While Steven Spielberg is “encouraged” by the presence of Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water in this year’s nominees class for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, he still wishes the expanded 10-movies category could have included The Dark Knight years ago.

The bump up to 10 went into effect back in 2009, with this year’s nominees also including Spielberg’s own The Fabelmans. Speaking with Deadline after the 2023 class of nominees was unveiled, the director shared his thoughts on how this year’s potential honorees shook out, with special attention given to the Best Picture category.

“I’m really encouraged by that,” Spielberg told the outlet, as seen here. “It came late for the film that should have been nominated a number of years ago, Christopher Nolan’s, The Dark Knight. That movie would have definitely garnered a Best Picture Nomination today, so having these two blockbusters solidly presented on the top 10 list is something we should all be celebrating.”

While Nolan’s Dark Knight did indeed not score a Best Picture nomination, it did spur multiple nods at the 2009 edition of the ceremony, including a Best Supporting Actor nomination (and eventual win) for the late Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker.

The full list of 2023 Best Picture nominees, meanwhile, also included All Quiet on the Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Tár, Triangle of Sadness, and Women Talking. See more here. For a breakdown of the biggest takeways (including insights on the most shocking snubs) from this year’s nominees, hit this link.