Will ‘Joker’ Controversy Impact Joaquin Phoenix’s Shot at His First Oscar? – Diversity
October 8, 2019 9:29AM PT It’s official: “Joker” is a hit. The provocative Todd Phillips-directed Warner Bros. film, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the iconic DC Comics villain, had the biggest October weekend opening box office ever, with $93.5 million in ticket sales. There was never a doubt that “Joker” would earn big bucks, but awards…

It’s reliable: “Joker” is a success. The sexy Todd Phillips-directed Warner Bros. film, starring Joaquin Phoenix because the iconic DC Comics villain, had the largest October weekend opening box place of job ever, with $ninety three.5 million in mark gross sales.

There changed into by no technique a doubt that “Joker” would construct big bucks, however awards season recognition stays an delivery query.

As rapidly because the principle trailer dropped in April, a chorus of reward changed into heaped upon Phoenix. The clip would possibly maybe additionally merely entirely were two minutes and 24 seconds long, however the gape of the actor because the clown-confronted killer with a psycho chortle changed into met with Insta-predictions that Phoenix would steady his fourth Oscar nomination.

Since then, Warner Bros. staged the film’s world premiere in Venice, where it got an eight-minute standing ovation and picked up the Golden Lion. About a days later, the North American debut on the Toronto Movie Competition earned Phoenix an identical accolades.

The total consensus perceived to be that although the film changed into too darkish and violent to indubitably revel in, Phoenix’s performance by myself changed into marvelous of Oscar recognition.

On the different hand, controversy rapidly engulfed the movie: A neighborhood of family and visitors of victims of the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater for the length of a “Darkish Knight Rises” screening in 2012 wrote to Warner Bros., requesting that the studio counter the grotesque “Joker” brutality by donating to groups that motivate victims of gun violence. The neighborhood also requested the studio no longer to beef up political candidates who find money from the NRA. In response, Warner Bros. issued an announcement condemning staunch-world violence while also insisting it would not purchase into consideration Joker a hero.

The studio speedy sheltered Phillips and his cast from the media when it turned the movie’s Los Angeles crimson carpet premiere into a characterize-entirely match and did the identical for its Unusual York Movie Competition screening.

Fair days earlier than opening weekend, AMC Theatres and Landmark Theatres offered the ban of costumes and masks for the length of “Joker” screenings. The Los Angeles Police Dept. declared it would possibly perchance maybe maybe magnify its visibility round cinemas for the length of opening weekend. In Unusual York City, a young man changed into escorted out of a screening in Instances Square when he started applauding for the length of on-cloak murders.

How any of this affects the awards season prospects for “Joker” is yet to be seen, however the film is going to be a no longer easy promote to Academy voters.

First, regardless of how powerful Phillips and company rightly narrate it’s no longer a passe superhero movie, it changed into born of the DC Comics universe. Superhero movies comprise had very minute success on the Oscars. The predominant time a dwell-movement superhero film earned a ideal image nomination changed into final twelve months, when Ryan Coogler’s “The Black Panther” roared onto the scene. Even so, the film failed to purchase up any acting noms.

The entirely superhero acting nomination in Oscar history went to Heath Ledger, who won posthumously for his feature because the Joker in 2008’s “The Darkish Knight.”

As for violent films, there were Oscar noms as properly as some wins. Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange” earned a ideal image nom in 1972, as did “Deliverance” the following twelve months. “Taxi Driver,” Martin Scorsese’s fundamental Unusual York drama about antihero Travis Bickle, which Phillips says changed into a valuable inspiration for “Joker,” changed into nominated for ideal image in 1977. Jonathan Demme’s “The Silence of the Lambs” no longer entirely grossed more than $272 million worldwide in opposition to its $19 million funds however also took home five Oscars in 1992 for ideal pic, director, actor (Anthony Hopkins), actress (Jodie Foster) and tailored screenplay (Ted Tally).

Nonetheless that changed into then, and right here is 2019. Mass shootings are indubitably far-too-frequent occurrences, and the gun management debate is tranquil a dominant political talking point. Active-shooter drills are allotment of many college curricula.

With regards to all of the Academy voters I’ve spoken with reward Phoenix’s performance. “He’s luminous,” one says. As the lights went up after the Unusual York Movie Competition premiere, I heard more reward than disapproval.

On the identical time, voters seem like immune to rewarding the actor. It’s no longer on tale of they don’t heart of attention on his work is marvelous; they appropriate don’t esteem the foundation that their vote would possibly maybe additionally advance off esteem an endorsement of violence.

Also, glance at his competition: Would voters indubitably fetch a homicidal madman over Adam Driver pulling on their heartstrings in “Marriage Tale” by singing “Being Alive”? Or how about Leonardo DiCaprio playing a Hollywood valuable person in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”?

Even Adam Sandler would possibly maybe additionally merely comprise a larger shot than Phoenix. Sandler’s gambling-addict con man in “Uncut Gemstones” would possibly maybe additionally merely no longer comprise many, if any, redeeming values, however the Safdie brothers’ darkish comedy leaves audiences laughing without feeling guilty or uneasy about it.

During a panel dialogue after the NYFF premiere, Phillips argued that his film’s depiction of staunch-world violence is more “guilty” than the “comic strip component of violence that we’ve change into so proof in opposition to.”

He also talked about he believes the controversy wouldn’t “hurt the movie.” He added, “It doubtlessly has helped, and it’s appropriate to comprise other folk talking.”

Talking would possibly maybe additionally merely result in stronger mark gross sales, however it completely’s that identical talking that will most likely be the film’s undoing on the Oscars.

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