This year's Oscars Best Picture race is still fluid enough to account for the presence of two films that would normally seem like longshots: the Pixar masterpiece Wall-E and the box office blockbuster The Dark Knight. One is the tale of a lonely hero who talks in a funny voice, and the other is Wall-E, but both films have one thing in common: they're huge, mainstream blockbusters, which Oscar voters don't typically reward. However, the New York Times reports that the studio behind each film is readying a big Academy Awards push, and they've got their eyes set on Best Picture. Which has the better shot, and should we expect either film to wrangle a nomination for Oscar's biggest prize?First, let's take Wall-E. The indomitable Pixar robot has collected some of the most glowing reviews of the year and many of those critics then called it the best American film of 2008 — in fact, Wall Street Journal scribe Joe Morgenstern was already talking Wall-E up for Best Picture in July. Still, the film has several things working against it: it opened early enough in the year to have been forgotten, it made a ton of money but not as much as much as, say, Cars (thereby falling into an Oscar trap where the movie is too successful, but not so successful that it can't be ignored), and it's animated. "Younger-skewing" films like Beauty and the Beast and Babe have been nominated before, but almost offhandedly, and not in a while. Then, there's the Bat. The Dark Knight has one big thing going for it: Heath Ledger's performance is a mortal lock for a Supporting Actor slot, which may help grease the wheels for the film to grab a Best Pic nom. Also, its box office total, second only to Oscar favorite Titanic, is so massive that The Dark Knight has remained the biggest story in the industry all year. Yes, it's still just a comic book movie (and one that had a minor Bat-lash), but what isn't in Hollywood these days? Thus, in the race for Best Picture, we're going to give the edge to The Dark Knight. With previous contenders like Frost/Nixon and Changeling losing steam among the chattering class, The Dark Knight's chances are certainly improved, and it has the best precedent: The Fugitive, a well-reviewed action blockbuster that rode a buzzworthy supporting performance to Oscar glory. We're going to hold out hope in our hearts for Wall-E, but we fear it'll take something stronger than a laser blast from EVE to bust this robot out of the Best Animated Film ghetto.
Submitted discussions can be approved by the author or users followed by this blog.