Joaquin Phoenix Wins the Best Actor Oscar For ‘Joker’
This is not a joke: Joaquin Phoenix is now an Oscar winner.
Phoenix won the 2020 Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Joker as Arthur Fleck, a frustrated clown who slowly loses his tenuous grip on his sanity. Phoenix was an Oscar favorite throughout awards season this year despite intense competition from Antonio Banderas in Pain & Glory, Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Adam Driver in Marriage Story, and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes.
This is Phoenix’s first Oscar following three previous nominations. His first came for his supporting role in Gladiator way back in 2000. He’s previously been nominated for Best Actor for his turn as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and as the deeply troubled Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master. I’m not sure I’d rank Phoenix’s work in Joker ahead of any of those movies (or even ahead of something like You Were Never Really Here, which wasn’t even nominated) but he is absolutely one of our best working actors and have been for decades. If he’s not worthy of an Oscar, who is?
Phoenix is the second man to win an Oscar for playing the Joker; Heath Ledger received the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for his work in The Dark Knight. (Sorry, Jared Leto.) You can find the rest of this year’s Academy Award winners here.
Gallery — Every Oscar Best Picture Winner Through History: