I went to see Iron Man this weekend, and liked it a lot more than I expected. One big reason? It didn’t have just laughs and comic-geek thrills, but real, first-rate, non-F/X… acting! When Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, pulls Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts out onto the dancefloor for a little dipping and cooing, the rom-com byplay is superb.

Which made me connect a few movie-industry dots. Hey, remember the whining about the last Oscar telecast, with its low-wattage star vehicles and lower ratings, and all the hand-wringing the media, including EW, did over how to improve the Oscars? Here’s a thought. Hey, Hollywood and the Motion Picture Academy: Take a closer squint at the big summer movies. Take them, ahem, seriously. As far as I’m concerned, Downey’s performance should go on any short list that anyone draws up of potential Oscar nominees.

Oh, and another thought. Iron Man at my multiplex was preceded by a trailer for The Dark Knight. And if Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker is as good as these clips suggest — and my brain starts popping every time I see his deliriously committed, smeared-makeup personification of pure, nut-job Evilness — then we’ve got a potential Best Supporting Actor nominee that will be much more than just a sentimental gesture to a cherished, departed actor.

Iron Man and The Dark Knight as Oscar-worthy — think about it… seriously.

addCredit(“Robert Downey, Jr; Zade Rosenthal”)

The Dark Knight
  • Movie
  • 152 minutes