Spielberg: ‘Dark Knight’ Should Have Been First Best Picture Oscar Blockbuster

Steven Spielberg thinks ‘The Dark Knight’ should have been the first blockbuster nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

The 76-year-old director, who earned his first Best Original Screenplay nomination on Tuesday when the 2023 Oscars were announced, reflected on the Best Picture category.

Among this year’s nominees, Spielberg was happy to see blockbusters such as “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Wakanda Forever” being recognized.

“I’m really encouraged by that. He came in late for the movie that should have been nominated years ago: Christopher Nolan’s ‘The Dark Knight’,” he told Deadline of the category’s expansion – which went from five nominees to 10 in 2009.

“This movie would definitely have earned a Best Picture nomination today, so to have these two blockbusters solidly featured on the top 10 list is something we should all celebrate,” he added.

Heath Ledger as The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’.
©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

‘The Dark Knight’, the sequel to 2005’s ‘Batman Begins’, was released in 2008 and was nominated for eight Oscars, including a posthumous win for Heath Ledger as Best Supporting Actor – but was dropped from the best picture.

The film eventually became part of the incentive to increase the number of Best Picture nominations.

Historically, blockbuster movies haven’t received many Best Picture nominations or wins, and the five slots have made those odds even slimmer, especially for sequels.

“Top Gun: Maverick” received six nominations this year and “Avatar: The Way of Water” received four.

Meanwhile, “Wakanda Forever” made history with the first actress nominated for a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to Angela Basset’s Best Supporting Actress nomination. The sequel to “Black Panther” scored five nominations in total.


Heath Ledger posthumously won Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘The Dark Knight’.
©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

Spielberg was nominated for Best Director for his film “The Fabelmans,” which also picked up nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture.

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