The Venice Film Festival has been somewhat of a proving ground for films with Oscar hopes over the last few years. Three of the last five Best Picture Winners have premiered at the festival and according to festival director Alberto Barbera, that trend will only continue this year.
While speaking with Deadline, Barbera praised Todd Phillips’ Joker. “I think they made a good choice. The right choice. The film deserves the reception it is getting. It goes beyond the boundaries of the genre. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is outstanding and Todd Phillips did a great job.”
For those unaware, the reception he is talking about is the 8-minute standing ovation the film received after its premiere at the festival. When asked specifically about the film’s Oscar chances, he offered a short, sweet answer. “They’re very good. Absolutely, it will be in the running.”
Barbera was also asked what other films he could see having a big year could awards season. “It’s hard to say. It’s so unpredictable and there’s a long way to go. Joker for sure. Noah Baumbach’s film Marriage Story had a very warm response from the press. I think it’s his best film so far. The performances are pretty amazing and the script is excellent. This could play a role.”
The repeated emphasis on Joker seems telling and the early critical buzz largely reflects Berbera’s sentiments. Even critics who saw the film back at CinemaCon were wowed by it.
Joker hits theaters on October 4th.