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Joaquin Phoenix Says Goodbye To Oscar Chances, Calls Awards "Total Utter Bullshit"

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 18, 2012 at 10:23AM

Nearly everyone who has seen Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" agrees that the performances by it's two leads, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, and co-star Amy Adams, are Oscar-caliber turns. Given rich, complex characters to dive into, in a world unlike anything we've really seen on the big screen, the trio really deliver some special moments in the film. But let's be frank, Oscars are as much of a political campaign as the race for the White House, and if you aren't willing to play ball, you won't be invited to the Dolby Theater. Yes, there are exceptions, but that's the basic rule of thumb. And one man who has already been absent for most of the press tour for "The Master," has essentially written himself out of the Oscar race as well.
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Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

Nearly everyone who has seen Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" agrees that the performances by its two leads, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix, and co-star Amy Adams, are Oscar-caliber turns. Given rich, complex characters to dive into, in a world unlike anything we've really seen on the big screen, the trio really deliver some special moments in the film. But let's be frank, Oscars are as much of a political campaign as the race for the White House, and if you aren't willing to play ball, you won't be invited to the Dolby Theater. Yes, there are exceptions, but that's the basic rule of thumb. And one man who has already been absent for most of the press tour for "The Master," has essentially written himself out of the Oscar race as well.

In a pretty fantastic conversation with Elvis Mitchell at Interview, Phoenix explains why he's not participating in the awards circuit gauntlet. "I'm just saying that 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," he says. "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" (See our related feature: 10 Other Actors Who Dissed The Oscars).

And while folks might say it's easy for Phoenix to take this position because he's been nominated twice already, he was also playing a bit more by the rules back then. But he's clearly marching to the beat of his own drummer now, and really, more power to him. And while his fellow acting colleagues may go up and nominate him anyway -- anything is possible -- the truth is that's it's fiercely competitive, and voters tend to favor those who at least give the illusion that they want to be there. 

Also, Anderson's film isn't doing the kind of business many thought it might. As Sharon Waxman notes in her otherwise stupendously moronic piece about how Megan Ellison is ruining indie movies (we shit you not), she notes that so far "The Master" has only banked $14 million at the box office -- a far cry from both its estimated $40 million budget and the $40 million domestic that "There Will Be Blood" earned. Essentially, it's going to take that much more gladhanding to keep the movie fresh in voters' minds.

So, in short, don't bet on Phoenix getting a nomination or a win. But do read the rest of the Interview chat because it's pretty amazing, and you can also find out why Phoenix thinks every white person needs to see "Jumping The Broom." Seriously. [via ScreenCrush]

This article is related to: The Master, Joaquin Phoenix, Oscars


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