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Joaquin Phoenix Wants no Part of Oscar but Oscar Still Wants a Part of Him

There is a long tradition of the Oscar voters voting for actors even when those actors have poo-poo’d the awards. Why? Because there probably isn’t a single person in the Kodak, either in the audience or on stage who doesn’t think the same thing.  The only people who really think that much of the Oscars are the fans, and the journalists who always start an obit with “Oscar winner so-and-so.” Even Joaquin Phoenix, someday, will acknowledge this. But Sally Field put it best when she won her second Best Actress Oscar (I think she might win a third for Lincoln): “You like me.” That’s really what it is. They like you. And for that one shimmering moment you have some deserved power in Hollywood to do with what you like. Someone just handed you a big check and said, here, go do something with this.  It’s that, and being part of Oscar history.

The Oscars really do mean something for up-and-comers, however. It would mean the difference in the career of, say, Ava DuVernay or Benh Zeitlin, or Ann Dowd, or any struggling artist who has trouble raising money or getting called for parts. Pardon me for saying that Joaquin Phoenix ought to consider himself lucky, first in having an easy entry into showbiz in the first place, and second, for having critics, audiences and Hollywood love his work. Once you evolve past yourself? As in, get over yourself? You can begin to let the love in.

But Phoenix’s heart is in the right place when he says:

“I think it’s bullshit. 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. I don’t want this carrot. It’s totally subjective. Pitting people against each other … It’s the stupidest thing in the whole world.”

And recalling the nightmare of publicity when you have an Oscar favorite and you have to schmooze he wrote:

“It was one of the most uncomfortable periods of my life when ‘Walk the Line’ was going through all the awards stuff and all that.  I never want to have that experience again. I don’t know how to explain it — and it’s not like I’m in this place where I think I’m just above it — but I just don’t ever want to get comfortable with that part of things.”

Does this mean no one will nominate Phoenix? I don’t know. My first reaction was Vanessa Redgrave, Dustin Hoffman, George C. Scott, Woody Allen — none of them liked the Oscars at all, yet they still won. But lately? It does feel like you have to really walk the line, do what Jeff Bridges and Marion Cotillard did to win their Oscars and it ain’t pretty. But when it’s all over maybe you made a few more million for that production. Maybe it means you can be first in line for a really great part. Maybe you don’t have to worry about that because you’ve never had to worry about that. So the answer is, I don’t know.

But I’ll point Phoenix, and anyone else who is lucky enough to have Oscar buzz and therefore has to put him or herself out there for what has to be among the most putrid and soul-crushing activities known to privileged people: When Flight had their on-camera q&a, Denzel Washington was down with the flu. But there was John Goodman acting like John Goodman. He clearly didn’t want to be there and his answers were clipped, occasionally bordering on rude. He was the same way last year when he had to do press for the Artist. But Goodman has been around a long time, long enough to know what it is to have no money to pay your electric bill, long enough to understand that your appearance in the awards race makes a huge difference for all of the actors in the film, and everyone closely involved in the project. No, to Paul Thomas Anderson or Joaquin Phoenix thumbing their nose at awards might be a privilege now. But wait until you’re David Lynch taking a cow to Sunset Blvd. to try to GET awards attention for Inland Empire, a movie that was so difficult for Lynch to make (financially and emotionally, he may never make one again). So I would say to the very talented and very lucky Phoenix: Count your blessings, son. You have no idea when the gravy train will stop.  Like it or not, movies still cost money to make. Publicists bend over backwards FOR YOU. They are there to promote YOUR movie. They aren’t trying to ruin your life.

77 Comments on this Post

  1. “So I would say to the very talented and very lucky Phoenix, count your blessings, son. You have no idea when the gravy train will stop. Like it or not, movies still cost money to make. Publicists bend over backwards FOR YOU. They are there to promote YOUR movie. They aren’t trying to ruin your life.”

    Amen, sister!

  2. Where is Sacheen Littlefeather?

  3. Great post Sasha. I get that doing red carpet things for premiers and awards shows can be annoying but promoting a movie is part of actors’ job. Just like most of us have to dress up and schmooze in some company events. Besides people like nurses and teachers and cops have to put up with much much worse things in their work and don’t get paid millions for it. Sometimes I just can’t take privileged millionaire actors whining about having to dress up for premiers (i.e. Kristen Stewart) or doing promotion (Chris Evans). They always have theatre and tv work if they can’t handle the requirements of Hollywood movie business. There are literally thousands of talented actors who would kill to have those opportunities.

  4. Very good piece.
    Instinctively,of course I respect actors who feel like Phoenix about campaigning. But it has never crossed my mind that the star carries the hopes and fortunes of everyone involved in the film on his/her shoulders. So I guess doing it the Goodman way, with a stiff upper lip, is ultimately the more mature thing.
    And, anyway, I would have respected Phoenix more if he had just kept quiet about his feelings and stayed off the campaign trail, instead of telling the world about his fantastic integrity. “Never complain, never explain”, like.

  5. His attitudes seem to echo those of Marlon Brando in his later years. Ironically, Phoenix’s performance in The Master, is the only performance since Brando that arguably peaked even Brando’s best.

    Joaquin should win. We’ve never seen acting of this level.

  6. I love this bitch, Joaquin has always come across as very intelligent, but also scarysexy and talented. I understand 110% of what he’s saying about the Oscar bullshit, but if Harvey Weinstein has it his way, Joaquin will be nominated, and Joaquin is just going to have to grin and bear it and walk that red carpet… with his fine ass. I love this bitch!

  7. Unlikely hood

    Menyc: she’s around, getting small native American films made. In her own way, she’s proof of what Sasha is saying.

    More and more, the 60s and 70s seem singular, anomalous. Being antiestablishment then was not weird. Generation Hoffman-Nicholson-Pacino-DeNiro never did any tv – no talk shows, no SNL, no oscars. Never.

    Then Hoffman listened to sasha’s argument when he produced Kramer vs Kramer and turned up at the 1980 oscars. Next year, Roberts Redford and deniro showed up for ordinary people and raging bull. Times changed.

    I think Phoenix will get nom’d but a win is looking more and more like an … unlikely hood.
    Then Hoffman

  8. “His attitudes seem to echo those of Marlon Brando in his later years. Ironically, Phoenix’s performance in The Master, is the only performance since Brando that arguably peaked even Brando’s best.

    Joaquin should win. We’ve never seen acting of this level.”

    Who is ‘we’? I can’t help but notice that you write the same thing (i.e Phoenix should win&his performance is the greatest since sliced bread) almost every time you comment. Who are you trying to convince? Academy members?

  9. 1970, A Tale of Two Actresses

    Glenda Jackson, on being nominated for Women in Love:

    “It’s ridiculous when you think how hard I’m working right now, when for so many years nobody even knew I existed. But I don’t want to wake up one morning and find myself stuck in the hermetically sealed showbiz world, which can destroy you.”

    Carrie Snodgress, after her nomination for Diary of a Mad Housewife:

    “The studio warned me not to talk politics, don’t criticize these creeps in the White House [Nixon, Kissinger, Ehrlichman, Haldeman]. If being in this business depends on playing games, I’ll get out of it.”

    Jackson and Snodgress shared the same misgivings. But Glenda Jackson found a way to reconcile her conflicted feelings and embraced the Oscar process as another stress of the job.

    Both women had careers after 1970. But only one of them is a two-time Oscar winner.

    Glenda Jackson said this about the Oscars:

    “It’s like being pregnant with a child someone else might get to hold and take home, for all your labor pains.”

    Glenda got a phone call from Bette Davis and telegram from Joan Crawford the night she won her first Oscar.

    [quotes pulled from Damian Bona's Inside Oscar, a treasure trove of Academy lore.]

  10. His attitude is exactly aligned with what mine would likely be were I in his position. And I expect he’ll be first in line for plenty of parts now, after the acclaim for his performance in The Master, whether the Academy chooses to nominate or shun him.

    long enough to know what it is to have no money to pay your electric bill

    I don’t buy this. Actors get paid generous wages, in some cases extremely generous, for generally little and easy work. Those who get into financial bother have often just been irresponsible with the money they’ve been given. There are so many people who work hard jobs for long hours and little pay and yet keep up with their bills.

  11. BOriginal

    It’s all just a game. I am only greatful to have witnessed Phoenix incredible performance.

  12. It’ll be great to see them nominate both Maggie Smith and Joaquin Phoenix.

    And to realize that on Oscar night they’re not there :P

    I love the way Maggie has received a plethora of awards throughout her career and has barely attended any of the shows.
    It’s great.
    I love that.
    She’s never been out of work.
    She’s a two-time Oscar winner.
    She’s fucking 77 years old and they continue to throw awards her way.

    By the way what exactly did Jeff Bridges and Marion Cotillard do?
    I didn’t get that.
    It terms of ugly Oscar wins, don’t Kate Winslet and Sandra Bullock come first? Like… way way first?
    Man, I still can’t get over Winslet’s speeches and interviews that year. She’s a big actress but I swear that was disgraceful.

  13. himynameiscole

    phoenix is the man. this makes me want him to win more.

  14. Who are you trying to convince?

    helios, Who are you trying to discourage? If you’re trying to urge us to be less enthusiastic about the movies and filmmakers we care about, you can stop wasting your time.

    The past couple of days, I can’t help but notice you’ve been repeatedly talking about a 3rd Oscar for Daniel Day-Lewis.

    Nobody is pestering you to ask “who are you trying to convince?” — but I can start. So you’ll know how it feels, ok?

  15. Can’t fault Phoenix for voicing his feelings about the whole gristmill. He’s paid to act in the film. He’s obviously not comfortable doing publicity. He went thru publicity hell when his brother OD’d. Plus he’s lost twice.

    If I were him, I’d probably say the same thing – vote for him or don’t vote for him – it doesn’t change a damn thing. The list of “should’ve wons” is a hell of a lot longer than the list of “they got it rights”.

  16. Sometimes there are nominees that lose that the viewer feels for intensely.

    When Don Cheadle lost, the shock on his face that reached that innocent part of his soul that had believed his peers would reward years of hard work and talent.

    Robert Duvall’s barely contained fury when he lost for The Apostle, one of the best performances by anybody for years.

    And Joaquin Phoenix’s dog-kicked-in-the-face hurt and shock at losing for Walk The Line. I believe that the poor guy just can’t take that again. He’s too vulnerable, too open to being swayed by other people he trusts (I’m talking about you, Casey Affleck).

    I don’t think Phoenix thinks he’s too good for it, I think he just understands it would overwhelm him, and is inarticulate about it.

  17. [deleted for being an asshole]

  18. Jean: And the Oscar goes to…Joaquin Phoenix
    (applause)

    Jean:Joaquin Phoenix

    Jean: Joaquin ?

    Joaquin: I’m not here

  19. Glenn UK

    Well its good to see that he is still acting like a big shiney knobhead! Never liked the guy no matter how good he is. Life is a competition at every turn – get over yourself Phoenix! I’m hoping for a backlash. There will be equally deserving nominees – give it to the grateful I say! And if he turns up, wins and accepts then he will be such a hypocrite. DDL or Jackman for me! Take a leaf out of Maggie’s book, keep your mouth shut and don’t turn up. He would get far more respect than the shit he is spouting!

  20. Sean Penn before 2003, anyone???

  21. Mohammed

    Everybody is entitled to their opinion and Phoenix should answer a question truthfully when asked. There are too many who play the game and it’s refreshing to see someone who doesn’t want to and isn’t afraid to say it. Besides, upon hearing the questions actors are asked while doing press for the movies are sometimes so lame that you realy feel embarassed for those asking. The reason is that there are too many who only care about the glitz mascarading as film experts, and since they have no idea about what to ask about film and the filmmaking process they ask questions like ; ” How did this role change you as a person ?” ( someone asked this question to one of the cast members in Argo). No wonder Phoenix hates the game.

  22. Once a prick, always a prick.

    Grant this prima donna diva his wish, and while AMPAS is at it, kick the film for which he’s a part of to the curb as well.

  23. Koleś, please relax

    He’s been kicking around for a while now, usually turning in impressive work. He’s taken his confused teen in To Die For and amplified it to 11 in The Master and has delivered the best performance of the year thus far by any actor. Phoenix didn’t come out of nowhere — he’s paid his dues and has managed to forge his own success out from underneath the shadow of his late brother River. If The Master has any Oscar clout walking in the door it’s Phoenix.
    — Sasha Stone, 2 weeks ago

  24. Sasha Stone

    Bullshit, Koles. Of all of the stupid things commenters have said to me over the years (along with really great things too) that has to be the dumbest. At this point, I don’t WANT anyone to win. I think Daniel Day-Lewis WILL win. He deserves to win. But no one was a bigger champion of Joaquin Phoenix than I was. Another post like that will not get posted. Just giving you fair warning. Actually, I think I will just delete your comment.

  25. I do hope that if Phoenix gets nominated this year, and whenever he does his little “campaigning” whether at will or not, that some Oscarologist will have the balls to ask him why then indeed is he running around doing such things and licking that bitter carrot again.

    And I do hope, sincerely, that he wins for that excellent performance in “The Master.”

  26. Anyone who talks like Joaquin Phoenix is full of crap as far as I’m concerned. He’s doing nothing but promoting himself and the cool image he wants to project to the public, but secretly, like everyone else in Hollywood, he’s lusting after the attention and the pay increase an Oscar on his mantle would provide. Go back and look at Joaquin in the audience at the Academy Awards both times he was nominated. Looks fine to me, smiles at the right time, is happy for the person who gracefully accepts the award. I work hard at what I do and have been complimented over the years and been granted television and magazine exposure but I’ve never received an award, not even been nominated for one because in my field there just isn’t that type of acknowledgement. I don’t make anywhere near the money Joaquin makes, but I love what I do and I would LOVE to be noticed for doing exceptional work. How many of us DON’T feel that way? The arrogance of people like the overpaid Phoenix is nothing more than a smokescreen, because, let’s face it, we ALL like to be acknowledged and rewarded. It’s human nature.

  27. great post Sasha….. you mention Bridges and Cotilliard as examples of actors who worked hard for the prize. Are there any that don’t campaign at all nd still get nominated and win? Of course I read about Monique a few years…Smith & Penn were mentioned in the comments….. any others?

  28. “When Don Cheadle lost, the shock on his face that reached that innocent part of his soul that had believed his peers would reward years of hard work and talent.”

    If that’s the case, Cheadle was a damn fool for believing he would trump Jamie Foxx. Please.

  29. I’m sure he will get nominated, his performance was insanely good. I am rooting for him to win but I have not seen Lincoln so who knows. Still since DDL has 2 already I will probably still pick Phoenix. I’m a girl who likes to go down with the ship on Oscar picks!

  30. “helios, Who are you trying to discourage? If you’re trying to urge us to be less enthusiastic about the movies and filmmakers we care about, you can stop wasting your time.

    The past couple of days, I can’t help but notice you’ve been repeatedly talking about a 3rd Oscar for Daniel Day-Lewis.

    Nobody is pestering you to ask “who are you trying to convince?” — but I can start. So you’ll know how it feels, ok?”

    Phoenix is an actor, not a movie or filmmaker and this guy keeps saying he should win, he’s the greatest etc. and honestly it’s a bit annoying when you see the same comment over and over again by the same person. This is more fanaticism than genuine enthusiasm about films.

    It’s true I talk about DDL but perhaps you should notice better because it’s mostly about how he can’t/shouldn’t win a 3rd Oscar when there are numerous oscar-less actors who also deserve to win, like Phoenix.

  31. Sasha Stone

    Phoenix is an actor, not a movie or filmmaker and this guy keeps saying he should win

    Who’s “this guy”?

  32. The best performances of the year almost ever are snubbed by Academy members.

    JEREMY IRONS / DEAD RINGERS
    JOHNNY DEPP / EDWARD SCISSORHANDS
    RIVER PHOENIX / MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO
    HARVEY KEITEL / BAD LIEUTENANT
    EWAN MCGREGOR / TRAINSPOTTING
    RUSSELL CROWE / L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
    JEFF BRIDGES / THE BIG LEBOWSKI
    BRAD PITT / FIGHT CLUB
    CHRISTIAN BALE / AMERICAN PSYCHO
    GENE HACKMAN / THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS
    EDWARD NORTON / 25TH HOUR
    PAUL GIAMATTI / SIDEWAYS
    LIAM NEESON / KINSEY
    JEFF DANIELS / THE SQUID AND THE WHALE
    LEONARDO DICAPRIO / THE DEPARTED
    EMILE HIRSCH / INTO THE WILD
    COLIN FARRELL / IN BRUGES
    NICOLAS CAGE / BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS
    RYAN GOSLING / BLUE VALENTINE
    MICHAEL FASSBENDER / SHAME

  33. “Who’s “this guy”?”

    VVS.

  34. Sasha Stone

    Are there any that don’t campaign at all nd still get nominated and win?

    Well Mo’nique is the only one I can think of and indeed, if Phoenix wins everything like she did he could still win without any publicity. He doesn’t seem to want to win, though, so that’s fine. I was just making the point that there might come a day when he regrets it. Maybe that day will never come – maybe he’ll get by on a whole career without film awards, many great directors have. People who know me well know what I think about the awards race – but the one good thing about it is that it can change a career. It just irks me a little to hear someone talk this way when they’ve had things handed to them so easily. But in recent history, I’m thinking Sean Penn DID have to do a lot of PR to win for Mystic River and later for Milk but by that time he’d gotten over himself and didn’t care too much. Some people get to a point where they realize if they want the good parts, if they want to work they have to eat shit like everyone else. Or not. Or get a cow and sit on Sunset with it in hopes people recognize a great performance without the PR.

  35. Joao Mattos

    Comment

  36. I will definitely see Lincoln when it comes out, and I’m sure DDL will be in prime form and appropriately receive an Oscar nomination. But I’m going back to watch The Master again to understand the film better to upgrade my previous 7.5/10 grade to something higher as I feel it will be justified on the second viewing. But mostly, I’m anxious to see Joaquin again, he was completely mesmerizing. After all the stuff this kid has been through, 30 years in the business, he should have won for ‘Walk the Line’, I hope he’s nominated and wins for The Master. I love and respect DDL, but he ain’t God, he’s just a mere human being with exceptional talent, luck in finding the perfect role. But his Lincoln film is his most Oscar baity role if there ever was.

  37. He is entitled to his opinion just like everybody else, my problem with his statement, that he is the lead of a film that is great enough to receive nominations for talented, hardworking collaborators at the top of their game (PTA, PSH, Amy Adams etc.) who COULD appreciate the awards, and considering it is a controversial, not necessarily Oscar-friendly film, now he gave an excellent ‘out’ to the Academy in case they needed a proper one to ignore it. Now they can just say, ‘Oh, why would we vote for this film, when its lead thinks we are worthless ?’

    OT: Sashy, Ryan there hasn’t been much word about two remarkably NOT Oscary-films, that have been gaining some traction lately. Apparently last year’s hauntingly unforgettable ‘Kevin’, Ezra Miller steals the show in ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ which got good reviews (86 on RT, 67 on MC) and seems cult-bound (8.5 on IMDB), meanwhile ‘Pitch Perfect’ got decent reviews (77 RT, 65 MC), and is doing decent business BUT its breakout star, Rebel Wilson received raves and seem to have a lot of momentum. Do you think these two could be viable contenders in the supporting races OR they simply don’t have the kind of buzz ?

  38. helios, first, it doesn’t matter to me whether you’re saying DDL should win or shouldn’t win. All I’m saying is you’re free to express your feelings without having anyone jump on you demanding to know, “Who are you trying to convince, helios?” So please afford us the same consideration, ok?

    second, actors are filmmakers. The way you can spot a filmmaker is by seeing if they make films.

  39. Well, campaigning is always crucial. In 2008 Marion Cotillard WAS everywhere. She knew she had to be everywhere and in the end she won. And this was a win that doesn’t happen often. Cotillard’s film was in French and got mixed reviews. The front-runner was Julie Christie and Christie won everything. She won all the major awards except for the BAFTA and the LAFCA. She won the NYFCC, the NBR, the NSFC, the Critics’ Choice, then took home the Golden Globe and the SAG Award. Nobody with such enormous support has ever lost on Oscar night. In 2002 Crowe didn’t have the critics on his side (they favored Washington and Wilkinson). Eddie Murphy didn’t have the critics either. And unlike Crowe and Murphy Christie is a beloved actor and an actor with a great career. So yes, in Cotillard’s case great campaigning helped.

    But sometimes campaigning could be a turn off. I don’t want the Viola Meryl thing coming up again, but to me Viola ruined her own Oscar chances by overcampaigning. The minute Sandra Bullock became the front-runner in 2010 she knew that she had to make things a bit quieter. After the SAG Awards she told journalists that the fake feud with Meryl had to stop because it was old news. She knew that it would put her too much out there and she didn’t need it. And Viola – and I believe she believed in it and that’s why she did it – gave thousands of interviews. She was everywhere – and I mean absolutely everywhere – and she told the story of her life and the battle against all odds to do what she wanted to do and in the end the blacklash was inevitable. Octavia Spencer didn’t campaign half as much as Davis. The two did an interview together – probably they did a few – and Davis really wanted to say lots of things. It’s a great thing but it’s not the way you campaign for an Oscar.

    Kate Winslet wanted it badly in 2009, but her campaign wasn’t as manipulative and political as Halle Berry’s. I was a child and I remember thinking what a hypocritical campaign it was. Berry gave interviews and repeated: No, I won’t win! They wouldn’t allow that to happen. And then she somehow decided she should be the one speaking for every nameless, faceless black woman out there. It was hypocritical and it was sad that a mediocre one like Berry was the one to make history.

    But with campaigning, NOTHING and I mean NOTHING can beat Melissa Leo. Remember CONSIDER?

  40. @Helios, I don’t see exactly how one can think a topic dedicated to Phoenix, or the Best Actor race at he Oscars this year wouldnt warrant any comments about Phoenix

    If you got a problem with me saying Phoenix achieved unprecedented level of brilliance with his acting, chalk it up to difference of opinion.

    I stand behind my claim. He was everything I said he was. But if you disagree you can find comfort in the fact that prior to it being acceptable to hail Marlon Brando as the greatest, many people had reacted to those claims the very same way as you may be doing right now.

    Joaquin broke the ceiling with his acting in The Master. I’m anxiously waiting to see his work in Nightingale for confirmation that it wasn’t just a lucky one shot.

  41. And of course people are turning against Phoenix now. And what does he say? What everybody else is saying. He says that he doesn’t consider himself above it!!! He says it. What he doesn’t like, what makes him nervous is the whole idea of putting people against each other. Meryl said that. Even Clooney said it. But they said it more subtly. Phoenix said it in a straightforward manner and people start criticizing his ego! The guy said he hated the process. And who in his right mind wouldn’t!

  42. Tory Smith

    As an actor in hopes of breaking into the film business with an extensive training in theatre and the love for acting contained within myself I feel I have such a response to make. I obviously have no idea what the actors go through in terms of “The Oscar Campaign.” However, I’m with Viola Davis, when she spoke about going through the campaign for The Help, when she said she “found her voice.” It’s all about perspective. It could possibly be a once in a lifetime moment, and if my job was to travel the world and discuss the film I help create, count me in. What a journey! And through all the many mindless interviews, Viola found her voice. One could use it to really delve deeply into the thoughts and perspectives through the various questions asked. An amateur actor like myself, searches for these interviews to get a personal view from the actor. For example, I learn SO MUCH from the Hollywood Reporter interviews during award seasons. They are incredibly insightful, and have helped me to steer my career in a very positive way. What is such a shame is the fact that I’ve been trying to search for interviews of Phoenix so I can learn from his great work in The Master, a performance that has had a huge influence on me this year. I have no insight into what he did in that movie besides what I saw. Actors who are on this level have a special responsibility if they care to act on it. Doesn’t seem Phoenix is seeing the bigger picture. And regardless of what he thinks about the Academy and the game, because as Meryl Streep has pointed out “there is no such thing as ‘best'”, it’s still a chance to get that film to a wider audience. You never know who is tuning in to the Oscars or what have you, which may influence an interest in a young and questioning person from the Mid-west where they don’t show quality films or delve into that subject matter, and seeing that film on that particular telecast will set a spark for change in their lives.

  43. well there goes his chances cuz disrespecting your peers is not going to putt u in their good books and i think the oscars show respect to the actors, directors and other academy members show their peers and by saying those things you just disrespected all the actors who have been rewarded for their efforts.

  44. rufussondheim

    Completely off topic, but I think the following article written by one of the six hostages will be enjoyed by those who enjoyed the film.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2012/10/argo_hostage_story_mark_lijek_s_true_account_of_fleeing_iran.html

  45. LOL. Zooey is on a tear.

    Interesting that Phoenix was a player in extremely baity (therefore ultra-competitive) years for his category (2005, 2012). The stakes are so much higher.

    That being said, while the actor is entitled to his opinion, just because the discussion is about his performance in relation to the Oscar race, because he’s part of the film in question, there is more riding on it than just his feelings. It’s not just about him. It’s about everyone who worked on the film. While I respect him for believing that you can’t rate one person above another in artistic endeavors, he chooses (and famously so, for having “reentered” his profession after early “retirement”) to be in a profession where he risks the limelight by working with acclaimed filmmakers who gain attention for their work. If it bothers him so much, why doesn’t he dedicate his life to small off-off-off-Broadway productions, where he can throw himself into rolls and the press won’t notice?

    He sounds conflicted. I suppose he’ll be happy if the AMPAS chooses for him to not be part of the Oscar race. Really, he can either be gracious for people admiring his work and play the stupid game, or ignore what he is supposed to do and/or just withdraw his name from consideration and be done with it. There’s no use in dragging him kicking and screaming to the podium.

    That being said, he was amazing in The Master. And, regardless of how good DDL will be, THREE leading Oscars for ONE person just seems OTT to me, especially with a win only five years ago. Spread the wealth, man.

  46. I still have respect for this guy, but give me a break! Your gonna complain about getting honored and awarded? Millions of people would love to be in that position. He needs to learn to appreciate. Although the Awards season does seem like an annoyin overlong political game at times.

  47. Despite his protestations, Phoenix WILL be nominated, but because of them, he WILL NOT win. His comments just made it much easier for academy voters to quickly move on to someone else in his category. The actor’s branch will nominate him, but the entire academy will not vote for him. The fact is Phoenix doesn’t have “the sentiment on his side.”

  48. He can just pull a Marlon Brando and send a Native American chick up there for an awkward acceptance speech. At least that’ll be good for a laugh.

  49. Phoenix is a solid actor, but I’m sick of the guy who keeps posting that he is the second coming of Marlon Brando. Instead of being the second Brando, let him be the first Phoenix.

  50. Vince, once again, we think alike :)

  51. Terometer

    There is nothing wrong about Phoenix’s reactions. But there is certainly something wrong with people writting articles analyzing his reactions. They are the ones who really care and get lost in it.

  52. Millions of people would love to be in that position. He needs to learn to appreciate.

    Millions of people love tomato ketchup. I hate tomato ketchup.

    Maybe he sees the Academy as the out-of-touch, culturally rather irrelevant institution that it is, with its self-importance and dreadful taste in movies. Maybe he doesn’t feel he deserves the praise. Maybe he doesn’t approve of how the Oscar race seems to colour almost every aspect of the careers of many of his peers – they’re either specifically looking for an Oscar with each respective performance or not. Maybe he doesn’t think of his profession as a competition, in which first prize is an Oscar and, if you never win one, you haven’t fulfilled your job requirements.

    I don’t believe that Joaquin Phoenix doesn’t want the attention, but I know, were I in his position, that I would do my best to deflect all attention away from myself, Oscar buzz or not. I just don’t like attention.

  53. ChrisFlick

    Well they can always campaign his co-star PSH in the lead category, where he belongs anyway. Get away from the absurd notion that his is a featured performance.

  54. Andrew S

    Agreed, Sasha. I think that Joaquin is a real artist and he’s lamenting the process of being a movie star and/or the responsibilities of being the lead in a major film, but c’mon. This, on the same day that Sharon Waxman disses Megan Ellison for over-financing films like The Master – Joaquin should be so thankful that he got to be a part of this film. It’s so rare that films with integrity get made in the first place, especially ones with budgets at $40 million. Article below from The Wrap:
    http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/megan-ellison-and-hollywood-or-when-billionaire-run-movie-business-61041

  55. TEROMETER makes a short backhanded comment against Sasha and ends up slapping him/herself on the head in the same stroke. Nice.

    PHANTOM > ;) Sorry, I read your comment preceding mine AFTER I posted and you basically said the same thing!

    And, of course, whenever I see PADDY M’s name now, I can’t resist asking, “Now, just how is Pitch Perfect’s success NOT impressive?” :O

    P.S. Love the new edit feature AD (even if it’s for a limited time only [5 minutes] LOL … get your edits in while you can!)

  56. Tero Heikkinen

    “Millions of people love tomato ketchup. I hate tomato ketchup.”

    I hate it, too. I absolutely hate it.

    Phoenix could’ve just been quiet, not campaign and not show up at the Oscars. Nobody is forcing him to do these things. He can have a contract that says he will do zero interviews for the film and that’s fine.

    But when you start torpedoing a product that cost tens of millions to make, that’s just not right. He already did that with his previous film, so I guess PTA was more than aware of this possibility. Paul obviously wants an Oscar, so don’t deny The Master because of its leading actor. Nominate Phoenix (cause he seems to be one of the best this year), let him win if you think he was the best.

    In public profession, it’s not up to you if the audience likes you or doesn’t like you.

    —–

    (this is not a prediction)

    ACTOR: DDL or Denzel
    ACTRESS: Smith
    S. ACTOR: De Niro
    S. ACTRESS: Field

    Add Spielberg for Directing and all can start chasing #4. Well, he has 3 already, but two for Directing as we all know. There are probably a few more two-time winners among the possible nominees.

  57. Vince Smetana

    Haha:) I’ve already forgotten about that, but yeah, I ask the same thing.

  58. Tero Heikkinen

    We may be exaggerating this a little.

    A friend of mine interviewed Phoenix earlier today and asked about this. He replied (and it’s not word for word because I translated this from Finnish – so, English-Finnish-English): “Oh, did I say it like that? I can’t remember. But, yeah, I don’t feel myself comfortable in a big gala event. For some other people it suits just fine”.

    I gather that he would attend, like he has attended before. Or maybe PR machinery got to him very fast.

    Made me think of that interviewing scene in The Master.

  59. MovieFan

    I agree with the guy above who said stop comparing Phoenix to Brando. I think Phoenix’s Master performance is quite overpraised actually, very mannered. Its the type of showy performances that will win critics awards and possibly the Oscar. I was watching Gene Hackman in The Conversation the other day, now that is a great performance, so subtle yet multi layered the kind of effortless acting that people take for granted.

    And George C. Scott’s statement towards the Oscars was actually politly written not the ‘meat parade’ comment but the fact that he meant no disrespect to his colleagues and even requested his name be ommited from the nomination list.

  60. i think Joaquin is saying this because he’s so sick and tired of his co-stars always winning whenever he’s also nominated. this year, PSH is in the running again and i think he knows that PSH has a very good chance of winning again.

    poor joaquin..haha

  61. This is all for show anyway, we know Franco’s got it in the bag for Spring Breakers.

  62. Irrespective of his personal views, Joaquin will be nominated and may just win (like George C. Scott and Brando).

  63. @ Mattoc:

    It’s actually Meryl Streep who will present Best Actor.

    And puhlease, I don’t think his comments about Oscar will keep him from winning, his performance in “The Master” is acting at its best! Plus he has paid his dues, he should’ve won for “Walk the line”….

  64. There is just something profoundly douchey about Phoenix. I couldn’t stand his performance/character in The Master and hope he loses. He can then take that angst and make another douchey performance art movie. Ugh, get a real job.

  65. BUT, and this ia big BUT!

    THIS is one of the most competitive years in the Best Actor category EVAH! And so, when faced with option of somebody who WANTS it…well,they’ll nominate him.

    Up agsinst DDL and Denzel and John Hawkes and Sir ANthony Hopkins and Hugh Jackman and Bradley Cooper ~ Puh-leeze! If he keeps this up, he’ll be lucky to be even nominated.

    PLUS the film is tanking at the B.O. and is seen by all and sundry to be divisive.

    Anne THompson went on about DENZEL’s tardiness to the Press Conference, etc. at the NYFF for “Flight” and wondering if that hurt HIM.This was on her podcast this morning with Kris Tapley called “Oscar Talk.” And Anne is so reserved and even-handed, this surprised me. The was before Carrot-gate broke.

    And Mo’nique had NO SERIOUS competition the year she won in what they consider a lesser category. So she could play it any way she wanted and she kept winning EVERYTHING, so she knew she didn’t NEED to do the early rounds of the press cirucit.

    And then there’s Harvey. I can’t BELIEVE he let this interview out of his Pandora’s Oscar box. Means to me that he’s just thrown up his hands.

    And will concentrate on Bradley Cooper. Which is happening as we speak.

  66. MovieFan

    What is this revisionist history with Phoenix deserved to win for Walk the Line? The race was between Hoffman and Ledger, and both of their performances were far superior to Phoenix’s in WTL

  67. So glad the Oscar is presented as intended – “best performance by an actor” – no other factors considered.

    Right. It’s about as pure as a political campaign, which is why none, as in zero, of the acting oscars went to the best performances last year, some of whom didn’t make the nominations list.

    “he was late to a press conference, “he’s a douche,” “he said something nasty about the academy,” “Her politics are wrong,” “but she’s so cute,” “he should have kept his pants on,” and so on.

    Mo’nique played it right. Turn your back on it. If you’re called, you’re called.

  68. So I take it to mean that he no longer wants us to watch his movies then either. I’ll have to remember that. :)

    So now who do I root for? lol

  69. eclipse22

    honestly him saying this is totally in character with who he is
    i hope the voters remember they’re voting for a performance and not said actor personal views to which he’s entitled!

    it does make me wonder how some people come to be actors ,they love acting but not the glitter showmanship around it and is that so wrong? when you think of it when you’re acting in films its on a close set environment ,the public only see their performance on the screen so there’s a distance.

    phoenix is a very sensitive person i can totally believe that his previous experiences have coloured his views on the whole process and that he dislikes it but i highly doubt it means he’s unaware that the film affects others and that he’s only one person in a group effort!

    next hopeful film i’m seeing is Argo! i can only hope i get to see more oscar potential films this year compare to last year, it sucks to be on an island sometimes although the weather is gorgeous

  70. Rodrigo de Oliveira

    Sasha,

    I just think you read the whole thing wrong.

    First of all: there’s the interview. Phoenix’s doing press, he’s championing the movie, he’s getting out there to spread the word. Even more: he’s really opened about the whole thing, the process of making it, the reasons why people should go see it, the basis of his acting… he’s even going at lenght to talk about “I’m Still Here” (which people are probably more interested in hearing about than “The Master” – and Phoenix doesn’t go all ‘ok, let’s talk about my current work now’, he answers it openly and honestly).The important part of the equation (getting people to see the film) is being done by him, the best and most truthful way he can.

    I just think you last statements are really naif. The idea that publicists and the studio machine work FOR the actor is a very strange concept. There’s no charity work, no one is there just to help the career of a particular actor. They’re trying to make their money back, and the idea that a publicist works anyone other than the studio and the corporations is just not true.

    Phoenix wants to promote the movie. He does not want to promote himself. He does not want to appear in galas of obscure critics awards, he does not want to have dinner with creepy HFPA fellas for the sake of a nom, or have some lame blogger calling him to talk about the Letterman appearence or his dead brother (and you know that for every Awards Daily there’s a dozen awful blogs, and publicists try to create buzz wherever).

    But, as Monique said, “the performance is done”. And she won an Oscar, despite not wanting to campaing for it. Phoenix did his best for the film, with his acting. And now his doing the best for the film’s career, with these interviews. Why should we give him the “you should appreciate more!” speech that Jeff Wells so awfully wrong did to Monique a few years ago?

    Phoenix has a Spike Jonze film in the works, and another James Gray gig. He has 2 Academy-Award nominations already. His career is just fine. And his dignity and his craft is all he’s got. He should decide how to use it, not us.

  71. Tero Heikkinen

    “….he does not want to have dinner with creepy HFPA fellas for the sake of a nom.”

    Not for the sake of a nom, I assume… but he was just interviewed by HFPA people. Yesterday… by those guys. And I wouldn’t be surprised if dinner was served as well.

  72. unlikely hood

    Could be we’re taking this little blip a little too seriously. I doubt many voters remember him on Letterman, and they probably won’t be aware of this either. But even if some of them do, he’s obviously turned his career around before. He’s risen from the ashes sorta like a…a…what’s that bird?

  73. Jade Fox

    Comment

    Lovely. The whole “You should be grateful” argument. Why do people get so upset when actors don’t constantly genuflect at the feet of the industry? I mean people bitch when actors give canned PR approved responses and then they bitch when the actor/actress decide to give their true feelings on a subject. Me? I rather hear how an actor/actress really feel about the industry. It’s not like the industry doesn’t have any flaws.

    And as Entertainment Weekly pointed out, there are times when an actor can be hurt if they want it TOO much. I think this is what has happened with Leonardo DiCaprio so far who’s the same age as Joaquin. Hell the Oscar bait movie has become it’s own genre. So many movies that are obviously created to court madam Oscar but we tend to forget them because so many of them are quite bad.

    In an ideal world the performance would speak for itself. And maybe if more actors like Phoenix gave their honest opinions(and I love what he recently said about racism in Hollywood) there might be more meaningful discussions about Hollywood’s numerous flaws.

  74. Phoenix – I saw TWC’s The Master and I was more impressed by PSHoffman. If they place both of you in Lead, both of you will go home empty-handed.
    Well, is it too late to nominate him for a Razzie Award for I’m Not There?

  75. @MovieFan

    No way is the Gene Hackman performance more difficult….as an actor, it’s a lot more difficult to actually be active with your body and physicality, and still radiate the intense emotional life that Phoenix did, as opposed to be still like Hackman and radiate all those impressions/emotions

    Like I said, go back to Brando, watch his work, and then watch The Master…it’s the next level. Phoenix has never acted like this before, he wasnt close to being this brilliant in any of his past work

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