For every year-end darling labeled by audiences and critics as an Oscar contender, there likewise exists an awards season campaign fully brought to its knees by an actor's derisive remarks. No matter the veracity of their statements, it's long been established that any unfavorable opinion not left until post-February remains a strike against everyone involved in their movie, and such is the case with “The Master” heavyweight Joaquin Phoenix's gradual backtrack from his damaging comments last month surrounding his potential nomination.
Ending his recent string of criticisms by calling the Oscars “a carrot, but the worst-tasting carrot I've ever tasted in my whole life,” Phoenix has rediscovered the type of intense scrutiny that likely prompted his “I'm Still Here” persona of “Joaquin Phoenix” -- that mumbling, puzzled ruffian that captured in one fell swoop the entertainment world's bemused sympathy -- to appear. That worry has quickly turned to criticism though, with the actor's latest comments sending his Oscar odds down from 14/5 to 4/1 among prognosticators, and now Phoenix has provided a timely response that states his regret. “I know that first of all, I wouldn't have the career that I have if it weren't for the Oscars,” Phoenix told the Sydney Morning Herald. “I haven't been in a lot of movies that have made a lot of money … And getting nominated for a movie has probably helped my career tremendously.”
The apparent damage from Phoenix's comments has proved so impactful that The Weinstein Company -- who put their confidence in Phoenix's “The Master” performance over Philip Seymour Hoffmann's, whom they bumped down to the Supporting category -- are rumored to have shifted their focus instead on Christoph Waltz's buzzed-about turn in “Django Unchained.” ''What I was reacting to was sometimes the reverence that we have about these things. I don't want to revere it,” Phoenix explained further. “I didn't even know that I was in a position to do something that would cost me something.”
While the actor also admitted the comment made him “sound like a dick,” it remains to be seen whether Phoenix's unnecessary apologies can put him back in the Academy's graces for his work in PTA's latest, and a performance that will last past any industry squabbles. In the meantime though, check out “The Master” again while it's still shown theatrically, and also our look at past Oscar hopefuls' damning remarks. [Gold Derby]