Oscar predictions: Is ‘Joker’ a top contender for Best Picture and Actor? [VIDEO & AUDIO PODCAST]

Joker” opened to record-breaking box office numbers: nearly $100 million domestically despite its gritty tone and R-rating. So how does that impact the film’s Oscar chances, if at all? Gold Derby editors Daniel Montgomery and Susan Wloszczyna track the race and debate whether the supervillain can really win over Oscar voters … again. Watch their discussion above.

“The biggest beneficiary of people seeing it and hearing about it is Joaquin Phoenix,” says Wloszczyna about how the film is trending in our odds. “Right now, among the Experts, he is tied with Adam Driver with 4/1 odds [for Best Actor].” But that doesn’t tell the whole story. While their odds are equal, there are more Experts predicting a Driver nomination (26 to 25) for his role as a man struggling through a divorce in “Marriage Story,” while there are actually more Experts predicting a Phoenix victory (11 to 10).

He has three nominations under his belt already (for “Gladiator,” “Walk the Line” and “The Master”), so the academy may consider Phoenix due for a win. And voters have liked the Joker before: Heath Ledger won posthumously for his transformative performance as Batman’s nemesis in “The Dark Knight” (2008). But is “Joker” too divisive to appeal to the academy en masse?

“It has several reviews at MetaCritic classified as a perfect 100, but it also has several mixed reviews, and several red negative reviews, so it’s all over the spectrum,” Montgomery points out. When was the last time a movie with mixed reviews made tons of money and went on to win Oscars? Well, just last year actually, when “Bohemian Rhapsody” won four times, including Best Actor for Rami Malek. And “the reviews for ‘Joker’ are better on average than they were for ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.'”

What about the Best Picture race? That may be more of an uphill climb for the film. It ranks 11th in our Experts’ odds, but there are nevertheless 14 who currently rank the film among their top 10 likeliest contenders in the top category. As the money keeps rolling in, it’s possible that number could rise. It might not be everybody’s cup of arsenic, but when it comes to competing for Oscars it’s better to inspire passion than indifference.

BELOW: Listen to the audio podcast version of our chat. Or listen at iTunes, Spotify, Libsyn, Google Play or Stitcher where you can subscribe to our channel.

Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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