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Joker’s Joaquin Phoenix laughs last with best actor Golden Globe

By Benjamin Bullard
Joker Joaquin Phoenix

Breaking what was otherwise shaping up to be a near-drought for genre nominees at this year’s Golden Globes, Joker star Joaquin Phoenix walked away Sunday evening with one of the night’s biggest honors: the Best Actor trophy for his film portrayal of the distressed Arthur Fleck in DC’s dramatic origin story.

Phoenix was emotional in his politically-tinged acceptance speech, touching on his passion for environmental awareness in between moments of sincere reverence for his fellow nominees — A-list actors including Christian Bale, Antonio Banderas, Adam Driver, and Jonathan Pryce."I can’t believe the beautiful, mezmerising, unique work that you’ve all done this year," he told his acting peers. "I really do feel honored to be mentioned with you."

In a somewhat lighter moment, Phoenix cast a funny gesture toward Joker director Todd Phillips, admitting from the awards stage that he wasn’t always the easiest actor to work with on set. “I’m such a pain in the ass,” he half-joked (pun intended). “I can’t believe you put up with me!”

Phoenix played a dark and jarring version of Fleck in Phillips’ film, which originally was conceived to stand apart from the canonical continuity of the larger DC Entertainment movie-verse. From its smaller-budget beginnings, Joker went on to garner four Golden Globe nominations in all, including best actor, best drama film, best director, and best score — the last of which also earned Hildur Guðnadóttir, the film’s composer, a trophy for best original score.

To date, Joker has suprpassed the threshold for joining the ranks of the $1 billion box office club, raking in more than $1.06 billion at theaters worldwide. It also now stands as the top-grossing R-rated movie in history, with its surprise success even spurring talks of a potential sequel.