The origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime, whose history is often as fluid as his sanity, is firmly established in Joker. Loosely remaking Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy, director Todd Phillips riffs on the Martin Scorsese classics without revamping them. Star Joaquin Phoenix is contorted and damaged as Batman’s notorious archnemesis, but never approaches Heath Ledger’s brilliant performance in 2008’s The Dark Knight. Joker masquerades as prestige film without revealing emotional, political, or intellectual depth behind its clown-shaped mask.
At the 2018 Oscars, a superhero movie was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor was awarded to a performer for lip-syncing Freddie Mercury songs, and Driving Miss Daisy defied the laws of time and space by winning Best Picture again. If 2019 is as anomalous as 2018, attempting to predict the field is a fool’s errand. In that case, let’s get silly with 25 of the most likely nominees of 2019.