Dave Karger
November 06, 2008 AT 10:03 PM EST

Usually I’m not the kind of guy who thinks that outside events have too much influence on the Oscar race. I generally think it’s about the movies, more or less in a vacuum. But I do think that this week’s election-day results may have a profound effect on the Best Picture chances of two films. For starters, there’s The Dark Knight. I thought the sequence involving the two ferries (in which a group of commuters and a group of convicts have the power to blow up each others’ boats but don’t) was a bit too reality-show-ish for my taste. But I know most viewers loved it. Either way, that part of the film speaks to the innate goodness of human behavior. And let’s remember that Oscar ballots are due next January 12, just a week before Barack Obama is inaugurated. It’s safe to say most Hollywood types will also see that event as an example of innate human goodness. All of this only helps The Dark Knight‘s chances, don’t you think?

Then there’s Milk. The other closely followed vote out in Los Angeles was the narrowly-won passing of California’s Prop 8, which adds an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage. There have already been large rallies protesting the outcome, events that look very similar to the staged rallies in Milk. And outrage among the entertainment community to this decision may serve to fuel the Academy’s support for a moving biopic about a murdered gay-rights activist and politician. A movie, by the way, that just happens to be coming out later this month.

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