Disney is likely to make a big push for Robert Downey Jr. to receive a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Avengers: Endgame, where he could lose to Joaquin Phoenix's performance in Joker. The Oscars are still a good few months away, but with the film festival season underway, it's already time to start the campaigning, with both Disney and Warner Bros. eyeing prizes for their comic book movies.
Avengers: Endgame was the biggest cinematic event of 2019, marking the end of the arc of some of the original Avengers (such as Captain America, Black Widow, and Iron Man) and featuring the biggest battle in superhero films to date. Joker, on the other hand, is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, with Joaquin Phoenix portraying the titular character. Unlike Avengers: Endgame, Joker isn’t part of a cinematic universe, but is already proving to be a force to be reckoned with all by itself, and could easily earn a spot in 2020’s Academy Awards nominations, where it could meet with Tony Stark – and take the Oscar away from Marvel’s hero.
Disney's Oscars campaign will almost certainly include a move to secure a nomination for Robert Downey Jr's role as Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame. While Downey’s performance was powerful and the core of some of the most emotionally charged moments in the film, the Academy is not quite fond of superhero films in general – however, it’s still possible that he could be nominated. It’s a long shot, but stranger things have happened (like, let’s say, Crash winning Best Picture years ago). On the other hand, Joker has a great chance to get Joaquin Phoenix an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Supposing both make it, Phoenix would most likely take the Oscar home, and that would not only be a third loss for Robert Downey Jr., but also a second loss against an actor who played the Joker.
Back in 2009, Downey was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder, and lost to Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, where he famously played the Joker, in what happened to be the same year Downey Jr and Iron Man launched the MCU. Downey’s first Oscar nomination happened in 1993, when he was up for the award for Best Actor thanks to his portrayal of Charles Chaplin in Richard Attenborough’s Chaplin – he lost to Al Pacino for his role as Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. Joaquin Phoenix has been nominated three times: first in 2001 for Gladiator, then in 2006 for Walk the Line, and in 2013 for The Master.
Joaquin Phoenix winning his first Academy Award thanks to Joker, and Robert Downey Jr. losing to another Joker, would be one hell of a storyline – and the Academy loves that. All this, of course, supposing they’re the strongest competitors this year, because the film industry (and mostly the Academy) is full of surprises. It’s just a matter of waiting, patiently, to see if they even get nominated, which feels more like for Phoenix than it does Downey Jr right now.
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019