Joker has been an awards contender since its debut when it took top honors at the Venice Film Festival. Now that it's in theaters, fans are talking Academy Award potential, both for the Todd Phillips-directed film and for its star, Joaquin Phoenix. Oscar voters aren't so unanimous on Joker's worth. The Hollywood Reporter reached out to a group of Oscar voters to gauge their thoughts on Joker's chances. Their takes were varied and polarized. Some high-profile Academy members like Chris Rock and Michael Moore took to social media champion the film as a "masterpiece." One voter described as a "female member of the members-at-large brance" had a similar take.
"I saw the film last night at the Landmark with another Academy member, and my stomach was still churning this morning," she said. "It made me uncomfortable from the very first frame to the last, but I thought the movie was extraordinary. I didn't read anything about it beforehand, so I thought I was going to be getting, sort of, Batman. It's the most outstanding performance I've seen in many years — the way he moved, everything, I mean, he's really a consummate actor, and there's not a frame he's not on camera, too. What I don't understand is what everyone's all upset about? Just pick up the morning paper and see the asshole that's running our country if you want to worry about violence. It's still early, but I can certainly see myself nominating it for best picture. And he has to get nominated, or the actors branch doesn't know what it's doing."
Some voters have avoided the film entirely, while others have seen it and aren't buying into the hype. "I thought it was lacking a clear vision and overwrought," said one male member of the public relations/marketing branch. "This doom-and-gloom style has become tedious. Only [Michelle] Pfeiffer and [Danny] DeVito in [1992's] Batman Returns have truly balanced dark with light. This one didn't have a point of view on politics or class, and its depiction of mental illness was irresponsible. Joaquin was so over the top it became irritating. Todd's song choices were so on-the-nose they seemed offensive and not ironic. Does he not know 'Send in the Clowns' is a romantic ballad of regret and not actually about clowns?"
THR spoke with dozens of members of the Academy to get a sampling of opinions about Joker. Check out the original piece to see more of what the Academy members had to say.
What do you think of Joker's Academy Award chances? Let us know in the comments. Joker is now playing in theaters.
Upcoming DC Films 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, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.