The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which stages the world's most high-profile awards ceremony, held a screening for voters on Saturday night at the Samuel Goldwyn theatre in Beverly Hills. The organisation's president, Tom Sherak, spoke in advance to acknowledge the recent shootings at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film did not generate the kind of response from audience members that would suggest a successful awards season run next year.
"People were kind of disappointed," one academy member told the magazine. "It wasn't because of [Colorado]. I just don't think that this picture will get any nominations [beyond technical nods]."
"There was nothing remarkable about the acting," said another academy member. "I don't think it can be nominated as best picture."
The writer Bret Easton Ellis, who is also an academy member, later tweeted: "Not that it really matters, but there was zero love for The Dark Knight Rises at the packed academy screening in Los Angeles tonight."
Heath Ledger posthumously won the Oscar for best supporting actor following his turn in Christopher Nolan's previous Batman film, The Dark Knight, which also won best sound editing.
Its six further nominations were all in technical categories. The Dark Knight Rises has not been quite so well reviewed as its predecessor, carrying an 86% "fresh" rating on the aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, where The Dark Knight managed 94%.
But the academy has a tradition of rewarding film-makers for successful trilogies after the final instalment has arrived in cinemas. Peter Jackson picked up three Oscars at the 2004 ceremony following his third Lord of the Rings film, The Return of the King, the previous year.
Whether Nolan is likely to be similarly rewarded may be in doubt, but the British film-maker can take solace in the fact that his series features considerably darker and more adult material than the academy traditionally favours. Writing in the book The Art and Making of the Dark Knight Rises, Nolan offered a poignant farewell to the trilogy that made his name as a blockbuster film-maker.
"My time in Gotham, looking after one of the greatest and most enduring figures in pop culture, has been the most challenging and rewarding experience a film-maker could hope for," he writes. "I will miss the Batman. I like to think that he'll miss me, but he's never been particularly sentimental." – © Guardian News and Media 2012