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Posted at 6:45 PM ET, 01/25/2011

Dear Academy Award voters: Why don't you like Christopher Nolan?

By Jen Chaney

"Inception": honored as a best picture nominee but not for its director.(Warner Bros.)

Dear Oscar voters:

There's a question on my mind and the minds of many film fans on this Oscar nomination Tuesday. Why do you hate Christopher Nolan?

Forgive me. Hate is a strong word, especially when you nominated his blockbuster, "Inception," for eight Academy Awards earlier today, including best picture and screenplay.

But as you undoubtedly realize, you neglected to nominate him in the best director category. And he's never been nominated in that category. Nev-er.

So many people thought he'd finally get the recognition he deserved for making a film that challenged our intellects, preventing our brains from freezing even when we slurped a little too intensely from our oversized, overpriced multiplex Icees. For the record, he also made a lot of money this year for the movie industry you support, which, last we checked, wasn't exactly popping bottles of Dom Perignon while soaking in a Jacuzzi tub overflowing with cash.

But most of all, we hoped that Nolan would finally get nominated to put an end to the bitterness of "Dark Knight" fans, the ones who, two years after that comic book-inspired epic was omitted from the best picture race, still mutter "Robbed. Totally Robbed" whenever it airs on TNT. Why so serious, you ask? Because that stuff hurts, man, hurts like the acid that eroded Harvey Dent's facial features.

Is it because, at 40, Nolan seems too young to already have become a cinematic genius? (Nah, Aronofsky's 41 and he got nominated.)

Is it because he doesn't shy away from comic book fare?

It's certainly not that you passed over Nolan because the traditional (read: elderly) Oscar voters are more comfortable with the Coen brothers. The Coens are way too quirky to be considered symbols of old fogeyism. Let's not turn our Nolan-rage into something anti-Lebowski, people.

Maybe it's not a matter of like or dislilke. Maybe Nolan just encountered some bad Academy Awards luck this year.

And that's fine. We'll recover. To borrow the phrasing found in the title of Nolan's next feature, we dark knights will again rise.

But don't be surprised, Oscar voters, if you go to sleep tonight and find some unexpected visitors in your dreams. It may be a few of the still fired-up Chirstopher Nolan fans. And they've got a few messages they'd desperately like to implant in your brains.

By Jen Chaney  | January 25, 2011; 6:45 PM ET
Categories:  Awards Season, Movies, Pop Culture  | Tags:  Oscars  
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Comments

Jen, are you accusing the Academy of being two-faced for not recognizing The Dark Knight? I take it that you are not amused by these jokers. Are they driving you batty?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | January 26, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Jen, are you accusing the Academy of being two-faced for not recognizing The Dark Knight? I take it that you are not amused by these jokers. Don't let this oversight/slight drive you batty.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | January 26, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I saw "The Dark Knight" (very belatedly) a few evenings ago, and was duly impressed by the director's vision of the characters as more than mere cartoons. His other films, including "Memento" and "The Prestige," also delve into the darker sides of human nature. I enjoy his willingness to use architecture as a character, and utilize space and shadow to alter our perceptions of what we are watching. To ignore a director who has virtually created his own genre of mind-bending psychodramas is a sin.

Posted by: deb9WCd1424 | January 28, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I saw "The Dark Knight" (very belatedly) a few evenings ago, and was duly impressed by the director's vision of the characters as more than mere cartoons. His other films, including "Memento" and "The Prestige," also delve into the darker sides of human nature. I enjoy his willingness to use architecture as a character, and utilize space and shadow to alter our perceptions of what we are watching. To ignore a director who has virtually created his own genre of mind-bending psychodramas is a sin.

Posted by: deb9WCd1424 | January 28, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

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