Joker - A Best Picture Oscar for a Comic Movie?
This month the jury of the 76th Venice Film Festival announced the winner of their highest honour, the Golden Lion.
Alongside Cannes' Palme d'Or and Berlin's Golden Bear, the Golden Lion is among the elite of European film awards.
Whilst tradition has favoured European film makers, in recent times the award has become more international, with Asian (Ang Lee and Zhiang Yimou have won twice) and American films taking home the top award in the last decade.
But, how ever hard you look, you won't find a Marvel film amongst them.
So, the jury's announcement that the Golden Lion was won by Todd Philip's "Joker" was all the more amazing.
Shot in New York, Jersey and Newark, the movie tells of Arthur Fleck, a struggling comedian beset with mental illness. Battered by a failing society, he turns to a life of pathological crime.
Written by director Philips and Scott Silver (already an Oscar nominated screen writer), the movie takes inspiration from films of the 1970s, such as Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver". It also gives a strong nod to another Scorsese film "The King of Comedy" in which a comedian is obsessed with a talk show presenter. (Star of both, Robert De Niro, appears in Joker as talk show host Murray Franklin.)
But, from the reviews so far...
"Bold, devastating and utterly beautiful, Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix have not just reimagined one of the most iconic villains in cinema history, but reimagined the comic book movie itself." (Empire)
“Phoenix’s performance is astonishing. Phoenix is playing a geek with an unhinged mind, yet he’s so controlled that he’s mesmerizing.” (Variety)
... it is Joaquin Phoenix's performance that makes the film. Twenty four kilograms (52 pounds) lighter, the trailers show a sinewy and contorted man using every muscle and contour of his body to express Fleck's torture and insanity.
Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker (The Dark Knight, 2008). What odds on Phoenix and the movie taking home 2020's Academy Awards?
The posters for the film are fantastic and we've managed to track down a number of them! You can find them all here.
Joker hits our screens on the 4th October. We cannot wait.
Adam and the Art of the Movies team.