It’s that time again. The major studios are scrambling to send out promotional materials in support of their films and actors for 2009 Oscar contention. It’s no secret that Warner Brothers’ The Dark Knight was one of the best reviewed films of the year. It also holds the spot for the number 2 biggest grossing domestic film of all time behind Titanic. Knight had rich characters, great direction, and stunning cinematography, all the things you could hope for in a film! These are all elements that add up to an obvious Oscar contender right?  Unfortunately, we don’t know. TDK has one flaw that could count against it in terms of it earning itself a spot on the voting ballots, its a comic book movie (gasp)!

More on the Oscars and The Dark Knight after the jump.

I personally am a HUGE comic book fan, and Batman is at the top of my list in terms of characters.  Christopher Nolan’s version of him is a lot closer to the darkness that creator Bob Kane had envisioned. By having a layered story, performed by talented actors, The Dark Knight‘s a shoe in for best picture. Yet, coincidentally, the issue isn’t the movie, its the Oscars. They typically favor indie films, or low-grossing dramas as opposed to big budget action movies. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with those films, I just believe there should be balance on the ballots.

There has been a constant decrease in viewership for the annual telecast of the Academy Awards, and a lot of it has to do with the films that are nominated. If an indie drama, that’s had limited release is nominated for 11 Oscars, why would you care if you live in Nebraska, and it was never promoted there? If only industry folks in New York and L.A. can view it, how are you supposed to know anything about it? I’m not saying that only the biggest movies of the year should be nominated, but financial success shouldn’t translate to Oscar kryptonite.

An article on EWonline, stated an interesting fact after the low ratings from the Oscars earlier this year.

Shocking as it sounds, Oscar used to reward massive hits. It wasn’t even so long ago. Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Rain Man, and Forrest Gump were all the highest-grossing films of their years. Reaching further back, The Godfather, The Graduate, Annie Hall, and Rocky were not just hits but cultural phenomena. Lately, though, it feels like the Academy and America wouldn’t be good Netflix friends. For the past two years, only one best-pic nominee each year has grossed more than $100 million domestically. In 2005, none did. Davis thinks this is the primary reason fewer people are watching the Oscar telecast. ”Some of these movies are just too difficult for a mass audience, frankly,” he says. ”I think that trend of the studios making big action pictures and the specialty houses making small prestige movies is catching up to us.” Which means the Academy has to…

As for The Dark Knight, Warner Brothers knows that they have opposition against them, but they are still  pulling out all the stops. In the above photo, they’re promoting Heath Ledgers jaw-dropping performance as the Joker for Best Supporting Actor. If Ledger is nominated and wins the award, he’d be only the second actor after Peter Finch (Network), to win the trophy posthumously.  The voting ballots for the Academy Awards go out on December 26, and the Oscar telecast airs February 22, 2009.