The three-time nominee has a strong chance at finally winning, but there are a lot of factors at play, including a strong rival.

Joker was the first big winner of this year's award season, but will it have the last laugh?

Certainly, the Joaquin Phoenix comic-book drama has been confounding industry expectations since its late-August debut at the Venice Film Festival, where it nabbed the Golden Lion, a top prize typically given to prestige films like Roma and The Shape of Water. Critical reaction was more mixed when Joker debuted in theatres this month, but box-office returns have been triumphant:

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