Steven Spielberg Says The Best Superhero Movie Should Have Won Oscar

Steven Spielberg thinks The Dark Knight should have been nominated for Best Picture back in 2008.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

the dark knight
The Dark Knight

Claiming a film is the “best” or the “worst” is always subjective as one person’s trash is another’s treasure. In Hollywood the process of awarding the best films each year is always difficult and usually, the biggest moneymakers are overlooked as they are not considered worthy of a prestigious award. Legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg believes the Academy should have rewarded The Dark Knight with a nomination for Best Picture.

In an interview with Deadline, Steven Spielberg was asked about the Best Picture nominations this year for Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water, leading to his insightful comments: “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, 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.”

Steven Spielberg knows what it’s like to make beloved films that fail to be acknowledged come awards season, most notably Jurassic Park and Jaws. The latter created the modern blockbuster while the former is still considered an all-time classic film today. While Spielberg and Nolan have many nominations between them, The Dark Knight is worth pointing out as one of the worst Oscar snubs of all-time.

“Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, that movie would have definitely garnered a Best Picture Nomination today”

Steven Spielberg discussing blockbuster films being nominated for the Academy Awards

Sequels are something Steven Spielberg has experience with following Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Lost World: Jurassic Park , but neither reached the artistic heights of The Dark Knight. The second film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy with Christian Bale built off of Batman Begins while telling its own stand-alone story involving the best on-screen depiction of The Joker, played by Heath Ledger. From the musical score to the tone and pacing, Nolan’s second outing remains the best superhero movie of all time on the strength of Ledger’s career-defining performance.

Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight

At the time of his casting, fans were up in arms over Heath Ledger landing the role considering at the time he was known for roles like A Knight’s Tale and The Patriot, hardly the type of movies that would match the dark nihilism of The Joker. Instead what happened was an acting tour de force that has cemented the late actor’s performance as one of the best of all time, not just in a superhero movie. Steven Spielberg recognizes the amazing success of The Dark Knight, as after all, game recognize game.

Steven Spielberg has had multiple top-grossing films, including Jaws amazing $476 million making it the first film to go past the $100 million barrier, and Nolan’s The Dark Knight is up among the very best. Making over a billion dollars in 2008 and dethroning Spider-Man 3’s record in the process, The Dark Knight is the most successful Batman film in history. As Spielberg said, the movie should have received a Best Picture nomination, though it likely still would have lost to the eventual winner No Country For Old Men.

This year, Steven Spielberg has set a new personal best in Oscar nominations, earning three for 2022’s The Fabelman’s, including Best Director, Best Picture, and in a first, Best Original Screenplay. While The Dark Knight was denied the top award, Heath Ledger did win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, the first such award given to a comic book adaptation.