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Todd Phillips Breaks Into Best Director Race, Reacts to Four ‘Joker’ Golden Globe Noms

Phillips managed to break into the Best Director race over presumed Oscar frontrunners like Noah Baumbach.

"Joker"

“Joker”

Warner Bros.

Nearly every awards prognosticator predicted Joaquin Phoenix would land a Golden Globe nomination this morning for “Joker.” After all, Phoenix has been an Oscar favorite for Best Actor since “Joker” debuted at the Venice Film Festival in August. But the Golden Globes’ love for “Joker” hardly stopped at Phoenix. In addition to Phoenix’s Best Actor nomination, “Joker” has also landed bids for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Score. Phillips’ Best Director nomination is the biggest shock considering he beat out presumed Oscar frontrunners like Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”).

“When I first pitched this movie to Warner Bros., I never thought about nominations or grosses,” Phillips told Variety while reacting to the big nomination morning of “Joker.” “I was just thinking how we would push this through to achieve a finished product. As for why audiences were drawn to the film, it was a combination of things: obviously Joaquin and his performance, it was so immersive and he really dove into what he was doing. I used to joke with the DP during the shoot that rather than some massive visual effects, Joaquin was that special effect for us. Before we started shooting, I really knew how invested he was in this role and knew we possibly had something very special ahead of us.”

“Joker” began its awards season run by winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. The movie became the fall’s biggest box office sensation by earning over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. “Joker” stands as the highest-grossing R rated film ever released (unadjusted for inflation) and the most profitable comic book film in history. The Golden Globes recognition for “Joker” arrived after the film earned Critics’ Choice Award nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, and more. Phillips was overlooked for a nomination at the Critics’ Choice Awards.

Next up for “Joker” this awards season will be the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which announce nominations later this week. Phoenix is once again a leading contender for a Best Actor nomination and will most likely be in the running for the Oscar. At the Globes, “Joker” will face off against “Marriage Story,” “The Two Popes,” “The Irishman,” and “1917” for Best Motion Picture — Drama. Phillips’ Best Director competition includes Sam Mendes, Bong Joon Ho, Martin Scorsese, and Quentin Tarantino.

The 2020 Golden Globes take place January 5, 2020.

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