Joaquin Phoenix Wins Best Actor Oscar For Joker

by : Cameron Frew on :
Joaquin Phoenix JokerWarner Bros.

Who’s laughing now? Joaquin Phoenix has won Best Actor at the Oscars for Joker

The 45-year-old has been nominated for four Academy Awards throughout his career: one for each leading role in Joker, The Master and Walk the Line, and one for his supporting turn in Gladiator.


However, it’s his performance as the Clown Prince of Crime that earned him the big prize, making him the second actor to take home an Oscar for portraying the comicbook villain after Heath Ledger’s posthumous win for The Dark Knight.

Joker 2019 Joaquin PhoenixWarner Bros.

Todd Phillips’ grimy origin story has been a grand success: the first billion dollar R-rated movie, critically acclaimed, and multi-award-winning. Alongside Phoenix, Hildur Guðnadóttir also won an Oscar for Best Original Score.

The Oscar win follows a near-flawless awards season sweep, taking home the BAFTA, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award and SAG Award on top of tonight’s golden gong.


While he was the clear favourite to win, Phoenix’s biggest competitor was Adam Driver, who earned steady nominations for his breathtaking performance in Netflix’s Marriage Story.

Joker 2019 2Warner Bros.

During his SAG acceptance speech, Phoenix said to Driver: ‘I’ve been watching you the last few years and you’ve been turning in these beautiful, nuanced, incredible profound performances. I’m so moved by you and you were devastating in this film, you should be here.’

Also competing in the Best Actor category was Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory, Leonardo DiCaprio for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Jonathan Pryce for The Two Popes.


Throughout the numerous ceremonies, Phoenix has been using his wins to discuss pertinent issues, whether it be the environment or the need for diversity in the film industry.

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Calling out the BAFTAs for failing to recognise a single person of colour, Phoenix said during his acceptance speech: 

I think that we send a very clear message to people of colour that you’re not welcome here. I think that’s the message that we’re sending to people that have contributed so much to our medium and our industry and in ways that we benefit from.

I don’t think anybody wants a handout or preferential treatment, although that’s what we give ourselves every year. I think that people just want to be acknowledged, appreciated and respected for their work.

This is not a self-righteous condemnation because I’m ashamed to say that I’m part of the problem. I have not done everything in my power to ensure that the sets I work on are inclusive, but I think that it’s more than just having sets that are multicultural.


He went on to say it’s the ‘obligation of the people that have created and perpetuate and benefit from a system of oppression to be the ones that dismantle it. So that’s on us’.

UNILAD called Joker a ‘a shocking, provocative, utterly beautiful vision of a cruel world set alight’ and our film of 2019.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Academy Awards, Film, Joaquin Phoenix, Joker, Oscars