This is not a drill. Suicide Squad — a film heavily criticised by critics for its mumbled narrative and questionable direction — has won an Oscar. While Academy Award employees may still be triple checking the envelope to make sure it wasn't another La La Land / Moonlight mess up, the precedent of success was written in the stars thanks to the inclusion of a ultra-evil, face-painted criminal: The Joker.
The addition of the psychotic Clown Prince of Crime in films to date has resulted in a high success rate at the #Oscars. In fact, out of the four feature-length films to include Batman's nemesis, three have been blessed with the ultimate prize — further proof that the Joker is one of the most compelling comic book characters in existence.
- These Are The Moments From The 89th Academy Awards That Had Our Jaws Hitting The Floor
- Oscar-Winning 'Suicide Squad' Makeup Artist: 'You Don't Go Into It Trying To Make Everybody Happy'
- 'Suicide Squad': The DCEU's Worst Heroes Ever Are Nominated For An Oscar, And They Actually Deserve It
'Suicide Squad' Marks An Impressive Oscar Run For The Joker
The only live-action feature adaptation including the character that hasn't been glittered with glory was the campy original live-action adaptation, Batman (1966), featuring Adam West as the Caped Crusader and Cesar Romero as the #Joker. Since then, the golden statue has be attracted to the Joker like a moth to a toxic flame.
23 years after the original, the Joker returned in the 1989 Batman. A film that shared its title with its predecessor, but definitely didn't share much else in terms of tone. Tim Burton drenched Gotham in his unmistakable gothic palette in a somber affair that included Hollywood A-lister Jack Nicholson — who was praised for his role — opposite Michael Keaton. For their skill in creating #Batman's noir infused city, production designers Anton Furst and Peter Young were rewarded with Best Art Direction.
The next Joker-inclusive movie to shine under the bright lights of the Academy is also arguably the best Batman movie of all time: The Dark Knight (2008). Much like the bat-shaped flames that engulf a glitzy skyscraper on the film's poster, Heath Ledger's performance is seared into the memory, and generally considered the finest interpretation of the scatty but ultimately Machiavellian nature of the damaged super-villain.
Tragically, Ledger died before he was awarded for Best Supporting Actor — some speculate his death was affected by his intense immersion in the role, having kept himself in isolation, while also writing journal entries as the Joker. Ledger's win was the second out of eight nominations, with Christopher Nolan's film also winning Best Sound Editing.
Is 'Suicide Squad' Worthy Of Its Oscar Win?
Finally, Jared Leto took on the challenge of filling Ledgers large clown boots, in a film that is arguably least deserving of the top accolade. If the #SuicideSquad plot was a dessert on an adventure themed day out, it'd be a trifle on a rollercoaster — completely messy, unstable but ultimately tasty in small doses.
Leto — despite having a large number of scenes ruthlessly cut from the final edit — still provided an entertaining interpretation. Making it three from three in Joker triumph, Suicide Squad picked up the award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, which in itself you can't begrudge. After all the aesthetics of the film weren't one of the many flaws, and the antihero team did look stylish.
With that kind of success, who's laughing now, critics? Well, the Joker is. Naturally.
Did Leto's performance in Suicide Squad put him on par with Ledger and Nicholson in live-action interpretations?