Never one to suffer fools gladly, Joaquim Phoenix has declared in an interview with Elvis Mitchell in “Interview” magazine that “The Oscars are bullshit….” He goes further declaring Oscar “It’s a carrot, but a dirty carrot and one that I don’t want to eat”!!! He cites his negative experience campaigning full-tilt for “Walk the Line” and watching the less-than-stellar Reese Witherspoon his co-star in the movie as Johnny Cash’s wife, June, waltz off with the Golden Guy.
He was stupendous in “Walk the Line” but that was a popular movie. He was playing a real person. “The Master” is not well-liked and not a box-office success, though I personally liked it. Audiences are staying away. I thought it was a marvelously told closeted gay love story set in the ’50s against the backdrop of Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s charismatic Lancaster Dodd’s founding of a quasi-religion The Cause.
Perhaps if the film itself “The Master” had come out of the closet and revealed itself for the epic closeted gay love story it is, it might have gained at least the LBGT support en masse. Which,as it is, it doesn’t have. This is the first case I can remember of “Don’t Tell. Don’t Win.”
As it is, I think Phoenix just eliminated himself from the race. O, a nomination, sure. But that’s probably it. When he’s up against such heavy weights as Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”, John Hawkes in”The Sessions”, Denzel Washington in “Flight” and Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables”(still yet to be seen).
There’s also Sir Anthony Hopkins’ Sir Alfred Hitchcock coming up fast, and Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook” which has the ever-effective Harvey Weinstein and co. behind it.
Of course, H. Weinstein has been known to drop one film on his slate in support of another, famously backing the flop-a-roonie “Nine,” instead the much more effective “Inglorious Basterds.”
“The Master”, also a Weinstein co. effort, is failing fast at the box-office and with audiences. So Bradley Cooper may have a better shot with “Silver Linings Playbook” and I can see a scenario where Cooper gets in J. Phoenix does not.
In the distant past, you could refuse an Oscar like Marlon Brando and George C. Scott did, but the past is the past. And as recently as two years ago, the prickly auteur David Fincher proclaimed over and over again, in multiple interviews, that he didn’t want nor/care about winning an Oscar for the then critics darling “A Social Network”. And guess what? The Academy took him at his word and the world saw Tom Hooper win Best Director not Fincher. Hooper, and last year, an unknown Frenchman Michel Hazanviscius won for Best Directer of “The Artist” and both were at every Hollywood event imaginable, charming every one.
That’s what counts these days. Although Mo’nique said “No” too. And won. But Supporting Actress is not as big a deal as Best Actor and “Precious” was a popular film, where “The Master” is divisive. So we shall see.
I don’t think you can be an Oscar cry-baby anymore. Not with a Best Actor race as crowded as this one!