Dark comic-book story “Joker” led nominations on Monday for the Oscars in a best picture lineup dominated by stories by or about men and featuring only one actor of color despite efforts over the past few years to diversify the field.
The 11 nominations for Joker, which turned the comic-book genre on its head with its terrifying portrayal of an isolated loner, covered all the major fields, including best picture, director Todd Phillips and Golden Globe-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix. The controversial Warner Bros. movie has taken in more than $1 billion at global box offices.
Phillips in a statement said he saw the film as “a character study to reflect the world around us. Explore what we’re seeing and feeling in society, from the lack of empathy to the effects of the absence of love.”
Joker has proven to be an awards powerhouse since world premiering at the Venice Film Festival, where it took home the Golden Lion. Joker was singled out by the American Film Institute as one of the Best Motion Pictures of 2019. At the Golden Globes, Joker was nominated for four prizes (including Best Picture and Best Director for Todd Phillips) and won Joaquin Phoenix the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. Phoenix is also nominated at the Screen Actors Guild awards and is considered one of the frontrunners to win the Oscars. “Joker” also scored 11 BAFTA nominations, more than any other films this year, and several nominations from various film guilds.
The Academy had long been resistant to nominating comic book films for its major categories. Not even Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight,” arguably the most critically acclaimed comic book film ever made, received nominations for Best Picture or Best Director. The outcry over the Oscar snubbing “The Dark Knight” for Best Picture is credited for leading the Academy to expand the Best Picture field from five nominees to 10 and then a preferential system. The only other recent comic book film to break through at the Oscars is “Logan,” which was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.
The 92nd Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.