Circuit Q&A: What is Your Favorite Joaquin Phoenix Performance?


Joaquin Phoenix is one of the most accomplished actors of his generation. With a career that spans three decades, Phoenix has given a slew of dynamic performances. His role in “Joker” is the latest to join his varied filmography. Not to mention, he’s garnering Oscar buzz for his portrait of the Clown Prince of Crime. To prepare for the film’s release, we’ll be celebrating Phoenix’s past work.

Phoenix’s career began when he was a child actor in the late 80’s. He acted under the stage name “Leaf Phoenix” and appeared in such films as “SpaceCamp” and “Parenthood.” After “Parenthood,” he took a six-year acting hiatus before coming back with a supporting role in the 1995 dark comedy, “To Die For.” Although lead actress Nicole Kidman heaped most of the acclaim, the movie acted as a beacon signaling his arrival.

When 2000 came along, it was the start of a new millennium and the year Phoenix had a big break. First came the historical epic, “Gladiator,” where he played the sinister emperor Commodus and earned his first Oscar nomination in Best Supporting Actor. Then came the crime drama “The Yards” from director James Gray and the Marquis de Sade biopic, “Quills.”

Joaquin Phoenix profile

Life After 2000:

Since his banner year, he has enjoyed slight mainstream success with “Signs” and “The Village,” his two collaborations with director M. Night Shyamalan. Then in 2005, he starred in “Walk the Line” as famed country singer Johnny Cash. For his portrayal, he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture-Musical/Comedy and received his second Academy Award nomination.

Afterward, he worked steadily in indie film territory before announcing his alleged retirement from acting to become a hip hop artist. His transition was the subject of the highly publicized mockumentary, “I’m Still Here,” which had a dismal reception. But Phoenix successfully bounced back with “The Master,Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2012 cult drama. In addition to winning Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival, Phoenix achieved his third Oscar nomination.

After losing himself to play a WWII veteran in “The Master,” he showed a more relaxed side in Spike Jonze’sHer.” As Theodore Twombly, a man who falls for his AI software, Phoenix is quietly melancholic. He pulls of what is a practical one man show since most of the picture involves him talking to his computer (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).

Phoenix’s other recent credits include the noir comedy “Inherent Vice,” his re-collaboration with Paul Thomas Anderson. He also garnered raves, including a Best Actor award at Cannes, for the Lynne Ramsay revenge drama “You Were Never Really Here.

What’s Next?

As previously mentioned, the upcoming “Joker” is poised to put him back in the Oscar hunt. On our current Best Actor predictions, Phoenix is ranked in sixth place. He’ll also star in Mike Mills’ upcoming project from A24 Films which is scheduled to begin shooting this fall.

Which Joaquin Phoenix performance is your favorite? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section!