Joaquin Phoenix To Interview Magazine: Awards Season Is “Bullshit”

Even though Joaquin Phoenix turned in a standout performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, looks like we shouldn’t expect him to be a fixture on the rubber chicken circuit. When Phoenix, who was Oscar-nominated for Walk The Line, was asked by Elvis Mitchell in Interview about the prospect of being put out on the awards circuit again, he responded thusly: “…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. 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.”

Well, Joaquin, when your distributor is Harvey Weinstein, and he won the last two Best Picture Oscars, you will probably have to make the rounds no matter how you feel. You can take solace in the fact it can’t be more uncomfortable than Phoenix’s promotional tour for that mockumentary I’m Still Here. And if Phoenix doesn’t alienate Oscar voters — he sounds a little naive and self-conscious — he has a good shot at winning, particularly if he is in the Best Supporting Actor category.

  1. Meet the new “Brando”.
    It’s not that he’s as great an actor as Brando.
    But he’s as big a pain in the ass as Marlon was.

    1. The takeaway from the article is that Casey Affleck pushed him into completely turning off America to him. Phoenix is not 8 and should have had the self-awareness that he wouldn’t fool anyone who half a brain, e.g., the educated public. But it wasn’t Casey who had to deal with being thought of as a complete fool.

    2. The Oscars are bullshit. Anybody in the business knows that. Doesn’t mean everyone in the business doesn’t secretly want one.

  2. Phoenix, don’t worry about it – you don’t stand a chance to win with your over the top and hollow posturing.

    1. captain, thank you. Joanquin Phoenix’s performance is almost unbearable, and annoying. But, the film critics are overrating his performance. That is why I don’t rely on critic reviews.

  3. The forces at be won’t like his comments but i support his statement. Every year we have to accept some pretty unworthy carrots at the oscars.

  4. “he has a good shot at winning, particularly if he is in the Best Supporting Actor category.”

    WTF – he’s the LEAD of the film. It opens with him. It ends with him. He’s got to have about 1/3 more screen time than PSH – so how could he ever be considered supporting in THE MASTER?

    I want a Joaquin vs. DDL (in LINCOLN) standoff in Best Actor this year, seeing Anderson directed DDL to his Oscar… and I want Joaquin to win!!!

  5. zzz zzz zzz

    This is newsworthy why?

    And fyi, this is what I did during THE MASTER much as I did for this interview:

    zzz zzz zzz zzz “Oh look, self indulgence,” zzz zzz zzz

  6. Anyone whose name helps secure financing for a film has the obligation to support it. The Oscars, Golden Globes, Peoples Choice, etc. are advertisements for the industry. Integrity vests in the work itself; asking people to go see it is simple pride.

  7. This is the guy behind I’M NOT HERE. His record of shameless exhibitionism exposes him for the phony he is.

  8. Yes, give this man an Oscar for speaking the truth. Everyone already knows it’s “bullshit” = it’s not breaking news. Sometimes, it’s still fun to guess outcomes but surely everyone knows it’s fixed. At least, he’s honest with having opinions and I thought he would be in the Best Actors category?

  9. Joaquin Phoenix interviewed by Elvis Mitchell. A Blowhard interviewed by a Gasbag. Or is it the other way around?

  10. I love this guy and loved the work he did in The Master and the wacked out human performance art of the I’m Still Here period. He deserves the town’s respect and Harvey willmlook like a joke if he can’t get him in line.

  11. The great iconic Ms. Katharine Hepburn most likely assessed the awards in the same manner…the difference between her & Mr. Phoenix, however, is that she did it w/ a quiet dignity, reserve & respect…he does it w/ his repulsive, vulgar mouth flapping, spewing profanities as if he’s entitled…

    1. No. She did it before the Internet era, when every comment wasn’t painstakingly over analyzed to death.

    2. I agree with Gymrat. Hepburn expressed her opinions with grace and style; so do many actors and actresses working today (Meryl Streep comes to mind). Phoenix is not one of them.

  12. Is there a sentient human being who doesn’t think giving objective, superlative awards for a subjective artform isn’t bullshit?

    I understand the season’s public relations value for an industry selling product, but the notion of one piece of art or performance being objectively better than another is remarkably childish.

    1. Yes, all these imdustry awards (Golden Globes, Emmys, etc) are PR stunts to promote the industry. Everyone with a brain knows this already, its not breaking news, let’s just move on.

  13. It’s pretty obvious that Joaquin’s life has become a struggle against celebrity and forever questioning what people want from him. But at least he’s honest and self-aware about it. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it– that questioning is itself rooted in honesty and integrity. As to whether or not he’s difficult to work with, I can’t say. But I imagine he would be. In his case though, it would be a difficulty I would understand, and there’s a prodigious talent behind it. In fact, part of the brilliance of PTA’s The Master is in harnessing Phoenix’s struggle into the character’s, and building a timeless and meaningful film around it.

    Which is a far cry from Charlie Sheen’s mentally ill narcissism and drug-fueled appetites– something a lot of people seemed all too eager to support. I just hope that if Phoenix still needs any kind of help he gets it– I think the consequences of having his brother die in his arms on the sidewalk outside of the Viper Room, and having seen what became of his young talent at the hands of the Hollywood machine, are still percolating twenty years later and coloring the way he sees the world and how he’s able to trust people– how could it not?

  14. Guy is being honest. It’s an interesting interview, and anyone dumping on him should read it. Very self-effacing, and his insights into I’m Still Here are great. And I say that as someone who thought the whole stunt was ridiculous. The way he talks about how frightened he was doing ISH, along with his admissions that he feels totally nervous every day he is on a set, are refreshing and human and made me respect him a ton. Plus I don’t think anyone who has seen The Master, no matter their thoughts on the movie or the character, will ever forget that performance. So here we have an honest performer who is doing his best to create interesting characters, and some people shit on him because he doesn’t want to go through awards show stuff?

    1. Excellent and thoughtful point. It’s a very refreshing interview. He called bullshit on something that’s bullshit: what’s the problem?

  15. I don’t see the point of nominations if, between buzz and precursors, you already know who’s going to win (for the most part) at the Globes, at SAG and at the Oscars.

    Kudos to Joaquin Pheonix. He was wonderful in “Walk the Line”. That was a tough year in the Best Actor category.

  16. If someone would just clue him in that all awards in showbiz are indeed bullshit, were created as a sales/hype vehicle and remain so, maybe he’d lighten up. It’s just like doing press, part of the gig if you’re in the mix that year. Relax man.

  17. Those comments are obviously going to offend most industry people on a website like this. Kind of funny.

    Joaquin Phoenix speaks truth and I’m Still Here was hysterical.

  18. First of all, his performance in the film stands on its own and shouldn’t require campaigning for people to notice that he delivered a beautiful performance. The guy can act his ass off. And I don’t need an “awards campaign” to tell me that. I saw the movie.

    Secondly, what is so bad about what he said? He doesn’t want to do a monkey dance to get an award? He doesn’t want to be pitted against his peers? He doesn’t think art should be treated like a contest?

    Honestly, I respect his position on it.

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