Joker Scores Seven Critics Choice Nominations Including Best Picture

It's been almost exactly two months since Joker first debuted in theaters, but the DC film has continued to capture the public's attention in some interesting ways. The R-rated drama, which imagines the tragic origin of the Clown Prince of Crime, has courted critical acclaim and awards buzz almost since the film's first trailer dropped. While it remains to be seen how Joker will fare in next year's Academy Awards, the film just earned an array of pretty impressive accolades. The nominees for the 2020 Critics Choice Awards were announced on Sunday, and Joker ended up being one of the most-honored properties in the ceremony. Joker earned a total of seven nominations, including one in the highly-coveted "Best Picture" category.

Other nominations for the film include Best Actor for Joaquin Phoenix, Best Adapted Screenplay for Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, Best Cinematography for Lawrence Sher, Best Production Design for Mark Friedberg and Kris Moran, Best Hair and Makeup, and Best Score for Hildur Guanadottir.

The topic of Joker's award chances has popped up for months now, beginning with the film's first screenings at film festivals over the summer.

"I have to say, Warners was convinced pretty rapidly, because it’s a really surprising film," Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera previously said. "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."

The film, which also stars Zazie Beetz, Robert de Niro, and Frances Conroy, serves as a sort of deep character study on who the Joker is, something that apparently drew Phoenix to the role.

“There was a lot of fear, yeah,” Phoenix explained in an interview last month. “But I always say there’s motivating fear and debilitating fear. There’s the fear where you cannot make a f--king step, and there’s the kind where it’s like, ‘OK, what do we do? That’s not good enough.’ And you’re digging deeper and deeper. I love that kind of fear. It guides us, makes us work harder.”

"I think oftentimes, in these movies, we have these simplified, reductive archetypes, and that allows for the audience to be distant from the character, just like we would do in real life," the actor said before adding, "I thought that here was this film, and these characters, where it wouldn’t be easy for you as an audience. There are times where you’re going to feel yourself connected to him, and rooting for him, and times when you should be repulsed by him. And I like that idea of challenging the audience, and challenging myself to explore a character like that. It’s rare to explore characters like that in any movies, but specifically in the superhero genre.”

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Joker is in theaters now. Upcoming DC movies include Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, Black Adam on December 22, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.