‘Joker’s’ Revenge” might overstate the movie’s march through awards season, but “‘Joker’s’ Redemption” would seem to apply, with significant recognition in Monday’s Oscar nominations — never mind winning — potentially giving the DC-derived film the last laugh.
After the dark spinoff from the Batman universe was greeted with both rave reviews and security concerns about its real-world repercussions, it went on to become one of the year’s biggest hits, earning $334 million domestically in North America and more than $1 billion worldwide.
Now, writer-director Todd Phillips R-rated movie looks poised to snag a best-picture nomination, in what amounts to the designated slot for a genuine blockbuster (last year, “Black Panther” broke through) amid movies with considerably smaller popular footprints.
“Joker” has burnished its credentials in the run-up to the Oscars, emerging as the most-nominated film at the BAFTA awards — the British equivalent of the Academy Awards — garnering one of the 10 nods from the Producers Guild of America and earning a Golden Globe for star Joaquin Phoenix.
For Phillips — a director principally known for “The Hangover” comedies — who fended off criticism when the movie made its debut by saying of the concerns, “Art isn’t safe,” the embrace from awards bodies is surely gratifying. It’s an added bonus, meanwhile, for Warner Bros., which appeared to have been caught somewhat flatfooted by the initial blowback, after the movie launched in October not long after claiming the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. (Warner Bros. and CNN are both part of WarnerMedia.)
“Joker,” of course, isn’t the only movie or studio with a lot riding on the Oscar nominations, where an assortment of pedigreed contenders but the absence of a clear frontrunner has added sizzle to the industries built around securing such bids and prognosticating about which movies will be anointed.