Grassroots ‘Dark Knight’ campaign

Posted by · 12:00 pm · December 2nd, 2008

Heath Ledger in The Dark KnightOne of the true joys for me this season has been watching Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” take on so much relevance and achieve such a higher state of purpose than a piece of entertainment.  Leaving awards aside for the moment, to see this character I’ve loved for so many years finally reach a sort of pinnacle, it is both beautiful and a bit of testimony, testimony to the potential a “throw-away” genre such as this holds, potential recognized in the geek culture for decades, making its way to the surface of traditional media through dedicated and restless souls in recent times…finally.

This grassroots campaign for the film gets all of that and more.  The site,, sports a sleek design that invites the casual Internet reader to dive back in and remember that this is still one of the most powerful films of the year.  The site features a five-minute video (embedded below), splashing many of the critical huzzahs across the canvas of the film.  These guys must have gotten hold of a guild screener or something because there are a lot of scenes utilized that you certainly never saw on a trailer.

This is all the more interesting to me right now given that as of this afternoon, I have buckled and placed “The Dark Knight” into my predicted five Best Picture nominees.  With films falling out left and right, this one is still standing and still resonates.  Maybe I was wrong.  Oscar column still to come.

Their mission statement, in part:

Films like this only come along once in a lifetime…And yet it has an uphill battle ahead of it for Academy Awards nomination chances.  But why?  Well because Academy voters love tradition.  All 78 years of it. Tradition says that movies based on comic book characters do not get nominated for awards.  Summer Blockbusters?  Not likely. Sequels?  Definitely not.  So what this campaign aims to do is help turn the tide on those long odds…get out there and spread the word and don’t let a chance at making history for The Dark Knight pass by.

And the video:

→ 39 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

39 responses so far

  • 1 12-02-2008 at 12:41 pm

    Rob said...

    This is great. It would restore my faith in the Academy if they manage to nominate to date my favourite film of the year.

  • 2 12-02-2008 at 12:49 pm

    michael mckay said...

    Hope your right…but you really think Frost/Nixon has a better shot then Revolutionary Road??

    Other then Best Actor and Adapted Screenplay I can’t see Frost/Nixon getting much love, unless somehow it gets a Best Director nod (which I think is a longshot). I think the fact that Revolutionary Road is probably going to get three nods in the acting categories, a screenplay nod, and several tech category nods, will be more then enough to assure it a top-five spot. Mendes could also land a Best Director nod (again, a longshot). It will probably be this season’s Atonement.

  • 3 12-02-2008 at 12:51 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Maybe Michael. Nothing is assured for either, especially seeing as both films have yet to open.

  • 4 12-02-2008 at 12:58 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    This is cranked up into embarrassing levels, which might do more harm than good (never in our lifetimes? making a NEVER A SEQUEL call 4 years after a sequel won?) but the sentiment is sincere enough.

    I wonder how WB’s plans to cancel it’s re-release (and thusly destroy it’s billion dollar flag for now) will impact the race.

  • 5 12-02-2008 at 1:02 pm

    Paulo said...

    Well I assume I can predict the oscars, but I will tell you something. I am predicting a morning full of surprises when the nominations came out.

  • 6 12-02-2008 at 1:19 pm

    Rob said...

    I kinda see the argument that Frost/ Nixon would play well with older voters – so I wouldn’t rule it out.

  • 7 12-02-2008 at 1:24 pm

    Mr. Gittes said...

    Re: Watching TDK on blu-ray

    I think one of the best scenes in the movie is when Batman is about to “fly” into the building where the Joker is orchastrating the ferry boat situation and his men are holding people hostage, and just as Batman jumps, Gordon, with his gun raised, says something like, ” We have to save Dent! I have to save Dent!”

    And the music kicks in…top 5 of the year for sure.

  • 8 12-02-2008 at 1:30 pm

    Joe W said...

    Very well made video. Makes me even more disappointed that the score was disqualified

  • 9 12-02-2008 at 2:08 pm

    Anthony said...

    Unfortunately, despite my utmost support for what was, unquestionably, one of our greatest achievements in cinema over the past year – I truly believe the Dark Knight will fall short.

    Not for the fact that the film itself doesn’t deserve it, it surely does. It’s a wondrous film that works for both sets of film goers : the whizbangs, sure, but it also works for the philosophical, thinking mans viewer.

    The Dark Knight, to this moment, maintains the most powerful and challenging set of ideas featured in a film this year. Despite this, it seems that it cannot shake the label of “comic-book film”. The Dark Knight features a complex, extremely well-woven storyline that is now being labeled incoherent. Admittedly, the film is draining and hard to keep up with, but it’s far from incoherent.

    Certainly the plot is extremely intricate, and if you’re not paying attention for a quick moment, the film will fly past you. But, after all the popcorn fluff, all the black and white, all the juvenile simplicity we’ve been forced to sit through by the major studios in recent years and this is what people choose complain about? Because a film had the audacity to demand your utmost attention and delivered ambiguity in its ideology? Isn’t this complexity that we’ve been begging for from mainstream films? THIS is what we chastise? Get a grip.

    Amusingly enough, it seems the same crowd (commenters of HE, I’m talking to you) that fights so brilliantly against mainstream moronicism doesn’t even realize it’s become the mainstream on this one. The desire to put down the eager and excitable fanboy who wrongfully label this one of the greatest films ever has overcome their normally level-headed take on films. The desire to be anti-mainstream has left them fighting against the studio mega-stud. But it’s also, seemingly, left them fighting against what should be the heart of our films.

  • 10 12-02-2008 at 2:14 pm

    dogsarecutelawl said...

    I agree that it’s important that a film like The Dark Knight be judged against the best cinema has to offer and not be forced to carry the stigma of being a “comic book movie”. But they really lost me at the IMDb comment. The entire Top 250 is a joke and to claim that this film’s standing there makes it the fourth best movie in cinema history is absurd.

    And despite being a great film, it’s not one of the five best to be released this year. I genuinely hope AMPAS doesn’t take seriously the opinion of a group of people who won’t even end up seeing the eventual Best Picture nominees.

  • 11 12-02-2008 at 2:22 pm

    Diego said...

    The Campaign is really good, but i think it´s not one of the fives best…The supporting role is brilliant…


    1-Benjamin button
    2-Slumdog Millionaire

    The reader, Changeling, TDK, Wall-E, Revolutionary road, The Wrestler, Doubt and Frost/Nixon….

    My prediction:
    Benjmin button
    The Wrestler
    Revolutionary road/TDK

  • 12 12-02-2008 at 2:47 pm

    Ivan said...

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The Dark Knight
    Slumdog Millionaire
    The Reader

    Danny Boyle/Slumdog Millionaire
    Stephen Daldry/The Reader
    Jonathan Demme/Rachel Getting Married
    Christopher Nolan/The Dark Knight
    Gus Van Sant/Milk

    Leonardo DiCaprio/Revolutionary Road
    Richard Jenkins/The Visitor
    Frank Langella/Frost-Nixon
    Sean Penn/Milk
    Mickey Rourke/The Wrestler

    Anne Hathaway/Rachel Getting Married
    Melissa Leo/Frozen River
    Kristin Scott Thomas/I´ve Loved You So Long
    Meryl Streep/Doubt
    Kate Winslet/The Reader

    James Franco/Milk
    Phillip Seymour Hoffman/Doubt
    Heath Ledger/The Dark Knight
    Dev Patel/Slumdog Millionaire
    Michael Shannon/Revolutionary Road

    Penelope Cruz/Vicky Critina Barcelona
    Viola Davis/Doubt
    Rosemarie Dewitt/Rachel Getting Married
    Marisa Tomei/The Wrestler
    Debra Winger/Rachel Getting Married

    Rachel Getting Married
    The Visitor
    The Wrestler

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The Reader
    Revolutionary Road
    Slumdog Millionaire

    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    The Dark Knight
    Revolutionary Road
    Slumdog Millionaire

    The Dark Knight
    Iron Man
    The Reader
    Slumdog Millionaire

  • 13 12-02-2008 at 2:58 pm

    Michael C. said...

    Kris, you are underestimating DOUBT. Adapated screenplay is a lock and 4 acting nominations is a strong possibilty which would lead to a picture nomination. The response from the Academy screening was a standing ovation.

    I really think DK is losing steam for BP.

  • 14 12-02-2008 at 3:00 pm

    Cisco01 said...

    I am telling you people this right now.

    If TDK doesn’t get nominated for Best Picture and Christopher Nolan doesn’t get nominated for Best Director…..than something is seriously wrong with the Academy. It would plain and simply disrespectful of the Academy if it didn’t recognize the terrific work that the crew of the Dark Knight did on the film.

    Wally Pfister should also be nominated for best cinemetography easily!

    The Dark Knight is much more than a comic genre film and for those of you who don’t realize that….well you have problems.

    Plus anotheR thing to mention is that it made 530 million domestically and if a sappy film like Titanic can get nominated and win awards, than why the hell can’t TDK?

    The bias against comic based genre films shouldn’t come into play when it comes to The Dark Knight at all!

  • 15 12-02-2008 at 3:06 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Love how people toss around the word “lock.” Love it. Reckless abandon.

  • 16 12-02-2008 at 3:08 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    The Academy screening isn’t until this weekend, by the way, Michael. 3:00 on Saturday. Maybe you’re talking about some guild screening.

  • 17 12-02-2008 at 3:22 pm

    Chad said...

    Give me a break Anthony. ” if you’re not paying attention for a quick moment, the film will fly past you”. Maybe if you’re ten years old.

    I’m not arguing that The Dark Knight didn’t attempt to tackle sophisticated issues, but to say that it does so in a complex way is pretty ridiculous. At the end of the day, it’s still good versus bad with a few shades of grey and some light weight metaphors. Let’s praise the craftsmanship and the ambition of the film, but not it’s “complex” st0ryline.

  • 18 12-02-2008 at 3:33 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Off topic, but this movie proves to the people who say that there is not such thing as a nomination being the win that they, in some situations, are completely wrong.

  • 19 12-02-2008 at 3:52 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Chad, I can kind of see where Anthony is coming from. I know a few people and even some of my friends who aren’t big movie fans didn’t understand what was going on in some situations. The most popular two are that 1) they didn’t fully understand the whole issue about tracking the money and 2) they didn’t understand the relevance, especially to H. Dent, of who in the force is a mole and even which department they were in. But anyway, I thought Anthony’s point about some people criticizing the storyline, saying it doesn’t flow and is incoherent was spot on. Everyone, myself included, completely hates the fact that the dumb, predictable movies are the ones that get talked about most and make the most money. And finally when a mainstream and highly entertaining film comes along, they try to find fault with it. I mean what more can you want! They are surely not wrong only because they are entitled to their opinion, but I don’t really see any of the criticism they have of the movie. But anyway….

    And Chad, this may be the same thing you are saying, I couldn’t tell, but there are a ton of movies, both classics and pieces of shit, that deal with good versus evil with shades of gray. What makes a film good is the way it presents and tells the story.

    Also, I would argue that TDK is saying that everyone is a shade of gray.

  • 20 12-02-2008 at 4:08 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Name one movie since LotR that had a fansite to get it nominated for the Oscars. Getting so much attention all over to the film again with the re-release and all the hype that will again follow. It’s getting more inevitable each day.

  • 21 12-02-2008 at 4:25 pm

    Evan said...

    Despite the studio’s earlier announcement to cancel the January IMAX re-release, they changed their minds and told Superhero Hype that they are going forward with it.

    That definitely will get the Dark Knight onto the Academy’s radar, whether they like it or not.

  • 22 12-02-2008 at 4:32 pm

    Jordan said...

    I agree with Kris, I don’t necessarily believe you can call any of the movies this year a lock. We have had more surprising moments in the past with nominations and nothing is really a lock as of yet. The only lock I can speak of remains in the acting category for a supporting nomination is Heath Ledger. He has maintained strong buzz over 6 months now and has created an iconic performance and rebirth of the Joker unlike any character we have seen on screen for many years. I will be shocked if he doesn’t receive a nomination.

  • 23 12-02-2008 at 5:17 pm

    Joel said...

    Heath Ledger IS a lock. I think we can all agree on that.

    I personally believe the film will end up winning the gold (even if my predictions say otherwise), and not because it’s popular. It’s simply that great. All the comments on the accompanying video are true.

    It’s the best and deepest movie of the year, and if the Academy doesn’t nominate it for Best Picture, more power to ’em. They should expect a freakin’ riot outside afterwards. A lot of people love the film–for a reason. It’s enthralling, exciting, morbidly funny, brilliantly written (the script is the fastest read I’ve ever had), and directed to near perfection. This is widely believed among the fan set and more.

    If the Academy doesn’t pay attention, nothing mainstream will ever be nominated for Best Pic again. This made $996 million worldwide for Pete’s sake.

  • 24 12-02-2008 at 5:26 pm

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    Heh I would love to see that riot when it ain’t nominated. That could be one of the best pieces of publicity they’d ever had.

  • 25 12-02-2008 at 6:29 pm

    Jamieson said...

    I would be beyond thrilled to see The Dark Knight get love all around, especially Picture and Director nominations (or even wins for that matter). I say power to this passionate support. What a cool thing.

  • 26 12-02-2008 at 6:35 pm

    John said...

    great stuff. this film deserves to win every award yhis year. no questions. this is the most original, smart, complex movie i’ve seen in a while. and, yes, it’s epic. and i’m not even a batman fan.

  • 27 12-02-2008 at 6:35 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Chad you really, REALLY missed the boat on this film, chief.

  • 28 12-02-2008 at 6:38 pm

    John said...

    we should all go see this in imax when it’s re-released. i can’t wait. the imax experience was like none other.

  • 29 12-02-2008 at 6:39 pm

    John said...

    it’s not a complex structure, chad. it raises complex questions about corruption, evil, and justice.

  • 30 12-02-2008 at 7:57 pm

    JT said...

    Honestly, I think Best Supporting Actor and Cinematography are locks for The Dark Knight. No question.

    The best cinematography is a language, and how it most effectively conveys the essence of a film, marrying the nuances of the actors and action, framing everything from the most audacious of violence, the most pensive of intimacy, and the most powerful of emotion.

    But, as much as costume design or visual effects, it’s also about breaking boundaries and setting up new ones. And I can’t think of a better example than being the first feature film to shoot entire sequences in IMAX format.

  • 31 12-02-2008 at 9:42 pm

    Chad said...

    is that the boat with all the good guys or all the bad guys kris? oh wait, it’s we’re all just shades of grey.

  • 32 12-02-2008 at 9:48 pm

    Brian Kinsley said...

    That, and the fact that they love Pfister.

    I do sympathize with Chad here, I’m not going to lie – the hyperbole has TDK being among the most dramatically complex films in the history of the world.

    I think pushing the script would be TDK’s best bet. It legitimizes it more than being a summer blockbuster. And because Jonah Nolan is the shit.

  • 33 12-03-2008 at 12:05 am

    Michael said...

    There was an Academy screening of Doubt about 2 weeks at the Academy of Arts and Sciences. With QA from Streep, Shanley and cast. Attendees were mostly actors.

  • 34 12-03-2008 at 11:04 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I am and have been the first guy to say that “The Dark Knight” has been extremely overraated. But just because a few people want to take things too far does not subtract from how wonderful the film is, so you can’t grade on a curve, folks.

    Michael: That wasn’t the “official” Academy screening, which only happens once per film each year. It must have been SAG members in the audience. Official “Academy screenings” do not have Q&As and are open only to Academy members and guests.

  • 35 12-03-2008 at 12:06 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Kris, it’s fine that you think that “The Dark Knight” is overrated, but “extremely” overrated to me just seems a little bit of a push too far.

    I certainly don’t think that the film is one of the greatest ever; after the next couple of years go by, I highly doubt it will even make my list of top ten for the decade.

    But the reason that I think (finish the sentence before you pass out) that it one of the greatest cinematic achievements ever, arguably the greatest, is that I have never seen a movie that can appeal so much to virtually every group of people in society. From young to old, from old-school conservative types to newer liberals of any type, for the most part everyone at the very least, thought it was a good movie. You have to admit that your average teenage girl probably wouldn’t care too much for say The Godfather or Citizen Kane.

    But in saying this, I’m still sure that once I see all of the films to come, it won’t be the best movie of the year. Just one comparative example I can think of is “Into the Wild.” I liked that movie a lot more than TDK, yet I would still probably classify TDK as a better achievement in cinema.

    And don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t think that a movie’s greatness should be judged solely on the range of people it appeals to. I just think that if it does in fact do that, then that counts for something.

  • 36 12-03-2008 at 1:39 pm

    Anthony said...

    Chad, I’m not disagreeing that the Dark Knight is overrated. It’s hardly one of the best films of all-time, or even of this decade. In last years Best Picture race, it had no place, especially since the best film wasn’t even nominated (AOJJ). However, it is one of the five best of THIS year, having seen all of the contenders outside of Button and Frost.

    In fact, in my original posting, I said as much. In saying that, I refuse to acknowledge a fit-for-children storyline or black and white charaterization. It’s really quite the contrary. All of the characters are gray, minus Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. People, perhaps not you, had trouble keeping up with the plot. That WAS one of the main complaints I heard from general audiences.

    The Dark Knight is a brilliant mashing of ideas. Just because a movie is mainstream and loved by general audiences does not mean it cannot contain powerful ideology. Certainly, most mainstream movies are devoid of such, but this one was not. We should be praising the film for this fact, not rallying against it in an effort to “put down the fanboys” or those who lace it with hyperbole.

    We want more films as packed with ideas as this one. Not less.