It’s hard to think that at one point in time folks were debating whether or not comic book movies had their place in the awards circuit. And yet, here we are, with the 2020 awards chase well underway, and director Todd Phillips’ Joker is cleaning up with nominations, and picking up some major wins in the process too.
Which makes the fact that the DC Comics one-off has picked up the most BAFTA nominations of any film this year all the more encouraging for the picture’s Oscar prospects. To be more specific, Joker has been announced as taking in 11 nods at the British equivalent of the Oscars, with some pretty big ticket crucial honors in the running.
The most obvious nominations went to Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor, as well as Todd Phillips for Best Director. But in addition, the film also has some important noms for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film in its compliment. It’s kind of a Cinderella story when you compare the plaudits it’s been receiving of late to the frightening attitude towards the film before its’ release.
Say what you will about the controversial and divisive box office hit, but much like Joker’s protagonist Arthur Fleck, this film took a turn from something was branded as dangerous and anarchic to an overnight hit. And that success has gone a long way, as Todd Phillips’ picture went on to become the biggest R-rated hit ever, crossing the $1 billion mark worldwide.
As such, this BAFTA news from The New York Times is the icing on the cake, or rather the smile on the clown’s face for Joker overall. To even be named in the same field as films like 1917, The Irishman, Marriage Story, and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a pretty big happening, but to do so at the BAFTAs is even more amazing.
Though this doesn’t automatically translate to Joker being a shoo-in for any of the awards it’s up for, nor is it a total indicator for how the Academy Awards will break. Let’s not forget, we’re still at a point in the awards cycle where anything can happen, as noted by last year’s BAFTAS seeing director Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma take the Best Film prize-- with Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Favourite winning for the Best British Film in that same ceremony.
It should also be noted that Lanthimos’ film lived up to its name at last year’s BAFTAS, as it was the most nominated film of 2019’s class with 12 nods. Still, it’s hard not to be optimistic for Joaquin Phoenix’s chances for continued Best Actor wins from this point on, as his chilling portrayal of Arthur’s rise to madness is one that’s left shockwaves in the industry.
Time will tell if Joker has legs in this year’s awards race, or if this most recent sprint just happened to be its best. And we won’t have to wait too long for the results either, as the BAFTAs will be held on February 2nd.
So if you’re looking to plan a viewing party or get a betting pool going, you should get started pretty quickly. And if, by some chance, you haven’t seen Joker, the film is now available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD.