On Sunday, Joaquin Phoenix won his first Oscar for his eccentric performance as an isolated loner who transforms into one of the world’s best known comic book villains in “Joker,” and called upon his late brother River Phoenix in one of the most heart touching acceptance speeches of the night.
“You get what you fu**ing deserve!”
Phoenix, 45, finally won the best actor Oscar following three prior nominations in Gladiator, Walk the line, and the Master. Crowning an awards season that has seen Phoenix receive every major prize for his role in the sole and standalone origin story of Batman’s most notorious antagonist.
“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 while accepting his award.
“When he was 17, my brother wrote this lyric, he said: Run to the rescue with love and peace will follow,” he said in finishing his speech with tears in his eyes while receiving a standing ovation.
In 1993, River Phoenix died of a drug overdose at a Hollywood night club at age 23.
The actor, who is popular for playing brooding or emotionally traumatized characters, cut more than 50 pounds (22 kg) to play the role of Arthur Fleck, a gaunt and mentally ill clown who discovers fame through a random act of violence in 1980s era New York City.
This Oscar win made Phoenix the second person to receive an Academy Award for playing the famous Joker character. Heath Ledger won a posthumous best-supporting actor Oscar in 2009 for being the Joker in “The Dark Knight.”
One of the most Chilling Characters
Dark and unsettling, Phoenix’s Joker is far removed from the comic book characters traditionally watched on screen. Matthew Belloni, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, last year described it as “among the most chilling characters I have ever seen in film.”
Publicity reluctant and intense, Phoenix has a reputation for completely integrating characters into him. He has played a spectrum of characters from country singer Johnny Cash in “Walk the Line,” to Jesus Christ in “Mary Magdalene” and a susceptible drifter who enters a cult in “The Master.”
In 2010, he almost succeeded in making the world believe that he had given up acting to try to become a rapper in the fake documentary “I’m Still Here.”
A strict advocate for the environment and a vegan, Phoenix was born to missionary parents who traveled through Central and South America before settling in Los Angeles, where he became a child actor.
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