The Joker has a big reason to put on a happy face.
Todd Phillips' acclaimed psychological thriller centered on the Batman villain has not gone unnoticed this award season. The film has garnered four Golden Globe nods, two of which were won, as well as two SAG Award nominations, 11 BAFTA nominations and, as of Monday, a whopping 11 Oscar nominations. The film was recognized in virtually every major category, from Best Sound Mixing to Best Picture, and leads the 2020 contenders as the most nominated film of the year.
"Joker began as an idea, an experiment really— could we take an 'indie approach' to a studio film by inverting it into a character study to reflect the world around us?" Phillips said in a statement on Monday in response to the Oscar nominations. "Explore what we're seeing and feeling in society, from the lack of empathy to the effects of the absence of love. I am deeply honored by the overwhelming recognition of the Academy this morning, and I want to thank the genius that is Joaquin Phoenix, and all my incredible collaborators. We are beyond humbled that our peers in the filmmaking community have embraced the film and its message."
Not only has the film left its mark on the 2020 nominee pool, but it has also outranked a fellow film featuring the Joker.
Just over a decade ago, The Dark Knight, which famously featured the late Heath Ledger as the iconic villain, was up for an Oscar in eight categories at the 2009 ceremony. The film ultimately won two, including posthumously for Ledger as Best Supporting Actor.
At the time, it notably was snubbed for Best Picture. However, Joker did not suffer a similar fate on Monday, securing a spot in the category among 1917 and Little Women and marking a significant shift in how comic book movies are being recognized, especially after Black Panther's nomination in the category last year.
But, that's not all. On the heels of Monday's announcement, Joker has officially outranked The Dark Knight as the most Oscar-nominated comic book movie...ever. Not bad for a character who felt unseen.