We're now officially in awards season, and Oscars 2020 buzz is everywhere -- including, at the moment, for Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Joker. Fans can debate all we want about which films or stars deserve Oscars, but what about the actual people who get to vote?
You're probably familiar with The Hollywood Reporter's "honest" Oscar ballots -- usually with some unnamed producer or star bashing a popular movie because they get to do it anonymously. THR probably returned to the same pool for positive and negative comments on Joker, just to gauge what's out there. Short answer: A lot of scalding hot takes, a few lukewarm ones, and some ice cold refusals to see the movie.
THR printed brief Joker takes from more than 20 members of various branches of the Academy -- with more comments from members who hadn't seen the movie yet.
Let's start with the thoughts of a voter described as male Academy member in the producers branch. He saw Joker when it premiered in Venice to rave reviews, ultimately earning the Golden Lion award. This voter started with compliments, and then dropped a "despise" bomb:
The first movie in history that's too dark for someone is saying a lot. It certainly suggests Joker left a mark. Here are some raves from a woman in the members-at-large branch. She thinks Joaquin Phoenix is a lock for an Oscar nomination, and she also said she could see herself nominating Joker for Best Picture:
Here's a take from a conflicted man in the producers branch:
This male member of public relations/marketing branch had a much more negative take:
I was also fascinated by the number of Academy members who were reluctant to see Joker. Here's a female member of actors branch talking about when she'll eventually watch Joaquin Phoenix's performance:
Here's a succinct comment from a male member of the actors branch:
Joker isn't a traditional comic book movie, but since "Joker" is the title -- and it does have connections to the Batman origin story -- it's certainly using its DC Comics status as a selling point. But if that person doesn't like comic book movies, it's possible Joker is exactly their kind of movie.
Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.