Joker Star Joaquin Phoenix Is Odds-On Favorite to Win Best Actor Oscar

Joker star Joaquin Phoenix is the odds-on favorite to be named Best Actor at the 92nd Academy Awards. For his role as the tormented Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comic who emerges as an infamous makeup-wearing criminal in Gotham City, the actor has already collected the biggest trophies pointing to an Oscar win: Phoenix has so far been awarded lead actor prizes at the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. When Phoenix competes at this year's Oscars ceremony against Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes), and Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood), it will be his third time competing for Best Actor following starring roles in Walk the Line and The Master. Phoenix was also once nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Gladiator.

Phoenix's odds of winning Best Actor are at -2000, according to odds and tracking resource Odds Shark. Driver currently stands at +900, followed by Banderas at +1700 and DiCaprio and Pryce both at +2000.

Joker leads the nominees with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, making it the first DC Comics-inspired film to compete for Hollywood's top prize. World War I drama 1917 is the favorite to win Best Picture at -165 odds, ahead of Parasite (+200), Hollywood (+500), Joker (+2500), The Irishman (+6000), Marriage Story (+10000), Jojo Rabbit (+10000), Little Women (+20000), and Ford vs Ferrari (+20000).

"He liked the spirit of what the movie was, a sort of anti-comic book film or whatever," director Todd Phillips recently told Deadline on the topic of what ultimately swayed Phoenix to side step his fear of comic book films and lead Joker. "However you wanted to classify it. He only responded to the spirit, but he also wasn't somebody who ever thought that he would be in a comic book film. I think, I don't want to say for sure. I'm sure he's turned down comic book films in the past. So, that was the biggest hurdle."

"He read the script, he got it. He also got that it wasn't a straight-up comic book movie, but it's the same point," Phillips continued. "It was still called Joker. It still says DC presents at some point in it, you know, so that was I think the biggest hurdle and we talked a lot about that. We had these meetings for months. And before he agreed to do it, I would say three or four months and a lot of questions. I think some of it was him just feeling me out, of course, and talked about the vibe and the tone. 'What's it going to look like and how do I work? What's the approach?' It was a lot, but it was great and it was really like prepping away. It really helped us down the road and I know."


The 92nd Academy Awards air Sunday, Feb. 9 on ABC.