Steven Spielberg says The Dark Knight deserved Best Picture nomination

A still from The Dark KnightWarner Bros.

The Dark Knight is one of the most famous examples of a Best Picture snub at the Oscars – even Steven Spielberg believes it should have been nominated.

Released in 2008, The Dark Knight sits at a small roundtable of truly seminal superhero movies, alongside the likes of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Avengers: Endgame.

It was hailed as a masterpiece upon release, thanks in no small part to Heath Ledger’s genre-defining performance as the Joker. Following the star’s death, he was awarded a posthumous Oscar.

The times are a-changing, and superhero movies have been nudging their way towards a Best Picture win. According to Spielberg, it should have already happened.

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The Dark Knight should have been nominated for Best Picture

In an interview with Deadline, Steven Spielberg – whose new film The Fabelmans earned him a nomination for Best Director and Best Picture – spoke about blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water being recognized by the Academy.

“I’m really encouraged by that. It came late for the film that should have been nominated a number of years ago: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight,” he said.

“That movie would have definitely garnered a Best Picture Nomination today, so having these two blockbusters solidly presented on the Top 10 list is something we should all be celebrating.”

The Dark Knight was nominated for eight Oscars, yet it failed to earn a spot on the Best Picture lineup. The backlash led to the Academy broadening the rules for the category, allowing up to 10 movies to be nominated.

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In an earlier statement, the governing body said: “After more than six decades, The Academy is returning to some of its earlier roots, when a wider field competed for the top award of the year.”

Joker and Black Panther are the only other comic book movies to receive Best Picture nominations, while Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won Best Animated Film in 2019.

For the full list of nominations for the 2023 Oscars, click here.

The 95th Academy Awards then take place on March 12, 2023. You can find out how to watch the ceremony here.