Todd Phillips pushed for his Joker movie to compete at the Venice Film Festival. The artistic director for the fest, Alberto Barbera, has seen the movie and believes it's "going to the Oscars." Phillips is apparently very confident in what he and Joaquin Phoenix have done together with their take on the Clown Prince of Crime's backstory. The director has already warned DC fans that he did not go back to the comics for his story, noting Joker is very much its own thing, which Phoenix has also said from the start.

Alberto Barbera revealed Warner Bros. wasn't going to originally send Joker to Venice to compete. However, Todd Phillips had other ideas and the studio reportedly agreed when Phillips expressed his reasoning. Phillips wants a shot at the Golden Lion award and he may end up getting it. Barbera explains.

"Yes, as usual (Warner Bros.) said they wanted to be in a more protected situation (as with A Star Is Born last year, which launched out of competition). But then (director) Todd Phillips said: 'I don't care if I run the risk of not winning. Why shouldn't I go in competition when I know what we've got on our hands?'"

Joker already has a much different tone than current comic book movies. One can easily see that from the promotional material released thus far. People who have seen the early cuts have nothing but good things to say about it and it appears Todd Phillips was able to achieve his goal. But will it really get into the Academy Awards? Alberto Barbera had this to say.

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"I have to say, Warners was convinced pretty rapidly, because it's a really surprising film. It's the most surprising film we've got this year... This one's going straight to the Oscars even though it's gritty, dark, violent. It has amazing ambition and scope."

Joaquin Phoenix has stayed away from the more conventional roles over the years, so it seemed strange when he was finally announced to be taking the lead role in Joker. With that being said, he isn't taking the normal route here, which makes sense from everything he has said about the movie. From the start, the actor always said it wasn't going to be a traditional comic book movie and called it a "character case study," instead.

Joker executive producer Michael E. Uslan says, "It's maybe more like a Martin Scorsese, low-budget film noir crime drama..." when talking about the upcoming movie. As far as the movie going the distance when awards season comes around. Uslan has nothing but confidence in the team that brought it to life. It's going to be interesting to see how comic book fans react to Joker when it hits theaters this fall and then to see how the rest of the world receives it. The interview with Alberto Barbera was originally conducted by Variety.

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Kevin Burwick