It's official: Joaquin Phoenix has finally won an Oscar. Phoenix took home the Best Actor prize at the Academy Awards for his work in Joker. This caps off a sweep of awards season for the actor. It also makes him the second actor to win an Oscar for portraying the iconic DC Comics villain, following Heath Ledger for his work in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
Joaquin Phoenix was the heavy favorite to take home the award heading into the evening, but the competition was stiff. Phoenix was competing against Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Adam Driver (Marriage Story) and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). Ultimately, it was Joker that came out on top as the 2020 Oscar winners were announced. Phoenix used the majority of his speech to advocate for animal rights and equality, amongst other things, but he also took time to acknowledge his fellow nominees, as well as some of his shortcomings over the years.
"I have been a scoundrel in my life. I have been selfish. I have been cruel at times. hard to work with, and I am grateful that so many of you in this room have given me a second chance. And I think that's when we're at our best, when we support each other, not when we cancel each other out for past mistakes."
The actor also thanked his late brother, River Phoenix by citing one of his quotes, "He said run to the rescue with love, and peace will follow." Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, led the pack of nominees this year at the Oscars. Warner Bros. took a gamble by making the R-rated DC adaptation, but it's a gamble that paid off in a big way. The movie not only took home a number of awards, but it also grossed more than $1 billion at the global box office. Needless to say, taking home one of the top prizes at the Academy Awards serves as even more icing on an already thoroughly iced cake.
In 2009, the late Heath Ledger took home Best Supporting Actor for his take on the character in The Dark Knight. Ledger's performance is considered amongst the most iconic in comic book movie history and Joaquin Phoenix previously called Leger his favorite actor. Jack Nicholson also played the part in Tim Burton's Batman and Jared Leto portrayed the villain in 2016's Suicide Squad.
Joaquin Phoenix had been nominated three times in the past for his work in Walk the Line, The Master and Gladiator, but had never won. In the end, Joker lost Best Picture to Bong Joon-Ho's Parasite, which ended up having a massive, historic night. Be that as it may, the 2020 Oscar winners cemented the movie as a massive, all-around hit for Warner Bros. and DC Films and earned Phoenix a place in the Hollywood history books.