‘Dark Knight’ should’ve been Oscars’ Best Picture

Steven Spielberg believes “The Dark Knight” should have been the first blockbuster nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

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

Of the nominees this year, Spielberg was happy to see blockbusters such as “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” get recognized.

“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 told Deadline

of the expansion of the category — which doubled from five nominees to 10 in 2009.

“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,” he added.

Heath Ledger as The Joker
Heath Ledger as the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
©Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection

“The Dark Knight,” the sequel to 2005’s “Batman Begins,” hit theaters in 2008 and was nominated for eight Oscars, including a posthumous win for Heath Ledger as Best Supporting Actor — but it was left out of the Best Picture group.

The film ultimately became part of the incentive to expand the number of nominations for that category.

Blockbuster films historically haven’t received many Best Picture nominations or wins, and the five slots made those chances even slimmer, especially for sequels.

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

Meanwhile, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” made history with the first actress nominated for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film thanks to Angela Bassett’s Best Supporting Actress nod. The “Black Panther” sequel scored five nominations overall.

Heath Ledger as The Joker in "The Dark Knight."
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 movie “The Fabelmans,” which also landed nominations in the Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture categories.