I watch TDKR (and just like Rufus I lost all interest, even though I wanted to like it, after thirty minutes or so), you see complexity and brilliance. I don’t doubt you do.
    You say, the things ARE on screen, I say, they are in the eye of the beholder.

  65. The Dark Knight Rises is the stepping for Hathaway to win with Les Miz. She’s having an incredible year. Probably the banner year of her career.

  66. Virgin Dancer

    @ julian the hater

    If you think Nolan and/or his brother are bad screenwriters you obviously have not seen Memento, Inception, or Dark Knight. All of these were nominated for screenplay by either the WGA or AMPAS.

  67. rufussondheim

    Getting a nomination is not a sign of quality, nor is not getting a nomination a sign of lack of quality.

    julian is able to decide for himself if he thinks a script, it is his opinion. I doubt you would agree that every script he’s loved is a great one.

    It’s about having confidence in your opinions and expressing why you like or dislike something. When it comes to objective truth about the quality of a film, there’s no such thing, no matter how many awards and best of lists that are created in an attempt to prove otherwise.

  68. Alfredo

    Julian, thanks for going a little deeper, I was really just trying to get a better understanding as to what you meant because you’ve been saying the film was messy and thematically confusing in a few threads now. Obviously I do not agree but like you said, I think it all comes down to a matter of taste
    There are several films that are highly regarded that I just don’t get (I’m looking at you Citizen Kane) – as well made as they are I am left feeling cold, uninterested or just plain bored out of my mind.

    Craig, I won’t go as far as saying people were idiots for not believing in Ledger would get a nomination – there was very little to no precedent of the Academy being inclined to nominate much less give him the award.

  69. rufussondheim

    Not sure of any specifics here, but I believe it was against the rules to nominate a dead person since many believed that it would be an easy win for that person.

    So I was surprised that Heath Ledger was in talks to be nominated because I thought it went against the academy rules.

    Why there hasn’t been a long history of posthumous nominations is because it was simply against the rules for a long stretch of time.

  70. Reform the Academy

    Yeah, Nolan hasn’t made a bad film yet and in terms of story and narrative structure his films are the best we have today.

  71. Jacob Burns

    I think Tom Hardy is terribly underrated in this film. It’s a great performance. It’s too bad that half of his face is covered so no one can realize it. Him and Hathaway are definitely the highlights of the film. Hathaway a bit more. If Les Miz isn’t as amazing as it’s hype is making it sound, she definitely deserves a nod for this. Gordon-Levitt, Bale, and Caine were all great, but I can’t see any of them being nominated.

  72. Pablo (Col)

    I think many are great: both Hathaway and Cotillard have very interesting supporting female roles. Michael Caine and Joseph Gordon Levitt are both good bets for supporting actor.

    Sadly, I think Bale has a very long shot at the leading role category.

  73. hathaway did better then i thought she would have.

  74. appleeatingdog

    Oh my… I like Hardy but his fanboys are way too much.

  75. Morgan Freeman has a shot here? That’s laughable. Of the 5 actors who Might be able to snag a BSActor nod…
    #1. Tom Hardy
    #2. Michael Caine
    #3. JGordon-Hevitt
    #4. Gary Oldman
    #5. Morgan Freeman
    He’s good enough to qualify for the Team Final…but the Individual Qualifers only have room for one. Doubt Hardy or Caine would make it.
    Hathaway really impressed me with a performance that I’ve never seen out of her.

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