Christian Bale arguably had his best year yet in 2011, but 2011 was not the Year of Bale. Yes, he had many amazing moments, including (but not limited to) winning an Academy Award for his performance in The Fighter, winning a Golden Globe for the same thing, and actually receiving another thirty awards throughout the the first half of 2011. For many non-Bale fans, this was a pivotal moment: he went from “the Batman guy” or “the guy who yelled at people during Terminator” to “the guy winning all those awards for that boxing movie” or “Did you know that guy is from England?”
That was the first half of his year. The second half of 2011 involved a) the release of the poster and trailer for Flowers of War b) the release of the teaser trailer, full trailer, and prologue for The Dark Knight Rises c) more and more rumors regarding The Dark Knight Rises and d) a viral video that could balance out the negative opinion of Bale created by his Terminator meltdown.
All of this–the Oscar, the Batman rumors, the scuffle with the Chinese government–should be enough for Bale to hog the spotlight, but there are a few reasons this has not happened. First of all, Bale wasn’t actually in any films released in 2011. The Fighter is a 2010 film and Flowers of War hasn’t been released in the United States yet. Secondly, Bale is quite possibly the least buzzed-about aspect of The Dark Knight Rises. Why? Because he appears to be the easiest variable to anticipate. There are far more enigmatic questions swirling around, such as: What will Catwoman be like? Is she good or evil? Is Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Robin or Nightwing or neither? Is Marion Cottilard once again within a dream within a dream? Is Tom Hardy going to break Batman’s back? Is Liam Neeson actually in this?
But more importantly, the reason that Bale is not a center of conversation (other than in his web-obsession communities such as BaleHeads.com) is that there are more interesting men in the spotlight right now. Specifically, there is one man consuming the American public eye in such a way that there may be no room for Bale. This man is: Ryan Gosling.