Joaquin Phoenix portrays the title character in co-writer-director-producer Todd Phillips’ crime thriller, ‘Joker.’ Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

Filmmakers of all merits will surely shine bright during next month’s anticipated Oscar ceremony, but there’s one movie that’s already truly standing out amongst its competitors-Todd Phillips’ crime drama, ‘Joker.’ The thriller leads the honored projects with the most nominations, with 11 nods. The feature is notable for defying the odds as a comic book adaptation that won over the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the organization that hands out the Oscar trophies.

The 92nd Academy Awards show, which is set to air live on Sunday, February 9 on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, is Hollywood’s highest recognition of excellence in cinematic achievement from 2019. When the nominations were announced this past Monday, January 13, ‘Joker’ surprised film industry insiders and fans, as the AMPAS tends to favor more highbrow movies.

As can be seen on the chart on this page, ‘Joker’s most sure bet to win Oscar gold next month is with Joaquin Phoenix in the Best Actor category for his performance as the title character. The performer, who was previously nominated for Academy awards for his roles in ‘Gladiator,’ ‘Walk the Line’ and ‘The Master,’ already won for his portrayal of ‘Joker’s title anti-hero at this month’s Golden Globe Awards.

While Phoenix is the clear frontrunner to win the Best Actor Oscar trophy, the ten other categories the origin story drama is nominated in aren’t as certain. With nearly a month before the ceremony is held, there’s still a chance for the odds to change course. But the guarantee of the screen adaptation of Arthur Fleck’s transition into The Clown Prince of Crime bringing home any other major Academy Awards seems unlikely.

In the coveted Best Picture race, ‘Joker’ doesn’t presently seem to have a hope to win the honor. Out of this year’s nine nominees, ‘Joker’ is currently in fourth place, behind ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood;’ 1917,’ which won the Best Picture – Drama category at the Golden Globe Awards; and ‘Parasite,’ which was honored with the Best Foreign Language Film trophy at the Golden Globe Awards.

Phillips is the least-likely nominee to win in the Best Director category. Sam Mendes is expected to snag a victory for his epic war film, ‘1917,’ after he was honored at the Golden Globe Awards. Even if Mendes, who previously won in the same category 20 years ago for his debut feature, ‘American Beauty,’ is snubbed in the category, Bong Joon-ho or Quentin Tarantino will likely beat Phillips to win the trophy. They’re being recognized their respective acclaimed movies, ‘Parasite’ and ‘Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood.’

Another coveted category that ‘Joker’s nominated in is Best Adapted Screenplay, in which the thriller faces some major competition. As of now, Phillips and his co-writer, Scott Silver, aren’t expected to win against Greta Gerwig’s traditionalist spin on ‘Little Women,’ or even Taika Waititi’s avant-garde take on ‘Jojo Rabbit.’

While the odds for most of the technical categories haven’t been revealed yet, the best bets for ‘Joker’ are in the fields of Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. The sound team of the blockbuster had to navigate several scenes of both loud action sequences and quiet and introspective moments. On the visual end of the spectrum, as of now, the crime drama’s best shot is in the Best Film Editing category.

With a little less than a month left before this year’s Oscar winners are announced, the nominated filmmakers still have some time left to continue campaigning for their movies. While the odds still have time to change before the ceremony, Phoenix seems the most likely to hear his names called as the winner of ‘Joker’s major win on the Dolby Theatre stage.

92nd Academy Awards
The Dolby Theatre, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard,Los Angeles,California-90028
Starting on
February 9, 2020
The Academy Awards are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry, given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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