Whatever you might think of the DCEU-adjacent drama movie Joker, star Joaquin Phoenix turned in a pretty incredible performance. As the bitter, broken Arthur Fleck, Phoenix enraptured audiences, to the point he managed to nominated for, and win, the Academy Award for Best Actor.
However, Phoenix himself could care less for gold statues, and didn’t mince words when asked about it. “I did not want to get up anywhere and do anything. I was not excited about the opportunity. It’s just not who I am,” he told People. “I was full of fear. I was in that situation and there was a part of me that just wanted to say, ‘Thanks so much, great, goodnight’. But I felt like if I’m up there, I can’t just thank my mom.”
These comments are softer than Phoenix’s previous words on the awards circuit. In 2012, he called it all “bullshit”, and said he never wanted to do it again, after receiving a lot of awards attention for the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.
“I think it’s total, utter bullshit, and I don’t want to be a part of it. I don’t believe in it. It’s a carrot, but it’s the worst-tasting carrot I’ve ever tasted in my whole life,” he told Interview in 2012. “I don’t want this carrot. It’s totally subjective. Pitting people against each other – it’s the stupidest thing in the whole world.”
This was in light of his stunning turn opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman in Paul Thomas Anderson‘s The Master. Phoenix has a penchant for collaborating with some of Hollywood’s finest, to incredible results. Spike Jonze’s Her, Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, Disney movie Brother Bear, if Phoenix is in it, it tends to be good.
Though Joker was conceived as a standalone re-interpretation of Batman’s arch-nemesis, there has been talk of a sequel. Will Phoenix reprise the role, with Todd Philips back as director? Nothing’s official as yet, but if it happens, might be best for Hollywood to keep the plaudits to itself afterwards.