Believe it or not, when Oscar night 2013 rolls around, Batman could be donning his dress cape and walking the red carpet as a nominee.
Granted, no one has seen Christopher Nolan's final Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises," yet, but it's not entirely outlandish to imagine it could have a big night at the Academy Awards next year. If Nolan sticks the landing, it could mean an unprecedented amount of awards consideration for the beloved series.
For an enormously successful movie franchise, Nolan's Batman films have a frighteningly disappointing number of Academy Awards wins and nominations: nine nods, two wins. That's right: Aside from Heath Ledger's well-earned Best Supporting Actor award, the only other Oscar for the series was for Best Sound Editing on "The Dark Knight."
We here at MTV News would love to see the legend end with a dark victory at the Academy Awards, so here are categories where "The Dark Knight Rises" could see nominations — you know, if it's any good.
Best Cinematography: Wally Pfister
Nolan's trusted cinematographer has been with him since the very beginning, shooting every major feature for Nolan since his breakout, "Memento." Pfister won his first Academy Award last year for "Inception," but for his next collaboration with Nolan, they're going even bigger. If the prologue is any indication, IMAX's role in "Rises" will be unlike anything we've ever seen, embracing the large format in new and exciting ways. With IMAX getting a push as the new trendy technology to get people into theaters, Pfister and Nolan's role in embracing the format could spell an Oscar nomination.
Best Original Score: Hans Zimmer
It doesn't get more ambitious than collecting the chanting of thousands of people around the world and incorporating it into a film's score. Zimmer's worldwide vision for his third time scoring a Batman movie could mark his 10th nomination and his second for a Nolan movie. Sadly, a disqualification due to stiff category rules may be likely.
Best Director: Christopher Nolan
If the Academy collectively loves anything, it's certainly fond of paying old debts. They'll award artists who should have won years ago (Scorsese), and they'll award overall achievements ("Return of the King" wins everything). By the end of all this, Nolan will have done something for the ages. He legitimized a genre and restored an American icon to his rightful place. Not only that, he made two (and hopefully three) excellent and ambitious movies. This is the year you reward him for his efforts and heal the wounds of two egregious snubs for "The Dark Knight" and "Inception."
Best Actor: Christian Bale
Here's a wonderful fact about the age we live in: A very recent Oscar winner is playing Batman. One of the greatest actors of a generation is playing one of the most iconic heroes of all time. That fact alone at the very least puts Christian Bale in the mix. But knowing Nolan, he's not just going to put Bale up against a new set of villains, a flaw of the last set of Batman films. He's going to tell a story about Batman, one that's going to push the hero and the man playing him to the edge.
Could "The Dark Knight Rises" be the next "Return of the King"? The only problem there is that the Academy nominated each "Lord of the Rings" film individually before the finale won the big prize. Nolan's Batman films have always found themselves just outside awards consideration, the closest calling coming after "The Dark Knight" in 2009. Many pointed to "The Dark Knight" as a reason for the expansion of the Best Picture category the following year, so with 10 potential nominees now, statistically, it may finally be its year.
What Oscars do you think Nolan's Batman franchise should have already won? Let me know via Twitter @KPSull!
Check out everything we've got on "The Dark Knight Rises."