"Christopher Nolan, Oscars and the Reaffirmation of Truth."
Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, among other things, at a bigger level, was both in terms of social commentary and meta-cinema, about the "reaffirmation of myth" - a form of genre transformation that a film genre undergoes. The Dark Knight subverted the superhero "genre" conventions like the demythologized films do, by subjecting popular genre tropes and myths to a bleak worldview, a complex, dark reality which exposes those conventions as unsubstantial and obsolete. But in the end, chose to reaffirm that myth, not as something real or tangible, but as a thought, an idea, as something that we need to believe. On the surface, the ending of the film begs the questions, - "Do you want to believe in a vigilante, operating outside the law, within his own realm, to uphold the morals of justice, whilst being unaccountable to everyone for his own actions? Do you want to believe in The Dark Knight?" But the conclusion, in a meta sort of way, essentially asks the audience, "Do you still want to believe this,what you are watching? Do you want to see more films like this? More "superhero" films like this?", and judging by the goose-flesh one gets each time while watching the ending, we all know what the response was, thus reaffirming the myth.
This "reaffirmation of myth" manifests itself into a rather stark reality as a "reaffirmation of truth", when one takes into consideration - Christopher Nolan and his strained relationship with the Oscars, the critical and public response to it and the cultural zeitgeist that his films inspire. There is an idea of a Christopher Nolan; an idea - resilient, highly contagious, which is almost impossible to eradicate, which over time, has grown to define him, which has now become the truth, or at least a version of it. The truth being, that despite the continued failure of the Academy in rewarding him, Christopher Nolan is a filmmaker -- who will always want to tell original stories with cerebral themes by adopting challenging filmmaking techniques; employing unconventional narrative structures - (not just for the sake of it or as a gimmick), but ones which are consistent with the world of the story and also with his vision to approach the storytelling, ones which always thrive to explore and stretch the potential of cinema; all the while, consistently churning out films with equal blockbuster appeal and art-house sensibilities, which have enthralled the general audience, film geeks, cinephiles and critics alike. As such, it's only natural that the continued ignorance from the Academy feels like a baffling travesty of sorts.
But this prolonged lack of recognition from the Academy has not deterred or influenced Nolan's choices as a boldly creative filmmaker. The traits associated with his filmmaking and the cultural response to that, the resulting consensus or truth, so as to speak, have not changed. It has only got reaffirmed by the huge expectations and unwavering trust of the audience and film lovers worldwide. He didn't compromise with his vision when Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception and Interstellar were repeatedly ignored by the Oscars. So if history is anything to go by, Nolan is not someone who will begin making films which fit into the traditional mould of the Oscars, not for lack of recognition. This uncompromising sense of approach towards storytelling, is what has come to define him over the years and that is what has manifested as a truth in popular culture; and it has been reaffirmed regularly as well. As such, it's safe to assume that Nolan won't sacrifice his vision and storytelling choices in the future, even after what happened with Dunkirk today. So just like The Dark Knight's meta-commentary on "reaffirmation of myth", this meta-meta-commentary of nature essentially asks the audience, "Do you still believe in Christopher Nolan, a director operating outside the realms of The Academy, yet somehow staying relevant in their discussion, combining the highest levels of artistic expression with equal blockbuster flair, and somehow still not winning?", "Do you believe in the dark knight of cinema?". These events also stress the need for the same, thus justifying the "reaffirmation of truth". It's the Oscar he deserves, but not the one he needs right now. *That* is the truth. But sometimes, the truth isn't good enough. Sometimes, people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded. It wasn't rewarded today. There was tremendous hope, which ended in despair. And to quote Bane, "there can be no true despair without hope."
So what is the implicit message surrounding the social relevance of Nolan's films in popular culture and film fraternity? - That it's not about Oscars, it's about sending a message, - that some men, aren't looking for anything logical, like money or awards. Their vision can't be bought, compromised, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men, just want the world to watch great films. World cinema deserves a better class of filmmaker and he is going to give it to them. He is not the Academy's hero, unlike his peers. He is ahead of the curve. So he can do those things. He lost all those awards. That is what he can be. He is whatever modern cinema needs him to be. So they will ignore him, snub him, set the hacks on him, because that is what needs to happen, because sometimes truth isn't good enough, sometimes people deserve more, sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded. So why is he losing? ~ because we have to chase him, because he is the auteur the Academy deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we will hunt him, vouch for him, because he can take it. Because he is not our hero. He is a silent guardian, of the craft; a watchful protector, of 'film'; a dark knight, of cinema.