Joker is ‘going straight to the Oscars’

Gregory Wakeman
Could Joker win an Oscar?

Joker is going to be one of the main contenders at the 2020 Oscars, according to the artistic chief of the Venice Film Festival, where it is premiering later this month.

At first, Alberto Barbara admitted that it is a surprise that the Warner Bros film is actually being entered as part of the main international competition. “As usual they said they wanted to be in a more protected situation [as with A Star Is Born last year, which launched out of competition].”

“But then [director] Todd Phillips said: ‘I don’t care if I run the risk of not winning. Why shouldn’t I go in competition when I know what we’ve/I’ve got on our hands?’”

Barbara believes that this was a wise choice on the studio’s part, as he told Variety that he thinks Joker will go on to be a major player in the upcoming awards season.

Joaquin Phoenix arrives for the world premiere of The Sisters Brothers at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). REUTERS/Mario Anzouni

“I have to say, Warners was convinced pretty rapidly, because it’s a really surprising film. It’s the most surprising film we’ve got this year…This one’s going straight to the Oscars even though it’s gritty, dark, violent. It has amazing ambition and scope.”

Joker will compete against James Gray’s Ad Astra, Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Olivier Assayas’ Wasp Network for the coveted Golden Bear gong.

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It wouldn’t be a surprise if Joker ended up with various nominations at the likes of the Oscars, Critics’ Choice, BAFTA and Golden Globes. Not only has Joaquin Phoenix previously earned three Oscar nominations, but Robert De Niro has won two, while another Oscar winner Martin Scorsese is an executive producer.

We’ll get to see what they can muster up with Joker when it is released on 4 October.