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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Christopher Nolan’s Oscar dreams turn into a nightmare

    I feel bad for the Oscars. I know that it must sound strange to have sympathetic feelings toward a gaudy festival of self-congratulations, privilege and false modesty, but I sincerely do.

    Christopher Nolan in the middle of making another masterpiece. Photo via

    These emotions tend to come about around this time of year, when the Oscar nominations reveal themselves to the public, only to moans of anger and disappointment. It’s like Groundhog Day if the dapper-looking organizers started heckling the poor rodent.

    This year is no different.

    As usual, it seems as though everyone has a specific movie or actor that got shamefully overlooked. Admittedly, even I have a couple of complaints. For instance, why was “Piranha 3D,” by far the greatest film of 2010, much less any other year, completely ignored? I can assure you that it wasn’t due to a lack of effort.

    Over the past several years, there seems to be one man in particular whom the Oscars continually mistreat. Unfortunately for the Academy Awards, it happens to be Christopher Nolan, one of the most popular filmmakers of the past decade.

    If one wanted to make a list of the top five influential films of the past 10 years, it wouldn’t take much effort; one would only have to look at Nolan’s IMDb page.

    Leaving out his little-seen debut, “Following,” every single movie he has written could be considered a modern classic. He made Batman cool again with “Batman Begins,” inspired a whole genre of edgier comic book movies with “The Dark Knight” and reinvented the way stories are told in “Memento.”

    Yet somehow, Nolan has only been nominated for one Oscar, not including his two recent nominations for “Inception.” His 2002 screenplay for “Memento” ended up losing to “Gosford Park,” a movie that is most memorable for not really being particularly memorable at all.

    What’s wrong, Oscar voters? Is changing the entire film medium and how it tells stories not good enough?

    However, this year it was going to be different. Movie insiders across the globe assumed Nolan was finally going to get the credit he was due. Was he going to win for his direction in “Inception?” Doubtful, but at least he would finally get the Best Director nomination that had been playing cruelly coy with the man for so long. Right?


    When the nominations finally came out on Jan. 25, fans and critics alike were surprised to see no Christopher Nolan for Best Director. Instead, the Oscar voters decided on “The King’s Speech’s Tom Hooper, whose direction, according to this film junkie, actually took away from the quality of the film.

    So why the snub again?

    In 2009, Nolan’s direction in “The Dark Knight” was overlooked, as well as the entire film for Best Picture. Some may even argue the film’s lack of prestigious nominations were the reason for the Academy’s increase of Best Picture nominees from five to 10. Therefore, this year seemed like the perfect opportunity to make amends with the truly visionary writer/director.

    But alas, no.

    There are many potential reasons for giving the proverbial finger to Nolan’s direction, besides my personal theory that the Oscar voters are diabolically evil. One of the main ideas is that older audiences were quite clearly unimpressed by the brain-exploding action film. The Academy isn’t normally considered a youthful bunch, so maybe here is where the speed bump arose.

    Another point is … well, what’s the point of complaining about the snub? “The Social Network’s” David Fincher, who, with Nolan, has been one of the most interesting directors in our time, swept the pre-Oscar awards. Even if Nolan were nominated, he’d probably still end up losing.

    In addition, “Inception” still got nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture. With all the technical awards the film is up for, including the always captivating Best Sound Mixing, it might even end up with the most wins at the end of the night.

    The most important thing to remember, though, is that in the end, the Oscars don’t really matter. Despite all of the buzz, excitement, pretty gowns and hilarious Natalie Portman clips, the awards should have no ramification on how you feel about the movies you love or hate.

    We often look toward these awards for validation, as though our favorite movies are not good until they are proven so by the elite, but we don’t need validation. Just because “Children of Men” was completely snubbed at the 2006 Oscars does not make it any less my favorite movie of all time.

    The awards are a conversation starter, something to get the masses excited, in theaters and paying ridiculous up-charges for flimsy 3-D glasses. Despite his lack of accolades, Nolan has and will always continue to make exciting examples of great pop spectacle.

    In the end, he’ll get his Oscar. It’ll probably be for a lesser movie late in his career that he could have directed in his sleep, or as I like to call it, “The Departed” syndrome, but it’ll still be much deserved recognition.

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