Joaquin Phoenix won his first Oscar on Sunday for his chilling performance as a distant loner who goes on to become one of the world’s most popular comic book villians in Joker.
His emotional and impassioned acceptance speech mentioned his late brother, River Phoenix who died of a drug overdose in 1993.
Phoenix, 45, took home the best actor Oscar after three prior nominations, and an exceptional awards season that has witnessed him sweep prize after prize for his role in the villain’s origin story.
“I’ve been a scoundrel in my life, I’ve been selfish, I’ve been cruel at times, I’ve been hard to work with. I’m grateful so many of you in this room have given me a second chance,” Phoenix said in accepting his award.
“This form of expression has given me the most extraordinary life,” the actor said in his early remarks. “But the greatest gift that’s been given to me is to use our voice for the voiceless.”
The actor spoke about the fight against injustice, highlighting how everyone has become “disconnected from the natural world.”
Phoenix is the second actor to win an Oscar for playing Joker after Heath Ledger’s win for 2008’s Dark Knight.
With his dark and unsettling nature, Phoenix’s Joker is far different from the comic book adaptations commonly seen onscreen. Editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter, Matthew Belloni, described the character as “among the most chilling characters I have ever seen in film.”
Phoenix is generally known to be an intense actor who tends to inhabit his characters entirely such as his portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk the Line or Jesus Christ in Mary Magdalene.
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At one point, he nearly tricked the world when he said he was giving up on acting to become a rapper for the fake documentary I’m Still Here.
He is an adamant vegan and and a supporter for environmental rights.
Arthur Fleck’s character has won hearts everywhere around the world, bagging the prestigious award for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 92nd Academy Awards.
The ongoing rivalry between Marvel and DC movies is ongoing and will probably last until their production, however, that has not stopped MCU’s Avengers: Endgame director Joe Russo in praising the film’s tragic tale.
“I just saw it recently. Unfortunately I was shooting almost the entire time the movie was out. I loved it. I thought it was a beautiful piece of filmmaking. It was a very tragic, very modern story and really representative of existential isolation and the crisis a lot of people are feeling. The moment in it when he’s on the talk show, where it’s the idea of everyone in the world right now grabbing their megaphones and trying to shout each other down, and he’s reacting against that. It’s certainly a dark movie and a disturbing movie with a very important message to it. We’re ecstatic that it’s being recognized. It broke through the stigma that seems to be against these films, certainly at the Academy.”
It is often debated upon whether comic book films can be counted as cinema, but as critics have pointed out, the film’s nature and the depth of its themes sets it apart from other comic book adaptations.
The Academy lauds the artistic brilliance brought out in each comic book film that gets nominated, and Joaquin Phoenix brilliantly presented Joker in a light unseen before.