'Joker' Ends Awards Season Run with 2 Oscar Wins

The first comic book movie to lead in nominations took home best actor and best original score.

Joker, the comic book movie that was marketed as not truly being a comic book movie, has ended its awards season run with two Oscars

Joker made Oscars history by being the first comic book movie to lead in the nominations. In the end, Joaquin Phoenix, who had been an Oscar favorite since Joker premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August, took home the best actor award, and Hildur Guðnadóttir, who composed the cello-heavy score for Joker before the film was even shot, took home the original score Oscar.

Joker did not win, but was also nominated at the Oscars, for best picture, as well as for director, adapted screenplay, cinematography, costume design, sound editing, sound mixing, film editing, and makeup and hairstyling.

Director Todd Phillips' Joker ends its awards season run as the most acclaimed comic book movie in history in terms of prestigious wins and nominations. Its honors included Phoenix taking home a Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG awards. Composer Guðnadóttir also won Golden Globe and BAFTA awards.

Joker's wins comes one year after Marvel Studios' Black Panther became the first comic book film to earn a best picture nomination, and more than a decade after The Dark Knight saw Heath Ledger win a posthumous supporting actor Oscar for playing The Joker. Dark Knight was snubbed in the best picture category, a move that sparked an outcry that was in part credited with the Academy expanding the best picture race from five to ten nominees the following year. 

Joker has outperformed all expectations since opening in October. The Warner Bros. film starring Phoenix as troubled loner Arthur Fleck earned more than $1 billion, making it the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time.

Phoenix has used his awards season platform to raise awareness about social issues such as climate change and representation, and his Oscars speech was no different. 

"We fear the idea of personal change because we think we have to sacrifice something to give something up," Phoenix said. "Human beings are so inventive and creative… when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles… we can create systems of change for the environment."

The 2020 Oscars aired live on ABC from the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.