This Sunday will see the 92nd Academy Awards take place, and Joker already leads the pack with the most nominations out of any movie this year. The Todd Phillips-directed film is nominated for 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Though the film likely won't take home all eleven Oscars that it's nominated for, if it takes home one specific award it will officially make Oscar history, and the nemesis of DC Comics' Batman will be thrown into the record books.
As pointed out by Good Morning America, if Joaquin Phoenix wins the Best Actor Oscar for playing The Joker (which he is favored to do with the odds makers putting him at a 94.12% probability) then both he and Heath Ledger will have won Oscars for playing the same character. This has only happened one other time before in Oscar history when Marlon Brando won Best Actor in 1972 for playing Don Vito Corleone in The Godfather, followed by Robert De Niro winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1974 for playing the younger version of the same character in The Godfather Part II.
It's worth noting that while it's not super common for actors to be nominated for playing the same character, it has happened quite a few times in Oscar history, though the majority of them are for playing real life figures or classical drama characters.
Kenneth Branagh and Laurence Olivier were both nominated for playing Henry V, though 45 years apart; while Anthony Hopkins and Frank Langella both received nominees for playing former president Richard Nixon in different years. Some actors have even been nominated for playing the same character in the same year like in 1999 when Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench were nominated for playing Elizabeth I in different films; and on two occasions, pairs of actors were nominated for playing the same character in the same movie (Kate Winslet & Gloria Stuart in Titanic in 1997, and Kate Winslet & Judi Dench in Iris in 2001).
To reiterate though, only Brando and De Niro have actually won for playing the same character, but they could be joined by Ledger and Phoenix in just two days time. Phoenix previously paid tribute to Ledger when he was accepting the Screen Actors Guild award for Best Actor, calling him his "favorite actor" and that he was standing on his shoulders by accepting the award.
The 92nd Academy Awards air Sunday, Feb. 9 on ABC. You can read the full list of nominees for this year by clicking here.