Joker Will "Absolutely" Be In Running For Oscar According To Venice Film Festival Director

Todd Phillips and DC's gritty and R-rated look at the most popular villain in all of comic books finally premiered at the Venice Film Festival this past week and received a much different response than many people would have guessed. Joker debuted to a massive standing ovation and incredible critical reception, and it looks as though a lot of folks think that's going to be enough for the film to get the ultimate recognition when awards season begins later this year.

At the halfway point of the Venice Film Festival, event director Alberto Barbera spoke with Deadline about the controversial film and he believes that Joker has everything it takes to be a major awards contender, especially when it comes to Joaquin Phoenix's turn as Arthur Fleck.

"I think they made a good choice. The right choice. The film deserves the reception it is getting," said Barbera. "It goes beyond the boundaries of the genre. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is outstanding and Todd Phillips did a great job."

As for Joker's chances at some Academy Award nominations this season, Barbera feels as though the film is a lock to at least be in contention.

"They’re very good. Absolutely, it will be in the running," he added.

Of course, the subject matter of Joker could deter awards voters away from giving it nominations. Regardless of how dark the film may be, Barbera doesn't think it will be too much of an issue.

"I don’t think so. The way it deals with those elements is intelligent," he said. "It’s not a simplistic view. Social factors, and other external factors, combine with the character’s state of mind to make it a complex picture. That’s a strength of the film. It’s a strong, unexpected and original film. Even if there are references to The King Of Comedy and Taxi Driver, it’s a very original movie."

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Are you looking forward to seeing Joker next month? Do you think it has a chance to contend for awards? Let us know in the comments!

Joker is set to hit theaters on October 4th.