'Joker' is an Oscar contender says Venice Film Festival chief

Hanna Flint
Joker set for the Oscars says, Venice boss (Credit: Warner Bros)

Joker is looking good for Oscars season, claims the the chief of the Venice Film Festival.

Alberto Barbera believes the Joaquin Phoenix-led film based on the DC Comics character will be a contender at the 2020 Academy Awards during an interview with Deadline.

“They’re very good,” he said of he film’s Oscar prospects. “Absolutely, it will be in the running.

“The film deserves the reception it is getting,” he added. “It goes beyond the boundaries of the genre. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is outstanding and Todd Phillips did a great job.”

Director of the festival Alberto Barbera, Joaquin Phoenix, director Todd Phillips and president of the festival Paolo Baratta in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/WireImage)

Since the movie screened at the Italian film festival, Joker has received a polarising response.

Read more: Joker reviews are in

Some people are calling it “a masterpiece,” with Empire’s Editor-in-Chief Terri White giving it five stars and writing, “it’s a character and a movie that’s liberated, entirely. Free to be whatever and whomever it choose.”

Robbie Collin of the Telegraph, in his four-star review, compared Joker to Fight Club.

“Make no mistake, this is a film that is going to stir up trouble - in the consciences of everyone who watches it, and almost certainly in the outside world as well.”

Actor Joaquin Phoenix, right, greets director Todd Phillips as they arrive at the premiere of the film 'Joker' at the 76th edition of the Venice Film Festival, Venice, Italy, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)

David Eherlich of Indiewire continued this sentiment in his review, calling it the “boldest and most exciting superhero movie since The Dark Knight,” but also “incendiary, confused, and potentially toxic.”

Read more: First look at Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho

While Stephanie Zacharek of Time panned the movie, writing, “Phoenix is acting so hard you can feel the desperation throbbing in his veins. He leaves you wanting to start him a GoFundMe, so he won’t have to pour so much sweat into his job again.”

Directed by Todd Phillips, known for The Hangover, Joker centres on Batman’s archnemesis and the events that led to him becoming a villain.

Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, an aspiring stand-up comic who is the butt of the joke too many times and it leads to dire consequences for him and Gotham.

Joker is in cinemas from 4 October.