I think Nolan's greatest attribute as a director is picking the right actor for the part, and often an unexpected choice. Who'd of thought Heath Ledger would be a good joker? He was fantastic, and despite what you think of Nolan's films Heath Ledger's Joker has to be one of the best performances in recent cinema history. Absolutely astounding. Voice aside, Tom Hardy does a fantastic job as Bane.
On a personal note I loved Dark Knight Rises, preferred Dark Knight, but agree with most sentiment that it is a top tier trilogy.