Joker received 11 Oscar nominations Monday, the most of any film this year, including for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. Todd Phillips’ drama borrows unapologetically from other movies, especially Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver and King of Comedy. One way Joker pays its respects to those two films is by casting their lead, Robert De Niro, as a character who is a clear homage to Jerry Lewis’ character in King of Comedy. But the inspirations don’t stop there.
If you’re obsessed with the craft of moviemaking, you know that making overt references to past films is risky: It can feel like a humble salute to your inspiration, or like a desperate attempt to attach your film, barnacle-like, to better ones. If we go by box office, fans clearly have no objections to Joker‘s approach.
Here’s every Joker Easter egg, homage, and repetition we noticed, from the subtle to the flagrant.
[Spoiler Warning: Please don’t read this unless you’re OK with some mild spoilers about Joker. If we’re approaching a big spoiler, we’ll flag it. Look out.]