Warner Bros. recently took the first step towards Oscar success by opting to premiere Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix and directed by Todd Phillips, at the Toronto International Film Festival and Venice Film Festival. At the latter event, the film will compete for the coveted Golden Lion award, and at the former festival, Phoenix has already been announced to receive his first award for this gritty, supervillain origin story that looks more than a little Taxi Driver-esque.
Phoenix, of course, is no stranger to awards buzz after three Oscar nominations for Walk the Line, The Master, and Gladiator. With Joker, he’ll appear as Arthur Fleck in a new spin on the Clown Prince of Crime in a story that, as Phillips believes, is likely to make people “mad” for not sticking with the comic books. Notably, this movie will be the first mainstream comic-book movie to play at TIFF, and the Toronto Star reports that Phoenix will be joined by Meryl Streep as a fellow recipient of the inaugural Tribute Actor Award for her role in The Laundromat. Via Variety, TIFF co-head Cameron Bailey commended Phoenix:
“Displaying both raw instinct and consummate technical skill, Joaquin Phoenix is the complete actor, and one of the finest in contemporary cinema. Over three decades, he has brought a piercing truth to each groundbreaking role. TIFF is thrilled to be celebrating an artist of his calibre with this inaugural award. We can’t wait for Festival audiences to experience his electric turn in Joker.”
Joker will premiere in theaters on October 4.