The 2020 Oscars are in full swing, and actor Joaquin Phoenix just won the best Lead Actor award for his role in Joker, and fans on social media have some thoughts about it.
Phoenix once again gave a memorable speech along with his win, even sharing a lyric that his late brother River Phoenix wrote at 17 in an emotional close to the speech. The rest of the speech was far from a joke, focusing on our own treatment of the planet and the wildlife that co-exists with humanity and some of our most cruel actions.
It did get a lot of folks talking, with both praise and confusion. Luckily praise won out despite some of the more odd language choices.
That was a brave speech straight from Joaquin Phoenix’s heart. Thank you, Joaquin. #TheOscars— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) February 10, 2020
"Thank you [Joaquin Phoenix] for using your [Oscars] spotlight to speak up for animal rights," one fan wrote.
"This was a beautiful moment, and I loved how vulnerable and raw Joaquin Phoenix was in his acceptance speech. More of that cannot be a bad thing in this cynical world," another added.
Contrary to the speech he gave, Phoenix's role was far different than his real life heart and opinion. Joker tells the back-story of one of pop culture's all-time most notorious and most notable villains, the Clown Prince of Crime, and Batman arch-nemesis, Joker. In the film, Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a man suffering from mental and emotional instability, who just wants to make the world laugh.
Eventually, Fleck feels pushed to his breaking point, and resorts to violent outbursts that he perceives as the result of the cruel bullying he'd been subjected to.
Ahead of his Oscar nomination, Phoenix spoke with USA Today about the role, and revealed that his portrayal of the character was forced to evolve over the course of filming the movie.
"When we were prepping for it, I felt very frustrated because I couldn't lock on anything that felt like a foundation for the character," he said. "And at some point, I realized that was the f—ing point. He was unstable.
"It's shaky ground as an actor. I enjoy not knowing precisely what a character may do, but you want to have like a couple moments that you feel solid about. And that never really happened." Phoenix added. "We just became very comfortable with not knowing."
Going on to refer to the iconic shirtless ballet-esque dancing scene in the film, Phoenix explained, "It's really the emergence of Joker. It's that part of Arthur that is coming to the forefront."0comments
He then went on to recall, "I remember the next day saying, 'What the f— did we do yesterday? Is that going to work?' And Todd said, 'I don't know, right? It's like interpretive dance in a Joker movie.'"
Notably, Phoenix won the award for best Lead Actor in a Drama Film at the 2020 Golden Globes. Joker is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD, as well as available to purchase from online streaming services.