With each new film released during the fall Oscar season, the chances of nominations for actors and the movies rise and fall. Case in point is Joaquin Phoenix in Joker. Phoenix was no. 1 with a bullet (pun intended) to take home the Oscar after the film won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year. However, now that the film has been released in theatres, it tops the box office receipts, but Phoenix’s chances to win the Outstanding Actor prize seem to have diminished.
That is why what we predict today could be completely different by February. The odds at the best online sportsbooks, too, are likely to change, so stay on top of your picks.
As for Phoenix’s chances, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety, two publications that may be canaries in the coal mine regarding Oscar nominees and winners, are making noise that the acting award may not be a shoo-in for the Joker star.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, film-industry folk (producer, marketers, actors and others) called Joker both “outstanding” and “irresponsible.” Though Phoenix’s complex performance continues to be praised, Oscar voters told the publication that, if nominated, they might not vote for him or the movie for reasons all related to the film’s violence, especially with the heightened emotions related to gun violence and mass shootings that have occurred in the U.S.
Here are some of the comments about Joker:
- “It’s a really impressive film across the board. … I don’t see any reason why this movie should be out in the universe. … It just pours lighter fluid on a conversation that staring us in the face every week.”
- “Just an unlikeable character and ‘world’ to spend two hours in. I want to see Downton Abbey (with all its lightness and pretty people, scenery and themes) three times to get Joker out of my system.”
- “I found the film overall to be so unpleasant that I could not vote for it.”
Of course, a lot can happen between now and when the Academy Award nominations are announced on January 13, and the Oscars awarded on February 9.
Phoenix will definitely be nominated but it is very much up in the air whether people will vote for him or the film. The moral of this story is never assume rave reviews equals a gold statuette in February.
A list of possible nominees and winners:
Best Actor: Adam Driver (Marriage Story), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes), Robert De Niro (The Irishman). Other noteworthy performances: Antonio Bandares (Pain and Glory) Michael B. Jordan (Just Mercy), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite is My Name).
Possible Winner: Adam Driver or Joaquin Phoenix. We still think Phoenix has a chance but Driver has two stellar performances (the other is The Report) which may give him an edge.
Best Actress: Awkwafina (The Farewell), Cynthia Erivo (Harriet), Renee Zellweger (Judy), Scarlett Johansson (Marriage Story), Lupita Nyong’o (Us). Other noteworthy performances: Helen Mirren (The Good Liar), Beanie Feldstein & Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), Felicity Jones (The Aeronauts).
Possible Winner: Judy, Judy, Judy, we’re picking Renee Zellweger. But never count out Mirren.
Best Supporting Actor: Al Pacino & Joe Pesci (The Irishman), Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes), Brad Pitt (One Upon a Time in Hollywood), Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy). Other noteworthy performances: Christian Bale (Ford v Ferrari), Shia LaBeouf (Honey Boy), Sam Rockwell (Jojo Robbit).
Possible Winner: It could be another beautiful night for Tom Hanks.
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern (Marriage Story), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), Annette Bening (The Report), Shuzhen Zhou (The Farewell), Margot Robbie (Jojo Rabbit). Other noteworthy performances: Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), Penelope Cruz (Pain and Glory).
Possible Winner: Laura Dern and Jennifer Lopez are in a dead heat at Gold Derby, a predictor of Oscar winners. If nominated, Smith could be a sentimental favourite.
Best Director: Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story), Fernando Meirelles (The Two Popes). Other noteworthy directors: Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit), Todd Phillips (Joker), James Manghold (Ford v Ferrari) and Lulu Wang (The Farewell).
Possible Winner: Right now, this is a two-man race; Scorsese v Tarantino.
Best Picture: The Irishman, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Marriage Story, Jojo Rabbit, The Two Popes, Parasite, Joker, Ford v Ferrari. Other noteworthy films: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Just Mercy, Judy.
Possible Winner:The Irishman has great appeal, as does Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Joker will probably not win the Oscar for Best Picture. But who knows.